Thursday, 18 June 2015

Tightening Our Belts

Dh is self employed and has been for about a year now, slowly but surely he's been building his business up sometimes working up to 100 hours a week. Going from someone who brings in a monthly paycheck to someone who's income is a bit more sporadic with income was a bit of a change for us initially, but something I think we've adapted well to. I am very proud of what he's achieved. I  generally sort our accounts and books, it's always been that way. It seems to be one of my strengths and dh likes it that way too because he knows he can trust me to keep a close eye on things and keep him up to date. He does all the paperwork for his business, so especially over the last year, it's been one less thing for him to worry about. 

But being self employed also has its down side, and recently we've received our first experience of what it is like to not get paid by a company. Dh has done a lot of work for this company. They are his biggest client, but apparently as they've done a lot of investing in a new project they are waiting for the returns on, they have a 'short term cash flow problem' and are now seriously late in paying him. What's worse, is that dh is about to submit another 2 invoices to them for further work done (before he realised he wasn't getting paid- funny enough they weren't too forward in divulging that information) and those will almost certainly be late too. A few days ago dh started to panic about the lack of income he would be providing over the next few months as we still have no idea when he will be paid. So we've come up with a plan of action. 

We have some savings but I really,  really don't want to touch this unless we ABSOLUTELY have to. It's taken us so long to save what little we have so I don't want to touch it unless the bailiffs come a knocking!  I want us to really tighten our belts and get the most out of every pound until the money comes in. We're also adjusting to my wages at my new job,  which I love but I am bringing in about £300 less a month compared to a year ago. What makes the situation worse is that our car had its MOT and service on Tuesday,  it failed,  and by the time it passed I had a bill for £600 . . . .  yeah. . . . Ouch. .. . 

Still, ever the optimist I know we can do this. Although we are not totally doing rations at the moment (which I may go back to as I'm actually missing it!) I am still limiting a lot of what we buy such as butter, cheese, milk and 'meat'. But I don't ration lentils, grains, beans and whole foods I can cook from scratch with. I'm still buying very little processed food. I've replaced the sugar ration with honey or maple syrup as a less refined alternative and I am buying more eggs.  More on this later. I am buying some non-British fruit and veg if it is on offer, but really only occasionally.  Today, at my fruit and veg shop they had a carrier bag of overipe bananas for £1! I bought it to make a banana loaf and have frozen the rest for banana ice cream.  

I know we can get through this time by being frugal.  This morning so far I have been to the allotment and done some weeding and picked our first strawberries!  I've made a 'meat loaf' with the last of the veggie mince,  mushrooms,  onions etc,  taken up 2 pairs of work trousers (provided by work) , cleaned and tidied,  made breakfast and lunch. Lunch will be jacket potato and meat loaf followed by our own strawberries. I listened to 1940s big band music while I worked.  I also hand washed a batch of cleaning cloths and tea towels.  

All in all I do feel optimistic. I know my grandparents went through some very lean times, much harder than ours so whenever I'm feeling a bit stressed I think of them. I'll let you know how we get on. 



  1. Well, it sounds like you've got everything under control, well done!

  2. You have really thought this thru and that is part of the solution. You will meet this challenge. Joan

  3. Yes we have been there too, infact life is always tight for us with a large family.
    It is amazing what you save when you put your mind to it & you feel so good about it.
    Fondly Michelle

  4. Thank you all for your supportive comments. I'm still very motivated and we're doing ok so far :) x

  5. Good luck to you.

    I'm glad that you mentioned maple syrup as a sugar alternative.

    Here in the U.S. the price of eggs has really increased because there is a shortage so you are lucky in the UK to have that as a frugal choice.

    1. Thanks Barbara. Maple syrup is not cheap here in the uk but as it is so rich with such a strong flavour it lasts for ages. I'm surprised there is an egg shortage in the U.S. may I ask how much it is for a dozen free range eggs? Here in the uk I can get them from a local farm for £2.