We hadn’t really been too touched by ‘moneygeddon’ until last year – I mentioned that Jack had an exciting new job opportunity, which unfortunately didn’t work out. After two weeks in a job that he loved he was essentially made redundant, and the panic set in somewhat! He’d worked at his last place for around seven years, and had been working in catering since he was sixteen, so joblessness was a completely new experience for him. Luckily within another two weeks he found a temporary job, and through contacts from his old job found work with the same company, different brand, and now he’s working at head office! Despite the fact that we struggled for a few months, he’s probably better off now than had he stayed at his old place, so that cloud had an amazing silver lining in the end.
Together, we were comfortably off financially – I don’t earn a huge amount personally so there was a lot of head-scratching to be done as to how we were going to cope if this short term problem turned into a long term one. Here’s what we came up with – hopefully this will be helpful!
- Stop spending money! – I know this sounds ridiculous, but we cut down on anything non-essential, even silly things like spending 70p on a chocolate bar, or the odd after-work drink
- Get a job – any job – Jack was a complete hero in this respect – he applied for anything and everything, be it permanent, temporary – working outside or in and office. Any income is better than no income, and it’s a lot easier to find employment at the job you want, if you’re already employed elsewhere
- Be frugal with food – We all have those items in our kitchen that we have for ‘just in case’ meals, or things in our freezer that we never quite get around to eating – take advantage of them! We also did a lot of making up big meals, and freezing or utilising the leftovers in another form
- Be frugal with your utilities - You’re never sure about how long money is going to be an issue for, start cutting back now, be careful – you don’t want to be hit with a huge bill that you’re going to struggle to pay a few months down the line
The other thing that we almost did was get a lodger – under the government’s Rent a Room Scheme you can earn up to £4,250 per year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home. We were all set for having our good friend Sam move in with us, but by the time it was all arranged, the financial storm had passed and he found a room closer to home, with our friend Dan who as it turns out was in greater need of the rent money!
My only other advice really is to save, save, save – whether you have something to save for or not – if push had come to shove we could have lasted quite a while on the bits that we’d got stashed away in savings, although luckily it didn’t come to that! It’s certainly a comfort to know that should something break down or need replacing (touch wood!) that we could afford to do it without it being too much of a burden on our monthly income.
Have any of you faced any problems like ours? Got any tips on how to be thrifty in times of financial gloom and doom?
Lots of Love from Jack and Betty (mostly Betty today) xx