My dwindling finances mean that I can not continue to spend the way I have been for the last year. It is grim when you have always worked for a living and now find yourself in a position of merely treading water. My disposable income is severly diminshed. I will not be bolstering our flagging retail economy this year, simply because I have not got the means to do it.
I work part-time to fit in with my family committments and have never been in a position where I can not fund the odd luxury, but I am there now. I am now going to have to think hard about the way I spend my money. It is easy to see how people can slide under with their finances, over spend by a few hundred pounds every month without realising and you are there. I know I am not the only person feeling the pinch. Over the past few years without any significant pay rises my salary has been left sorely behind and out of kilter with inflation. Year on year petrol has been going up and food and lets face it no-one's salary is matching it. As of January 2011 there is the extra VAT on everything to add to our woes.
The sad thing is I have always lived relatively frugally. I own my car which is not flash by any means, I don't have a contract mobile phone, I don't drink, I have a modest 3 bed house, and I do not have a gym membership. However, I am determined to fight my way out of this. I will ask my boss for extra hours and if there is any project work that I can do from home. It is a tricky balance managing the hours you do versus paying for Child care.
When is our time of prosperity coming? I have a vague memmory of the booming 1980's and remember the phrase champagne Charly and that people used to have gold debit cards as a sign of wealth. The generation before us have been positvely rich compared to us. Most of them owned their homes out right and were not saddled with large mortgages or debts, and they had more job security. Most of them will start enjoying their pensions soon and when we get to that time there will be nothing left in the pot!
On a more positive note, not rushing out on weekends for some retail therapy is making me appreciate life in a different way. As a family we are spending more quality time together and doing cheaper things such as going out on our bikes or for a walk. Funnily enough I do feel more relaxed for it. May be that is what this current squeeze is all about, making us think about our spending habits and re-evaluating our home life. I do feel more wholesome for it. I am even going to start home baking!