Have you ever had an unexpected bill? I had one this week! The car had to go in for it’s MOT and service. I had in my head that there would be a little bit of work…I knew that it would fail on the windscreen wipers! So I had in my head that it would cost a couple of hundred pounds. Hah! It failed on so much more than that and in order to make the car roadworthy again, I had to pay the people at the garage £1,116!!!! What!!!! I don’t have that kind of money! Where on earth was I going to find that kind of money by the end of the day? Maybe I would stumble across a grand down the back of the sofa or get an unexpected phone call from a distant relative that had just won the lottery or something. I didn’t hold out much hope for them. Handily I have a really nice bank who sorted me out with a loan and a temporary overdraft until the loan money goes into my account.
What this experience did, was make Rob and I reflect on our finances, what can we change and what can we cut back on. We have decided that the best thing for us to do is to set up a new bank account in which we transfer our spending money for the month, this way we can keep track of what we are spending and how much money we have left over. Shopping money, petrol money and anything else has to come from this small amount that we are transferring. The biggest change for me, will be stopping all the little spends like nipping to the shop to buy a sandwich or to Costas for a coffee, because they all cost too much money now – it’s all home-made for me now. But just because it’s home-made doesn’t mean that it has to be rubbish and just because we are sticking to a tight budget doesn’t mean that I have to skimp on the luxuries…well I can’t live without coffee! But it does mean a lot more preparation, a lot more thought, some creative thinking and a lot of bargain hunting. Check out the recipes section for some frugal recipes.
Even though I know that I am having to be very careful with spending at the moment, I know that I am not by any means on the poverty line. Even my budget of £25 per week for food, is nowhere near what some people have to survive on. People all over the world, in different countries, from different social classes are struggling to make ends meet at the moment. Today 25,000 people will die because they are hungry. Because they are trapped in extreme poverty, because they can’t make enough money to buy enough food to feed themselves and their families. I may be very tight in my budgeting at the moment, but I am not going to die of hunger. And I thank God for the food I do have. And I pray for those who don’t have. And even if it means I go without something I am still going to give to those who don’t have enough to eat, because they have as much of a right as I do to eat nourishing food. And I encourage you do do the same. This week go without your coffee or your shop brought sandwich or a drink down the pub and give the money to someone who doesn’t have enough food to survive.