Sunday 20 May 2012

Week 37- posh sandwiches, Holby City and charity shop T-shirts

I think I need to learn how to budget. Maternity pay divided by lattes, organic vegetables and Boden baby clothes won on eBay, doesn't seem to be tallying up.

And there's only so long I can keep spending £6.95 on an open sandwich, which is realistically only half a sandwich so a bit of a rip off if you have to buy Monster Munches afterwards to fill up, on the justification that I'm saving money by not going to the pub.

My maternity pay comes to an end soon, and I'd decided to take another month before going back to work as I felt that at 8 months, I wouldn't be ready for Nancy to go to the childminders yet.

But financially, it's a mess.

And I don't understand why government contributions to childcare don't kick in until your child is 3. How do they expect working mothers to make anything for the two years previously?

We also received the letter this week from HM Revenue and Customs to say that we would now be receiving £0.00 child tax credit since the threshold has gone down.

They send the letter to both me and Ben separately.

Which was nice. Just to make absolutely sure there was no confusion that the figure was definitely £0.00!

So,Ulrika and I have been desperately trying to invent something.

You hear about these amazing mums who come up with a fool proof idea while looking after their children. Like a car seat that turns into a backpack. And before they know it, John Lewis has ordered two thousand, and they never need worry about money or going back to work again.

So far we've come up with a cardigan that gets thicker when the weather gets colder. Like when you step outside on a sunny day, get to the bottom of the road and wish you'd put another layer on as it's bright but chilly.

A bit like reactor lens glasses. But with material that hasn't been invented yet.

So, as that's not going to instantly earn us millions, I've started hanging around in the big charity shop at the bottom of our road when taking Nancy out for a walk to get her to sleep, as there's less chance of spending a fortune if I avoid unnecessary trips into town.

I don't know what I've been doing wasting my time lurking in Boots or Card Factory, because this place is brilliant.

Everyone is either ill, been ill, about to get ill, or knows someone whose just died.

And that's mainly what they talk about really loudly.

That, and how, by law, they can't sell electrical goods, so could people please stop donating them.

This was my first induction into the code of ethics there. As I handed over a bag of stuff which included some curling tongs I'd won on eBay, but obviously don't need as my hairs already curly, the woman tutted loudly at me, 'the sign says no electrical goods.'

It's a hand written post it stuck under the glass counter.

'Sorry, I'll take it out.'

'It's not your fault love. I said we should have a bigger sign, but the boss put it up and now she's on long term sick.'

And then the other shop assistant told me about how she's had a cough and a cold, which she's having troble shifting. And as if to prove her point, started wheezing into a hanky.

The woman behind me said about how I should be careful with Nancy, as her granddaughter was sent home from nursery with diarrhea.

I overheard an older man in the changing room talking on his mobile, asking someone to pick up another prescription for him.

It's like a tame episode of Holby City.

And on top of that, there's some real gems if you have the time to rummage through all the stuff that smells of Brut and fags.

I bought Nancy a sun hat for 50p, which I was going to go into town to buy for her anyway, and would have cost a fiver, and four quid for the bus.

A T-shirt for Ben, that was 3 pounds, a Topman one that must have cost at least a tenner new.

And, a Reiss dress for me, which was the ultimate bargain. I couldn't afford not to buy it at £9.99. It must have been ninety pounds plus in the shop, and it looks virtually new.

So, by my reckoning, I've actually saved about £95.50.

Which is quite a few lattes and lunches out.

Actually I'm pretty good at budgeting now I come to think about it...

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