Tighten your belt, aus­ter­ity rules

Rosie Green takes a long, hard look at her fam­ily fi­nances and gets ready for the post-Christ­mas fis­cal claw­back... in her very own way

Woman & Home - - Editor’s Letter - Fol­low Rosie on In­sta­gram @lifes­rosie

rosie green on the post-Christ­mas fis­cal claw­back

We’ve feasted on Waitrose’s Dark Choco­late & Or­ange Stollen Wreath, we’ve pulled the “pre­mium” crack­ers and we’ve hes­i­tated in front of the Pros­ecco… and then bought the Cham­pagne. We’ve in­dulged.

I stopped press­ing “view bal­ance” when get­ting cash out circa mid-Novem­ber.

Just like when driv­ing my car through a nar­row gap, when it comes to my fis­cal sit­u­a­tion, I’ve been clos­ing my eyes, hold­ing my breath and hop­ing for the best.

And now it’s the month of reck­on­ing. The pine nee­dles have dropped, we’re in pos­ses­sion of a lot of rel­ish (rel­ish ap­pears to have re­placed can­dles as the gift du jour), and our fi­nan­cial re­serves are more de­pleted than Gove’s friend­ship cir­cle.

So it’s op­er­a­tion claw­back. Here’s how I’m do­ing it…

Send­ing those free Red Cross note­cards as thank-you cards. OK, so they are thin­ner than a su­per­model turned side­ways, but now is not the time to be spend­ing on those Smyth­son bum­ble­bees. And if there’s a free pen to write with, so much the bet­ter.

Sus­pend­ing your ethics. I mean not to­tally, but eco kitchen rolls, chick­ens that have been tucked up un­der du­vets at night, fish that have been caught us­ing the tick­ling method – these are things that are all for the good times.

Eat­ing the freezer. Af­ter months of deca­dent pur­chases, it’s time to tackle all the Tup­per­ware filled with uniden­ti­fi­able brown meals that pre-date Harry and Meghan’s wed­ding. And the pel­lety peas. And the half bag of frozen prawns.

Go­ing own-brand. You know, like that TV show Eat Well For Less? is al­ways sug­gest­ing. But they’ve never seen the nu­clear fall­out that oc­curs in our house when own-brand tomato ketchup is pro­duced.

Ditto the er­satz Shred­dies. The only good thing is, my daugh­ter is pre­vented from voic­ing her ob­jec­tion too vo­cif­er­ously be­cause of the dry mass of card­boardy-ness welded her mouth to­gether.

Shriek­ing at the kids if they try and print any­thing (when did printer ink be­come more ex­pen­sive than gold?).

Putting an­other jumper on and turn­ing down the heat­ing. Which is re­ally de­press­ing, right? Now we’re all walk­ing around look­ing like we’re in fat suits. It re­minds me of a par­tic­u­larly thrifty flat­mate who told me once dur­ing a big freeze that “snow in­su­lates”.

I know these are First World prob­lems, and we’re not hunt­ing squir­rels for din­ner. Yet. In fact in the first few weeks I quite en­joy the hair shirt vir­tu­ous­ness.

Fill­ing up your posh hand soap dis­penser with Aldi’s Jo Malone rip-off ver­sion. Regift­ing from the drawer.

(Just check to make sure those glasses aren’t en­graved. Been there.)

Get­ting back into the black is like a heroic mis­sion and it can feel good.

Some­times, though, aus­ter­ity back­fires. Like the time Al­pha Male bought a thou­sand tins of 3p beans at Kwik

Save and found them ut­terly ined­i­ble.

Those type of faux pru­dent pur­chases make you fall off the non-spend­ing wagon. I start off prac­ti­cal, jus­ti­fy­ing my spend­ing with the fu­ture sav­ings that the buy will de­liver. That bread maker to make cheap bread? £99.99. Con­tain­ers from Lake­land for ef­fi­cient kitchen man­age­ment? £30+.

Then I, ahem, buy a very, very nice coat. I jus­tify it by com­plet­ing a cost per wear anal­y­sis (59p if you’re ask­ing). Hmm. But back to aus­ter­ity.

Brown mush and sin­gle prawn any­one? I find it goes ex­tremely well with rel­ish.

“In the first few weeks I quite en­joy the hair shirt vir­tu­ous­ness of the project”

w&h

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