“Who, being loved, is poor?” Oscar Wilde
Wake up with: £80
Go to bed with: £80
The week kicks off on a high; I’m in Monaco for work, and rest assured it’s very hard work. I mean, I had to get up at eight to take full advantage of the breakfast buffet, it took me ages to decide what to eat for lunch and there was an awful lot of champagne to get through in the evening!
All in all, I feel thoroughly spoilt and extremely grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I don’t feel envious of the wealthy ‘residents’ of this principality; I enjoyed the sunshine more than anything—and that was free. Oh okay, I admit it, I enjoyed the helicopter the most – but you get the idea!
Wake up with: £80
Go to bed with: £22
It’s time to wave goodbye to the lap of luxury. The minute I walk through my front door, it’s time to turn around and go back out again as we’re due at the Doc’s birthday party at 8pm and it’s in Marlow. We hop in the car with Curls and check in to our über good value rooms (£30 a night per person) at The Holiday Inn High Wycombe. You’d think the contrast between the 1,000-euro-a-night Hotel Hermitage in Monaco and a budget hotel on the M40 would be too much to bear but all I need for a good night’s sleep is a clean sheet and a cuddly husband. Bliss.
The gang is all assembled so we head into town for a quick bite before the party: my share of the equally split bill comes to £28.00. Worth every penny to be surrounded by wonderful friends; I love you guys!
Wake up with: £22
Go to bed with: £9.50
Sunday dawns and the husband and I are fast asleep, tucked up in our very comfortable bed. We eventually stir in time for brunch in Marlow, followed by a bracing walk along the river and a quick browse around the shops before it’s time to drive back to London and face the laundry mountain that’s been building up all week. Unfortunately we have run out of detergent and after paying my share of brunch, I have just £9.50 left. Ah.
The solution comes when we drop Curls off; she lives next door to Waitrose and I have John Lewis vouchers in my wallet. We buy two packs of reduced mince and some washing powder, which is half price to boot. Crisis averted.
I cook the husband and I spaghetti bolognese and we watch the Champions League/ Euro/ Premiership/ Who-knows-or-cares-what-it’s-called-final before bed.
Wake up with: £9.50
Go to bed with: £5.32
Supper club tonight is lasagna (made with the leftover bolognese) and, while digging for treasure at the grocers, I pick up some globe artichokes in their prime for a pound a piece. Who says you can’t dine like a king on a pauper’s budget?
Wake up with: £5.32
Go to bed with: £0.32
The daily fridge audit reveals we have eight eggs and little else: omelette for tea it is. My running buddy and chief motivator is running a 10K on Sunday so we have a date for a training run—I complete two circuits with my precious fiver tucked in my bra and pick up some veg to pep up our frugal supper on the way home.
Wake up with: £0.32
Go to bed with: £0.68
Its the deadline for the office syndicate once more but, with just 32p in my wallet, I don’t have enough to cover my stake. On the plus side, I can collect my share of last month’s Euromillions winnings: the princely sum of 36p is mine, all mine. I will try not to spend it all at once.
This unexpected windfall doesn’t exactly solve the eternal dilemma: what an earth are we going to eat tonight? Then I remember the remaining pack of mince and by happy coincidence it is July 4. Burgers it is. The husband thinks all his Christmases have come at once and skips off to the shop to pick up an onion and some salad leaves. Crisis once more averted.
Wake up with: £0.68
Go to bed with: £0.23
Perhaps it’s two days of being surrounded by people who spend money like water but seem no happier for it; or maybe it’s a greater awareness in general of the struggle to survive and just how lucky we are, but I’m feeling incredibly privileged and, at the same time, almost ashamed of how much time and effort the husband and I have devoted to striving for more this year, when we already have so much.
I realise there is nothing I want more than my marriage to stand the test of time and our bond to be just as strong in 20, 30 or 40 years time as it is now, after almost 10. I know all too well the damage that money worries can wreack on a marriage and I want to avoid that at all costs. I want us to make decisions that protect and nurture what we have now.
The husband and I sit down after work and we talk through all the 4,623 options that have been on the table since we started this house-hunting journey a year ago. We agree that it’s important to recognise just how lucky we are, and how we don’t know what the future holds. How the prospect of an interest-rate rise or a property price cash is becoming more and more likely. We decide that it would be foolish to gamble with the one asset we do have, and worked very hard to acquire: our flat. We realise that we don’t have to rush into the next house purchase; instead, we’ll go on a magical, marvellous adventure and hope to discover the answer along the way, or simply that time does it’s thing and presents a neatly packaged solution to us. We’ll need to save harder than ever for our new plan, hereby to be referred to as ‘the plan’ so number 53 is officially on lockdown. Apologies if I’m being vague about what exactly this adventure entails, all will be revealed in time…
Thank you for reading. X