I can’t believe it. The first week of my challenge is barely over and already I am in the frugal doghouse.
I was feeling chastened by some of the less complimentary comments to the first pension related blog last week. Well, I’m afraid some of these people are not going to be very impressed again as I’m already gone over budget and have no money until Wednesday.
So where did it go wrong? Well…along with socialising, which I’ve since been told that as a pensioner you can’t do, the weekly shop was the main culprit. On Saturday DJ & I went to Asda full of good intentions. Unfortunately we’d run out of so many staples and then had to buy a couple of bottles of wine to take to a friends’ for dinner – white was requested and we’d run out of cheap white courtesy of our mate who works for a wine company – that the shopping bill came to £65. Fortunately most of this stuff will last us for ages – well, frankly it will have to.
Then Sunday’s activities were another nail in the coffin. DJ insisted on taking me fly fishing, ostensibly so I could experience a typical pensioner pursuit, but mainly because he is totally obsessed with it at the moment. It was great fun but not disastrous for our pensioner’s pocket. We had to shell out £3 for a day’s rod licence for me – DJ already has a year’s licence – then £15 each to catch fish at the club. Plus we ended up eating lunch in the restaurant as I’d stupidly forgotten a packed lunch and by 2pm we were starving and miles from anywhere else, and that brought the running total to £108 – so over £4 over budget. At least DJ caught a lovely rainbow trout which stretched for two meals, with some left over for the cat, so that’s some consolation, but I feel pretty depressed to have put in such a poor showing. Next week’s activities are going to have to be a lot lower budget.
Never mind, I thought. I’ll just have to leave my wallet at home until Wednesday so I can’t spend any money. Or failing that, not actually leave the house at all. my heart sank when yesterday morning I spied the window cleaner approaching…I could have hid but unfortunately I was working in the living room and he’d already spotted me. Another £8 gone without stepping foot out of the house! Agghh! And taking the running total to £116 or £11.45 over budget.
Then our boat came in… a £17 cheque has turned up from TalkTalk, who have finally decided they OWE ME money and not the other way around. Hooray! So this means we are now back within budget – just.
But we won’t have surprise cheques every week, so socialising is out from now on, unless it’s free, as are frivolous activities as fishing unfortunately turned out to be. Meal planning (including some of your suggestions – lentil soup, Paxo falafel…) is very much in. I’m also hitting Uswitch right now to find a cheaper energy supplier, and will be canvassing some local pensioners for advice, which you’ll hear more about later this week.
In the meantime, perhaps it’s time to learn to live with dirty windows…