It's all about the money Honey!

Posted on September 11 2016

I hate money. I mean, I love it, I get awesome things with it, but I hate it all the same.

No matter how much we seem to have, it disappears quicker than my daughter when I tell her to clean her room.

Bills, fees, food (aargh FOOD), school shoes. Birthday presents, cars. Did I mention food?

We seem to spend a RIDICULOUS amount of money per week on food. No matter how much I meal plan, write lists and try to be organised, I can never seem to set a budget and stick to it.

My bank statement looks a little like this:

1/9 Woolworths Laurimar $219.50
2/9 Woolworths Laurimar $25.34
3/9 Woolworths Laurimar $12.10
3/9 Woolworths Laurimar $9.20
4/9 Woolworths Laurimar $17.21
4/9 Bakers Delight $8.20
5/9 Woolworths Laurimar $23.98
6/9 McDonalds Doreen $48.90
7/9 Starfish Seafood Whittlesea $42.50

You get my drift. You see what I'm doing there. I'm a completely ineffective and incompetent shopper. With absolutely no restraint or willpower.

The first amount is my 'weekly' shop. This is where I get all my school snacks, fruit, veggies etc. I try to buy stuff that we can have for tea. I almost always fail miserably at that.

The subsequent amounts are the daily trips for the things I have forgotten and need but don't really need. The last two are when I can't be effed cooking, so I tell myself I deserve a break. Meanwhile I've dropped a hundred bucks on sh*t greasy food that makes my body heavy and my wallet light.

I wish I was more frugal. More of a saver. An organised, monetary genius that can budget for my family of five, feed them, provide for them, and have money left over for luxurious family holidays, but I'm not. I'm seriously f*cking it up, and I need help.

I'm not always a flippant spender, in fact the more I have I'm less inclined to spend it. If I have a few grand sitting there, I don't want to touch it. I want to nurture it, watch it grow like a plant. I want to keep it there for emergencies, like rego.

BUT - if that amount does happen to dwindle, I'm like, well bugger it, it's going anyway, may as well buy something. If I have $40 bucks left in my account and I'm in Kmart, I'm going to spend $39.95 on stuff, because why the hell shouldn't I.

I know that makes no sense. I know that it's irresponsible. My relationship with money is one that needs some serious therapy.

I'm bad at paying bills on time. Even though I pay them weekly by direct debit, they almost always seem to be more than what I pay. I get reminder notices in the mail. I don't open them. I stuff them under the seat of my car or throw them straight in the coonara. I do eventually pay them. I'm not a criminal, but I don't like the glaring, paper reminder of debt.

As much as I like to have nice things, I'm not a 'brand' person. I don't care if my shoes are Converse or Kmart. I don't give a toss if my bag is leather or pleather. Come to my house for tea, your tomato sauce will be Homebrand, as will your peas.

I refuse to 'Keep up with the Joneses' when it comes to stuff. My house is old, my car is old, I don't feel the need to have 'stuff' because everyone else does. I don't care what everyone else does, if that makes you happy, that's grouse! Good for you! But how the bloody hell do you afford it?

I'm not wasting our money on luxuries. I'm literally existing on it. My husband earns good money. Obviously I'm not going to tell you how much, but it's good. Enough that I don't really need to work. It's too much to get any Centrelink, but not enough to be financially free. Well it probably is actually, but I'm doing it wrong.

Maybe me working is the difference between a holiday on the beaches of Torquay v the beaches of Fiji. Is Fiji going to make me happier than Torquay? I don't think so. I don't know because I've never done it. I suspect in my case, that my habits are psychological rather than environmental. That even if I did have an endless supply of cash, that I wouldn't really change a thing. I love Torquay.

I dunno, I just don't know. Once again I've written a rambling, incoherent post that you are probably finding hard to follow. I apologise for that, but my frustration is real.

What I would like to hear from you dear friends, is how you do it. Tell me your systems. How you prioritise your funds. What you do with your spare money - if there even is such a thing. I understand that we are living amongst a vastly different socioeconomic society. I know some of my friends have sh*tloads of money, some don't have much at all. I want to hear from you. How do you manage? Do you live on credit? Concentrate on having fun and creating memories and worry about paying it back later?Do you just make ends meet every week and then gear up for the next week and pay for what you must?

I really want to know! Help a sister out!

Claire X


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  • Robyn: September 14, 2016

    Hearing you girl. Thought things would change with 2 children moving out BUT with hubby having a major accident & my health probs = no income for a year. I know many people of all income brackets who think & do just like you. I just smile & pretend everything is ok then pray when I get to the checkout that there is money in the account!!

  • Lana: September 12, 2016

    This sounds really normal to me Claire, I actually think you’re doing a really good job. We are a family of 6 (3 school age kids, 1 baby). My husband makes good money but works full time night shift for it. I work part time which pays the mortgage. I have a $300 grocery budget, usually spend approx. $270 but then will buy a couple of roast chickens and rolls from Woolies and Bakers Delight for lunches. Since having our 4th child I have shopped online and we love it. The last thing I want to do on weekends is lose 2 hrs doing groceries most likely with at least 2 kids. I write things down as soon as I think ‘we need that next shop’ and I sit down and do the shop when I am least likely to be distracted. This is by far the most successful way I have shopped since being a mum. We have take away on weekends and spend $50 in the Plenty Valley food court most weekends. We don’t live on credit. Our bills a paid on time and we try to keep our savings balance at certain level which is only there for emergencies. Some weeks after bills/food we are running low which means we would have to go easy on the take away and probably steer clear of Plenty Valley. I have had to learn that you pretty much have to live by the ‘do I need it or do I want it’ kind of mantra. What ever money is left after the priorities are covered we spend on dinners out or on the kids in some way. We holiday a couple of times a year in the state and if we were to plan a holiday to Fiji or the like we would need to save for approx. 12 months. Sorry for the long winded story but your post really resonated with our situation. Sometimes it feels like we will never get any where and we are snowed under with bills but the reality is with a young family who never go without and a mortgage we must be doing something right. Hope this is helpful in some way :)

  • Shauna: September 12, 2016

    LOL Claire, you sound EXACTLY like me!!! My saviour? Scott Pape, the barefoot investor. BEST BOOK EVER!! He keeps it real. Even then, it took me a few years to get my shit together, but I finally got myself in gear and I’m happily paying the bills on time, I’ve got a nice emergency ‘mojo’ fund happening AND saving for a girls only trip to New York soon! I still haven’t got it perfect, but with his help, I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I was!!

  • Narelle: September 11, 2016

    You need to budget, your so right about having a small amount so you spend it.
    My advice is a big shop every fortnight and then a small the following and stop paying bill via direct debit you will always feel like your sinking as you are behind before you start. These changes helped me, I kept track of when bills were due and put money away each week so I could pay them when they came.
    Good luck

  • Claude: September 11, 2016

    I know the feeling!

    The struggle is real and definitely psychological! In a digital age we all know that an apple is better for you than a cheeseburger, that saving for the future is better than the instant gratification we succumb to daily.

    Despite having this knowledge we make short term choices… me included!!


  • Bree: September 11, 2016

    Sorry I can’t help, I’m rowing the same boat as you and want to know, are we all in the same!!

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