Making do, mending and not spending

Today was my last day at work.

To months ago I handed my notice in as Andrew found out that the computer game he made did really well. So well, in fact, that I can be a lady of leisure and not have a ‘proper job’.

All was going well, I was spending less (although I did buy a pair of eco friendly jeans, a brownie and some oat milk) and we were set to get the money at the end of January.

Then, disaster. Andrew found out that the money won’t be coming in until March. Worse, HMRC sent me my tax return to fill in for 2016-17. Inexplicably they forgot to send me this two years ago, when, y’know, I had some money and wasn’t about to leave my job.

My fear of going to jail meant I paid the £365.20 tax bill straightaway. My inability to do maths and admin meant that after two hours of trying to do it myself, I gave up and asked my account to do it, to the tune of £90.

I now have -£67 in my bank and HSBC text me every day with mildly threatening messages about interest charges.

So, what began at the start of the month as a fun experiment is now a necessity.

I have no money.

I can’t spend anything and yet I have so many things coming up that cost money. I wasn’t doing bad with the not buying ‘things’ challenge but wanting to see friends and having two kids who want to see their friends means spending money.

Friends, it seems, are an expense.

Andrew’s lending me some cash to get through the rest of the month. In return I’m going into 1940s housewife mode and mending his clothes.

My mum taught me to sew when I was little and although I only know the basics, this skill is invaluable.

This month I’ve mended a pair of Andrew’s jeans and three pairs of my pants. This has probably saved us about £25.

And as I sewed the last stitch to close the hole in my 10 year old pants, the light in our marriage finally went out…

I have a sewing machine but no idea how to use it so that might be my next challenge now I don’t have to work.

I have visions of making Joni and Evan clothes out of old duvets. Luckily for them, we get given most of their clothes from friends and family so they can avoid going out looking like they’re wearing togas.

So, what this month has taught me is that although I think I don’t spend a lot, I actually do. Even when I’m trying not to.

Just this weekend I’m getting my eyebrows waxed and my fringe trimmed which will cost over £30. Again, I’ll need to borrow this from Andrew. Oh, and we’re then going out for his friend’s birthday, which will involve food, drinks and money.

Spending less is definitely one way to be more eco friendly, especially when what I do spend is on experiences, rather than stuff. But how can I see friends and spend no money? I’m properly broke and have four events coming up that I can’t (and don’t want to) get out of.

The solution is probably to just have people round our house but that involves tidying up and saying silent prayers that they leave before 9pm so I can go to bed.

I’m going to see if I can go out and spend less, not drinking helps and I’ll eat before I go to save even more money.

I’m not going to starve, I’m lucky to have a house and a warm bed. I like to think I’m setting a good example for the kids that frugality is possible. They might not agree when they notice their treats disappearing, but it’s an important lesson.

It’s a frugal life, for us.

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