Cakes and “Awesomestow”

This weekend Money Saving Movement (MSM) placed itself back on the streets (well actually on a lovely piece of grass) in Walthamstow (Or “Awesomestow” as they like to call it). We have been itching to get back there and talk to the lovely people of this diverse area for a while as Walthamstow really interests us.

Walthamstow has been home to a number of research visits for MSM. It sits within the Borough of Waltham Forest which has some of the highest concentrations of deprivation within the U.K. Its High Street is notable for its long market (apparently the longest in Europe). The high street is busy with high cost lenders and high cost retailers, unfortunately. Both of which MSM are not fond of. However the people of”Awesomestow” are brilliant and we found them great fun to talk to. This might have been helped by the Free Cake, more about that in a bit.

The objective of this trip was to spend some more time talking to ordinary people about how we might design an alternative social enterprise service to high cost rent to buy retailers. So when we arrived we were all prepared with a pre-planned discussion structure, gazebo and the all important MSM banner. Most importantly of all (well maybe) we were also offering Free Cake supplied by the lovely Dee.

I’m pleased to say that we found out A LOT. Here is a quick snapshot –

  • People continue to use rent to buy retailers.
  • People are also paying for warranties to cover themselves in the eventuality that something goes wrong with an appliance.
  • People like brands that have a solid reputation.
  • People would purchase from a social enterprise.

It was great to hear people’s opinions and the data provided us with plenty to think about. For me it underlined the importance of “getting out of the office”. I wonder how much emphasis is put on this within business. I hear plenty of people talk about it but I struggle to find actual examples. It is core to our approach at MSM and we are looking forward to doing lots more of it.

Have a great week everyone.


James Perkins


Money Saving Movement  MSM in Awesomestow 1MSM in Awesomestow 2


Meet the Team – James

James Perkins

Money Saving Movement started with the idea that more could be done to help people with the cost of living. I worked in a Housing Association at the time, which strangely was the same one who managed my parents’ house – the same one that I grew up in. I guess because we didn’t have a lot of money when we grew up I was always interested in getting more for less. This after a career working with big retailers in product marketing and buying gave me more than a bit of a healthy interest in buying at the right price.

Like many, my parents kind of struggled by. They weren’t in any way on the “bread line” but certainly life was always a bit hard when it came to the cost of living. I would always try to advise my parents about ways to save money, and often thought that many people would benefit from information that would guide them to find ways to make life a little easier.

I knew that more and more people were struggling financially. I mean you really couldn’t escape from the stories that were repeated day after day about the financial crises and the credit crunch. There had to be a way of getting more money saving information to people. So I was really pleased when I saw an advert asking for people who had ideas about way public services could be improved. At the time I thought my Housing Association could do more, and wanted to talk to people about how that idea could be developed.

That is where we started this little adventure. My ambition is to develop a social enterprise that helps people with the cost of living and more importantly helps them to live more enjoyable lives. After all, money worries are something that none of us need – so let’s create something to get rid of them.

Outsourcing the movement

There is certainly no shortage of organizations or services that try and help people save money or spend more wisely. However, there is a shortage of services that have been designed by the people in need of this kind of support.

We want you to tell us what you need in order to become a more intelligent consumer.

Over the next few months we’ll be posting some of our findings and we want you to tell us if this works for you? Would you use it? Does it make sense? How can we improve it?

Don’t be shy now!

The idea!

The creation of a money saving movement (social enterprise) is an idea around providing social landlords with effective up to date money saving content, practitioner support and training. This can then be used by them to engage with their residents more effectively and ultimately help them to save money. The social enterprise would work by having social landlords subscribe to services. Services would include access to downloadable content for use in their communication channels (website, newsletter etc). Additionally there would also be access to a practitioners area where best practice could be shared through forums. A training arm could also be developed around training practitioners on commercial saving techniques. This could be extended to provide further public training workshops. In summary we work to get money saving information to the people that need it the most. Collaborating with social landlords to target low income families with helpful money saving information.