Paula our Director of Client Advice has also taken on the SSP challenge.
This is her story;
Sunday 22nd Jan
Check me out food prepping on a Sunday for the week ahead. I am no domestic goddess and the M&S on Woodall services has many a time bailed me out of a "what's for dinner" chat, but with a £46 budget I had to get organised. I was quite impressed with my little self even though it took forever. I found the joys of the 'whoops' aisle and frozen vegetables meant I had 7 meals planned ahead for the week for £42. Brilliant for full tummies, not so brilliant for anything that is going to crop up over the next 7 days when I've only got £4 spendos. And be aware people; I have a hubby, a teenager and a dog* to look after!
We officially start Sunday, so Denny nipped to the shop for 'nibbles' - £25 for a bag of my favourite 'House of Cards' marathon watching food! It was lovely but how wasteful - Netflix and Sky definitely would have to go in reality.
Monday 23rd Jan
Breakfast for all - tick, lunch for all - tick, dinner for all - tick and leftovers for tomorrow - tick tick! (A smug Paula)
Denny calls to see if I want a bottle of wine picking up on the way home, (something tells me he isn't bought in this experiment) I say no and a dry evening starts. (A sulking Paula!)
Tuesday 24th Jan
My mascara is drying up fast and I'm cursing myself that I didn't buy one at the weekend, but at £26 there's no chance now, so let the comments about looking tired commence. A 4.5 hour drive to Milton Keynes with toilet stops that couldn't include my usual M1 sustenance of a sugar free Monster, Haribos and Starbucks makes me very grumpy. Luckily Emily Kate (one of our Tele-Interviewers) had a secret stash and treated me to some freebies for my way home. It's only day 2 and I am already accepting charity!!!
Wednesday 25th Jan
Isabelle "Can I have money for my driving lesson", Me "No, you'll have to pay for it yourself or cancel" She cancels!. £25 gets you a lot on boohoo.com apparently... #priorities.
Denny leaves for Germany without his usual bag of goodies for the journey but has got some of my special homemade veg soup in a flask. I made at least 20 servings of the stuff for less than £2, who knew?!
Thursday 26th Jan
This is when the wheels start to come off! I had a banging headache so bought some Anadins without thinking and wasted £2.60. Not sure if the headache was the stress of budgeting or my body in shock from 4 days of sobriety.
Tom (one of our Leeds Advisers) offered to buy them off me to get me back up to £4, but I figured the headache may well continue in to the weekend, so keep the precious yellow and red box!
It's party night in the Leeds office as the guys head out for a 30th. I had a hotel booked and was looking forward to the night. All cancelled. I took advantage of the generosity of a free drink from a colleague and then tottered off home leaving the fun people to party (sulking is a theme for my mood this week)
Friday 27th Jan
No hangover so that is definitely a perk but the pending weekend of boredom puts me in a right strop and I start trying to build my excitement about doing the hand washing and cleaning the kitchen cupboards. I had my hair booked, a night out with my sister planned, drinks when Denny gets back. All cancelled!
You don't need to hear about my weekend because there is nothing to say. I figure if I had done everything I wanted to that I would usually consider 'normal' spending I would be over budget by at least £200. But I survived the week and it has made me acutely aware of how wasteful I am without thinking.
No problem when you have the benefit of 2 incomes but impossible when you are down to 1.
Rewind 15 years and this was my reality.
Denny had just moved from a employed job to self-employed when I got the call one October Sunday morning to say he was on the way to the hospital with a broken leg from playing football (he now plays golf!). Promises followed of offers to help us out, at that time Isabelle was in private nursery so I could work and was probably on about 12K a year.
His mum reassured me of the time his dad was in the miners strike and lived on a tin of spam for a week!! The support couldn't last forever and in the end Denny couldn't work for almost 2 years because of the nature of his job and the numerous operations he had to have.
Isabelle had to come out of nursery, we sold a car and the pressure got to us, we split up for over a year. I took him back when he was working again (joke!!!) and we had our happy ending, but the point is our lives were literally torn apart because of a split second incident that took away our security.
So what have I learned? I can budget, I can cook, I can plan and I can live without a glass of wine a night but I don't have to, not today anyway……..
*No shih tzus were harmed during this experiment!