Week nine: atonement

Helicopter to Monaco

All in the name of research: LoveRichCashPoor jets off to Monaco

Friday

Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £32.04

Our back door has decided that it will no longer lock. Cue much heaving and exclamations of disbelief until it’s threatening to make me late for work. I rush off, leaving the husband to deal with it, then feel guilty. Luckily, the boss says I can work from home for the afternoon, so I cycle back at lunchtime to wait for the repair man (no charge, thank god). When I get home, the internet and cable won’t work. When will it stop? I phone our provider to discover it’s a network-wide fault and they are ‘working on it’.

Despite last week’s epic fail on the budget front, we still have no food in the house — even the store cupboard is bare; we’ve run out of pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes and tea bags and we’re dangerously low on washing powder. I do a grand tour of the shops to replenish stocks. I’m delighted to find a leg of lamb for just four pounds (half price), but not so thrilled to see that my preferred brand of washing powder is £12. Good grief – I’m going to have to make the last half an inch left in the cupboard last until the next deal.

Saturday

Wake up with: £32.04

Go to bed with: £25.27

The husband and I have been on Rightmove again as part of Plan 4623 Part C. We have an appointment to see three houses today, so it’s up at the crack of dawn to drive to Sussex. The good news is we find our dream house. The bad news is that the agent tells us it will go to sealed bids, and sell for at least 100k over the asking price. A little piece of my heart dies when she says this. I. Want. That. House.

The next two properties do not cheer me up. Luckily, the lunch does; we retreat to the magnificent King’s Arms in Rotherfield to lick our wounds (and our plates). This pub is one of the reasons we want to move to Sussex, and over lunch, we decide that as we clearly can’t afford our dream house, a compromise is in order. We’re just not sure what that compromise is right now. The husband and I choose our lunch to correlate with the £20 note he has in his pocket, and I pay for the drinks.

On the way home (well, not at all on the way but it sounded logical at the time), we stop by the Browns’ residence for tea, cake, gossip and a gasp at the new bump. The husband kindly stops at one of the many roadside cherry stalls en route so I can stock up on my very favourite snack. Bliss. We get back late, bellies full of chocolate cake – so no tea necessary.

Sunday

Wake up with: £25.27

Go to bed with: £25.27

Today it’s back in the car for a belated father’s day celebration with the in-laws. After a superb lunch of lemon chicken wrapped in parma ham and home-grown new potatoes, we pop by to chill with our god-daughter Pickle, her parents and bump no 2 for an hour. Pickle gets very excited when I lift the lid off a pot of curry that’s simmering on the stove and shout ‘ta da’. Hours of amusement ensue: Pickle can now communicate her wishes by way of pointing and she thinks it is a jolly good game! It’s such a joy to see her growing and learning new tricks. I smile all the way home.

The football is on again this evening, and the cable company must still be ‘working on it’ as we have no signal, so the husband moves the television into my kitchen, severely restricting my worktop space. Sacre bleu! I improvise a lahmacun out of the raw ingredients in the fridge for the boys.

Monday

Wake up with: £25.27

Go to bed with: £16.60

Supper club provides the perfect opportunity to cook my bargain leg of lamb. We’re toasting the arrival of the first supper club baby tonight. Welcome to the world little one!

Tuesday

Wake up with: £16.60

Go to bed with: £16.60

Now I am not a lover of exercise, but I’m developing a paunch and the budget prevents me from joining a gym; so it’s off to the park to puff my way around the perimeter a couple of times.

Although, to be frank, you’d have to pay me to join a gym, rather than the other way around; this whole fitness lark is a total mystery to me. I mean, does anyone actually ever enjoy exercising? Really? Be honest.

Personally, I just don’t get it. My average run goes as follows:

[first two or three steps] Okay, I can do this.

[five steps later] God, I’m exhausted

[first corner of circuit] You’re actually kidding me, I’m going to die

[second corner of circuit] I wonder if I could fake a sprained ankle to get out of this?

[second corner-third corner of circuit] Oh, okay, I’m actually not going to die. But by god I’m bored, I’m so BORED. How is this not over yet?

[third corner-fourth corner of circuit] No wait, I am going to die. I’m going to die people!

[end of circuit] Collapse on ground, red-faced, dripping in sweat. Vow never to do this again.

Wednesday

Wake up with: £16.60

Go to bed with: £16.60

I jump on the bike straight after work and cycle to Chalk Farm to tuck in my younger god-daughter Tiz. As I hold her on my lap, breathing in her delicious baby scent and read her a bedtime story, a wave of broodiness sweeps over me. In my defence, it’s been slowly building throughout this most babytastic of weeks, with the birth of the supper club baby, a visit to each of my gorgeous god-daughters and a couple of bumps thrown in for good measure. It’s quite a shock as, although I love a baby, I’m a late bloomer where broodiness is concerned but it’s a reminder that we need to find that compromise, and soon.

Coincidentally, when I get home, the husband says he may have the answer. Readers, we may be back to plan 4623 Part A… I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday

Wake up with: £16.60

Go to bed with: £16.60

Total savings so far: £752.78

Hip hip hooray for payday! Thankfully, the computer meltdown over at RBS has not affected LoveRichCashPoor. Still, when I look at my bank balance, I do wonder whether a bank error has been made in my favour. Thanks to the fact that I have paid off my credit card and my student loan and thus the repayments are no longer being deducted from my bank balance, I finish the month £792.78 in credit. This is a small miracle. If I save £750 a month, I could shave five whole months off my saving mission. I say ‘if’ because some months, I am going to spend that extra bonus money on something very special – but rest assured, I will not be spending it on me…. This month, I shall save £750 and use the extra £40 to buy a present for the husband. Here’s hoping you can all keep a secret.

Today, I’m off on an all-expenses paid trip to Monaco (not really in the spirit of budgeting, but hey, I’m not complaining!). It’s for my day job, but I’m keen to investigate the most famous tax haven and playground of the rich and famous with my blogger hat on too. Even the itinerary reads like an out-of-body experience for someone who has never banked more than the average wage; apparently, I’ll be travelling from the airport to the hotel in a helicopter. And to think I get excited by the prospect of splashing out on the Heathrow Express!

I’m looking forward to seeing just how addictive this lifestyle is. I want to know what can seduce a person into thinking that it’s okay to dodge their taxes or to fix interest rates. I want to know why money seems to corrupt and how people who I consider to be very rich, always seem to want more.

See you on the other side…

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