Thursday, 9 February 2012

On Finance and Other Associated Depressing Things

I have never been very good with money.  This hasn't proven too big a deal in the past.  Yes, it meant I couldn't afford to go on overseas holidays because my wardrobe was bulging at the seams and because my kitchen was overflowing with yummy expensive gourmet produce.  And yes, I have been paying credit card interest every month since the age of 19, bar the few months here and there where I swap credit cards to take advantage of the 6 month interest free deals in an attempt to pay off some debt. 

Slowly, over the last couple of years I have been getting better at managing my money, reducing my credit card debt from 11 grand to 6.  I paid off my car loan (only to get another small loan for buying new furniture for our new place) and I managed to save up a bit of money.  But then I got sick.  And now I am not working and not earning any money.  Thankfully and very luckily, my superannuation company provides income protection so I will be getting about $500 a week.  This is definitely not to be sniffed at however it is about half of what I made when I was working so there have been some Major Budget Adjustments. 

Every week or so I go into my budget and anxiously pour through it looking for ways I can cut out some spending and not get into any more debt.  I ponder on how I am going to pay certain upcoming large bills and when I am doing the food shopping I try not to buy cherries at $19.99/kg or strawberries for $4.99 a punnet.  Fruit is my downfall.  I am too much in love with it and willing to pay ridiculous amounts for it.  I try to menu plan a bit more than before so there isn't too much food wastage.  I consider giving up my cleaner but then scrap that as a bad idea because some days it is a struggle to make dinner, let alone wash the dishes afterwards so vacuuming and mopping a rather large house is definitely out of the question.

I look at vouchers and discounts you get as a member of places like RAC and the teacher's union.  I avoid shopping centres like the plague.  Even though I Really Want To Go Shopping.  I also try to avoid online shopping which is way harder to avoid when I am on my computer for at least a couple of hours each day.  Reading has become my friend (even more so) because it does not attempt to trick you into buying stuff.  Thank goodness I'm not a magazine reader!

I have never been in such a situation where I am needing to ask someone else to pay a bill for me.  It really is not fun and is quite demoralising.  I already feel burdensome in regards to 'doing stuff' because I don't have the energy.  Now I am burdensome financially as well.  Poor MR.  The other night I had to ask him if it might be okay for him to pay the next electricity bill in March.  (I like to give at least a bit of warning.)  Our deal is that I pay for most food and amenities and he pays the mortgage.  Of course, the wonderful man that he is, he was fine with it.  But I still hate asking.

I think about what I could do to make a bit of extra money.  Something that I can work around the limits of my lack of energy and numerous doctor appointments.  Perhaps I can take in ironing?  Or sign up for one of those Do Typing From Home and Make $4000 a Week ads you see in your sidebar on facebook or google.  Which I'm sure can only be a scam anyhow. 

So I'm putting it out to you now.  What are your cost cutting tips?  What do you do to make a bit of extra cash? How do you manage on a tight budget?  and How on earth am I going to cope when I have no money to go clothes shopping with???


2paw said...

It is very hard to live on a smaller amount of money that you used to earn, especially when you are chronically ill. It takes a lot of money to be ill. I am not sure about how you could earn some more, I am pretty sure those ads are scams of one sort or another.
The Library is good for books, and magazines too. I usually make most of the gifts for people and I try to cook things in season that are cheap. I don't skimp though. I won't buy generic brands made overseas and I try to buy locally. Still, it is a constant struggle. I am always living on the edge, perhaps I should sell The Labradors for Medical Experiments a a Monty Python's Meaning of Life!! ( No, I couldn't ever do that) I worry about money all the time and it is a pain.

Sally said...

1. You don't need new clothes - you're too tired to go out, there is no need to look fancy at doctors appointments, you don't need to impress you already have a wonderful guy. I'll help you take things in so that they fit.
2. No one will mind if you ask for help paying bills - everyone is just happy that you're alive. Suck it up. Everyone needs help in one way or another... This is just your way right now.
3. Spudshed @ wangara has very cheap fruit and veg - that's where my Mr. Cheap shops
4. Keep reading.
5. Being poor is good practice for when you have kids :)

Sally said...

Oops... Forgot 6.

6. Don't get a job or scheme for ways to make money. Just rest. Just heal. This is not forever.

CurlyPops said...

The lack of money thing completely sucks when you're so used to being independant.

My tips:
1. I never go to the shopping centre, only the oppies. The shopping centre is just full of germs and people having sick days off work anyway.
2. I buy the bulk of my groceries online and have them delivered (reduces temptation purchases).
3. I check my bank account every day. It seems to remind me of my forgotten eftpos purchases.

I wish there was a magic way to make money from home. I have my little crafty business and I write freelance articles for a disability website to earn extra income. It's certainly absolutely nothing compared to when I had a real job!

carolyn said...

Hi Megan,
I know the lack of money sucks, especially at your age when the contents of your wardrobe is more important than what you'll have for dinner. God, i remember having eggs on toast for a week so that i could buy a dress that i wanted. But Sally is right, your health is #1 right now and this is only a temporary situation. Keep your cleaner, ditch the shopping and put your feet up. I recall the culture shock when our household went from two incomes no kids, to the lesser of the two incomes and an extra mouth to feed. That was almost 4 years ago now and i really had to adapt fast and make heaps of changes. But i had a screaming baby to keep me busy and prevent my spending, whereas you have heaps of time and no income or energy to fill it. But you probably feel twice as good as you did a couple of months ago and in a couple of months you will feel twice as good as you do now. I have been in a somewhat similar situation having to deal with cancer and when you come out the other end you won't remember what you had to do without, you will only remember what you have got. A lovely family, friends and your health. Carolyn xxx