Down in the bottom of the garden where badgers roam, foxes prowl and Tree Fairies flutter there is a money tree. It is fabulous! Every morning, crisp fifty pound notes hang off its every branch, waiting for me to gingerly pluck and ravenously spend. The tree doesn’t take much looking after; the Tree Fairies see to that with their harmonious song, gentle touch and nurturing spirit. If you do not have a money tree, get one! It’s a must for the household with a growing teenager.
And then I wake up! Reality bites, like an annoying flea and you’re left scratching it for the rest of the day! Shame it bites you on the butt. But the teenager doesn’t seem to get that the money tree is a figment of your imagination or wishful thinking. And probably does exist in some parallel universe- typical!
You may balk at the thought of all the money spent on a newborn. You trawl car boot sales, charity shops and local newspapers to help justify the brand spanking new car seat, cot and wardrobe full of clothes. Because no matter what you have, it’s never enough! The baby is only going to be in an outfit a few months and there are so many to choose from that you’ll probably only put your bubs in it once!
But it gets worse. The teenager comes into being. Over night the change is quick and dramatic. Gone is the pleasantness, the civil talk and the Queen’s English. In its place is grumpiness, one worded answers and groaning and grunting. The groaning and grunting is so severe that I hoped there’d be an evening class so to learn and converse with my teenager. But alas, education and translation hasn’t caught up with teenagerdom. And I so wanted to learn to speak grunt. Imagine if you could speak grunt. . . . No more cold calling on the telephone for one and of course, the understandings of teenage speak which would hold you in good stead when they bring their mates round. This would eliminate any ‘embarrassing parents’ situation and allow you to know exactly what is going on in their ever so secretive lives (which is apparent why they do grunt!).
But the worse thing about living with a teenager, apart from the time spent in the bathroom, which I thought was only a girl thing – how wrong was I!, is money and how much they spend of it and how little they actually get for it!
So to keep number one son in the manner to which he has so quickly become accustomed, he has an allowance. This means no banging on at us for money and also means learning to budget. Mmmm. Seemed like a good idea at the time. But when trainers are £80 and gilets are £90 money disappears quicker than a banker’s bonus.
And because, like any parent you do not want your child to go without, you cut costs where you can so the household is as tranquil as can possibly be.
But the cuts come at a cost; mainly to me (number 2 in particular). Who said being a parent was easy and cheap! Well, no one actually and I share why. Some cuts were more successful than others. . .
My Heat magazine. I cried!!! No more celeb gossip or quirky TV guide. No more ‘best dressed’ or ‘worst dressed’ (which to be honest is much more fun).
But on the plus side, there’s HeatWorld.com and my gorgeous sister who buys Heat and shares. Yay!!!
This cut is painful in more ways than one; do- it- yourself- waxing. Ouch! There are no plusses for this other than the money saved. I won’t go into detail as it’s not pretty or for the faint hearted! Needless to say, a 20 minute wax done by a professional, takes 2 hours by me and there is plenty of hollering like a banshee. Not to mention the language. No swear words are enough to represent the pain so I invented my.
The fabulous bread maker! A Christmas present some years ago sitting in the garage like a forgotten toy. A machine that makes bread, so you save your bread! Cool! Even for an undomesticated devil, making bread is as easy as pie. Actually, it’s easier than pie. Everything is measured in a cup or a spoon, the wet ingredients in first then the dry, and then turn it on. No sticky mess with dough as you’re saving your dough. Three hours later there is a steaming hot loaf sitting on the side, its aroma filling the house. So much so that people come knocking to view the house . . . enticing people to buy your home with a freshly baked loaf works! And I would have been chuffed if I was moving! Even pizzas are awesome out of this machine from heaven and so easy to throw together! So this is what it feels like to be a Domestic Goddess a la Nigella. Although, to be honest, she would never be seen to use a bread maker!
The freezer was stacked with loaves of homemade bread as I knew within a few weeks the novelty would wear off, however easy it was. But I needn’t have worried; the men of the household didn’t like it! And proceeded to buy their usual processed loaf. This cut was a disaster! Not only because of the space in the freezer taken up with umpteen loaves but also because it was me who devoured them with lashings of jam or chocolate spread, spread as thick as the slice itself! And when cutting your own bread, you end up with slabs, not slices! The consequences were obvious to see as I became the size of a small hippo and the scales were binned.
Now this may seem strange. But it works and has saved us money. Swapping our supermarket brand cat food to the famous variety that 8 out of 10 cats prefer. The fussy eater only ate his food if there were sprinkles on it and then turned his nose up at it completely so we were throwing quite a bit away. Now the branded one costs more, but he eats the lot so we feed him less so save money and no sprinkles. Simples.
I have to concede that maybe hubby wins in the cuts department. Not only did he give up his weekly ‘lads mag’ but he gave up smoking!!! And didn’t I know about it! But just over a year in and he’s worse about smoking than me, a smug–never-ever-smoked, which is a pain. But at least he doesn’t smell!
Of course these cuts are now pointless due to the fact I’ve had to join a fat club and the gym for eating a month’s supply of bread in a matter of days. So if you do happen to see a twinkling at the bottom of your garden, be sure to investigate as that twinkling is a Tree Fairy and you just might have the answer to my prayers that grows little fifty pound notes.