At the start of every month, I set up lists of everything that needs to be paid out, in order of importance, rent, bills, food, toiletries etc. I have followed this simple little habit for years, and also keep all receipts for reference. As a boring creature of habit, my basic shopping list rarely deviates, we eat pretty much the same boring cheap food, beans on toast, slices of cheese with slices of apple and brown sauce, sons favourite, a plateful of whatever veg is on offer, etc etc, week in week out, the only highlights coming along in the form of any special offers, mark-down deals etc that I may be lucky enough to spot whilst out!
The past two years have been bad enough, this recession hasn’t just arrived on our doorsteps, it has been creeping up to bite us for quite some time believe me, I have the proof!
Two years ago, I had the princely sum of £31.73 per week left after rent and bills with which to buy EVERYTHING ELSE, just before Christmas 2010 that amount left had dropped to around £21-24 per week depending on the time of the month. Imagine my despair this week when I discovered that I now only have £14.20 something odd left to BUY EVERYTHING ELSE, clothes food, toiletries etc etc!
Now don’t get me wrong here, I know some of you feel you are very well able to manage money, so I do feel the need to point out a few things…
- my rent is mid to cheap range for the area, (although given the amount of destruction to our property and health from the fast growing black mould that is debatable) and no,I cannot leave, wish I could afford to but I can’t ( watch me run at the first sign of a cash injection tho!)
- My son and I do NOT have Sky installed, nor do we enjoy Plasma TV’s game consoles, fancy gadgets, new clothes, any paid for leisure activities at all, we don’t have loans or credit cards etc.
- Although we do eat fairly healthily, I can see that changing sooner rather than later as I really do need more than 3 meals per week, which together with 4 sandwiches, is pretty much all I have been eating for two years now, yet if I am to ensure my son gets all he needs, as the post title says, I can no longer afford to eat!
- Despite using almost half the utilities that I was two years ago, my bill costs have DOUBLED, I suspect I am going to be dubbed as Hitler Mom when my son starts school, and realises that others live a much freer and warmer life than we do! He will hate me during his formative years, through no fault of my own, hopefully he will understand when he becomes an adult, although I rather suspect the guilt will have gotten to me by then!
- Can I add that two years ago I WAS WORKING, until my boss decided to booger off and not pay us staff the by then six week wages he owed us, and no, please don’t barrage me with “you are entitled to etc” notes, I have taken advice, have made almost a hundred expensive call-box phone calls etc, to no avail, I am STILL recovering from a two month period of NO INCOME WHATSOEVER, whereby I accrued rent arrears etc, and gained a nice friendly tax debt as an income was assumed even though I had never received it ( don’t ask!) Apparently it is MY responsibility to prove this guy was a crook, yeah like I have an Interpol like service at my fingertips NOT
- The longer we live here, the more in debt/starved I am going to become, I don’t even have a real garden I am allowed to use solely for me, so I cannot even try to grow my own anytime soon!
- Oh, we don’t wear designer clothes, no item of clothing that survived the mould takeover ( and believe me it is rapid and totally destructive, washing just made items fall apart!) in fact all we have left is full of holes, to the point I am ALWAYS being followed around by store detectives! ( I look broke not thief-like!)
- I HATE the way people make judgements……..I would LOVE to be able to afford to “dress nice” and for my son not to be pitied by others, instead, I often get treated as though I am some drugged-up halfwit goodfornothing!
Now, I wouldn’t mind quite so much about this, I know I am not the only one in the same situation, and hell, some folks in foreign climes don’t even have a roof over their heads, but surely one’s weekly water bill, even though we barely use any at all, shouldn’t in the Western world be costing more than one’s food shop?
Somehow something seems to be really broken in our society, quite apart from the lack of manners and respect etc, and what really incenses me is the “POWERS THAT BE” telling us we all have to do our bit to get through the bad times, yet then the news reports tell us that so & so utility company/banks etc made record profits ( off our backs) , some politician got jailed for illegal expenses theft, ( how many more got off scott free?)
And don’t get me started on Carbon Taxes!
The day I win/get given (hint to all billionaires out there) enough money to start my dream smallholding, watch me get as self sufficient as possible, and have a comfortable life and upbringing for my son, , offer a nice relaxed AFFORDABLE holiday space for other families, in a real relaxed atmosphere, and NOT line the pockets of those greedy hyenas who SOMEHOW bleated their way to the top of the food chain!