Day 53: Life just costs a lot

Back in my new baby days when Holly had just been born and we were going through a particularly un-managable time I bought a book called a girl and her money. It was a Christian book and it had a well designed cover so I took that as a pretty good sign… however a lot of what I read made me feel far more hopeless than ever before… one of the pieces of advice for example was to take a bus instead of a taxi to save $$ per year… not really the league of teaching I needed when we couldn’t afford a pint of milk and Joel had to cycle up the Sheffield hills to work on a borrowed broken bike… It struck me that in our western society you just aren’t allowed to be poor. Unless you are actually declared bankrupt and are homeless you just don’t get a chance for a time out. Fact is – you get a salary so you’re bound to your rent, council tax, electric and gas bills and aren’t even allowed to stop with any of that without being fined even more of what you can’t afford.
So my mind process at the moment.. while I’m weighing up whether I should take up the challenge of fasting my clothes buying for 6 months… is sorting through all the outgoing costs we have and working out if there are any areas having a big financial drain on us that we can do without. I don’t buy clothes that often… so I’m not sure it will have a huge financial impact… but I’m interested to know which things do drain us so much… So going through our budget:
– non-optional but we’re close to being able to remortgage to bring our monthly paments down a bit – even if it adds a charge onto the overall cost- in the longrun we’d be better off doing that.
Council tax, gas and electric, insurances are all necessary… and we are totally careful with all of that. If the heating goes on its only for 5 mins, everything must be turned off or unplugged, if anyone leaves a computer lead plugged in they’re in big trouble etc. And Joel does whatever Martin Lewis says about which companies to go with… If Martin Lewis turns out to be a big fraud and on commission from EDF I’ll be livid.
TV licence – we only pay the basic TV licence – no fancy sky packages- We could do without TV and have considered it before but that would be hard when you just need a bit of cbeebies for half an hours peace to cook the tea, and what would I do without x factor?- still its an option
Nursery – currently we have to contribute a pound per session to Elijah’s nursery place – it works out £23 a month and will stop when he starts school
Phones and internet – ok so there are a few charges here. £18 for broadband, £25 for my phone and I’ve only just started my contract having already battled against ‘the want’ of the I phone. Joel’s is more than mine but his could come down in a few months to the same… its about £30 now. Thats a lot of money though… just for communication… but life now without internet or phones?! tough. If my blog suddenly stops you’ll know what I’ve decided about that one!
Water – yep
Credit card repayments – yes I’d like to opt out but we’re already trying to pretend our student loans aren’t there. BUT credit cards are all on no interest, we’re paying minimum payments on all of them but they are all in queued up for the fight after I’ve beaten the overdraft – COME ON!
Gym – I have 2 months left and am going to (I don’t like to think of it as stopping going – that makes me feel sad… positive twist needed) … save £52.95 a month on me and Hollys membership!
Food – still trying to keep to £200 a month… I’m making everything I can from scratch, soup, bread, pie, sauces etc and its so much better anyway… I always have done- apart from lazy days where I’ve opted for sliced bread. And Holly is still the only one in her class who has sandwiches because we can’t afford school dinners – she has to sit amongst tomato ketchup and crisp sandwiches eating her peppers and houmous and homemade soup and breadrolls- I’m glad she’s a very confident child – a friend of ours is still traumatised by his hippy mother who gave him museli in a recycled sandwich bag when all is friends had their walkers french fries!
Petrol – we made it on just over £100 last month- but that included a couple of big journeys so hopefully that can come down.
The only other things we pay for are presents, clothes and coffees/ trips out occasionally … so yeah, I suppose there’s not much give… fasting buying presents is a bit mean… so its down to coffees, going out anywhere, clothes… hmmmm… thats a bit depressing… I was kind of hoping in doing that I’d maybe find out that we’d been paying £500 regularly to some subscription of uselessness that I could cancel and it would all be better… there is no subscription to any uselessness.


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