Be sure your sins will find you out

Posted February 23rd, 2008 by Penny Wise

"Nobody's perfect, I gotta work it", sings Liam at the top of his voice. How appropriate. I don't usually have much in common with teen pop singer Hannah Montana but it's a song I seem to be singing a lot too at the moment. Yes, I've decided to stop beating myself up about my No Spend month mishaps. OK, so it hasn't gone as well as I planned but at least I know we can recover from it and get back on track. Some things were unavoidable - for example yesterday, when we noticed a rather worrying water leak was running down the inside of our kitchen window, as well as numerous drips coming from the ceiling. 'Oh no, here we go again!' we thought. Last time this happened was shortly after we moved into the house. The same thing happened and by the time the leak became obvious half the kitchen ceiling was about to give way, it ended up being an insurance job and we had to wait 18 months for a local builder to come and fix the giant hole in the ceiling. Fortunately it didn't reach that stage this time and Noel would have been able to fix it himself this time. Had the plumber not given him the wrong part. Twice. In the end it was easier just to call him out and fix the leak himself before the kitchen floor became completely submerged. Hope to goodness he doesn't charge us as it was his stuff-up after all, but either way it's still going to cost several hundred dollars to fix the ceiling again.

Unavoidable, as I said. But then there was the odd thing which definitely WAS avoidable. Like the other day when I had to go to The Warehouse on an errand for someone else and ended up walking out with no less than FOUR CD's for myself. I know, I know. It's supposed to be No Spend month Penny, what the heck were you thinking? Jings, even when it's NOT No Spend month I don't usually make daft splurges like that. Before I joined Simple Savings, buying CD's was among some of my worst spending habits but over the last few years I have done SO well and have hardly bought any, borrowing those I like from the library instead. So what was different this day? I was on my way back from visiting Mum in the hospital, I was feeling low and should only have set foot in that shop to buy what I was sent for. But I was vulnerable, the marketer's worked their magic and those CD's just jumped out at me with their 'HAPPY SONGS', 'TAKE IT EASY', 'ANTHEMS OF SUMMER' and so on. Worse still, they were almost all double CD's at $28.95 each but I didn't even notice. I just grabbed them, thinking 'this is just what I need, these will make me feel better'. And they do - sort of. I've been bopping around the house and singing along joyfully in my car ever since, but it's not the same when they also bring a constant reminder of 'the time I spent $120 on crap'. Egads, it's been almost three years since I did anything quite so blatantly stupid! And then there's the fact that I haven't exactly got round to telling Noel yet.

It's not like I've hidden them from him or anything, I just haven't brought them to his attention yet! Well, one did quietly materialise in the kitchen last night when I was cooking dinner and I did own up to it and say I had treated myself to a nice new CD. One's a bit different than four though, isn't it. To be honest, I don't really think he's going to think it's a huge deal. It might have been a bit different a few years ago when I used to do this all the time, but as Hannah Montana also keeps singing 'Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days' and I just had one. And I will own up to the other three - eventually! I guess some people might think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill and I probably am. It's not like I've spent thousands of dollars on something huge but it's a long time since I allowed myself to be such a shopping victim. My splurge was daft, it left me feeling embarrassed and too silly to tell Noel, which has progressed further to feeling guilty for not being honest. In the 'bad old days' before Simple Savings, I used to hide my spending all the time but since I turned things around I've been happily living guilt-free. I've been proud of how little we can live on and how we share all our savings ups and downs together. In almost three years I can honestly say I have had nothing to be embarrassed or guilty about, so I just can't help being hard on myself about this now. I will tell him of course - eventually - but it's not like I'm scared that he'll be angry. On the contrary, he is going to LOVE this. He's already been relishing how I've let things slide this month and has been ribbing me heaps. 'Simple Savings eh?' he tuts and shakes his head when he finds something has expired at the back of the fridge, or a bottle of fizzy drink in my car. Yeah, well 'nobody's perfect, you live and you learn it - and if I mess it up sometimes...'

If there's one good thing about writing a blog, it makes you accountable to someone else. There's no point not being honest. It would be lovely if I could be Penny the Perfect all the time but why pretend to be something I'm not? Apart from lying to everyone else, I'd be lying to myself and that would be even worse. Besides, too many people I know read my blog now, they would soon know if I wasn't telling the truth! Ah yes, your sins will always find you out, so I might as well confess them myself. Besides, I'm still determined to give No Spend month a proper go. Any month can be No Spend month! And I am going to get my revenge on the gleeful finger-pointing Noel. I am going to blow him away with my frugal skills! I've already started, ridding the fruit bowl of all the overripe fruit and baking up a storm. The only problem is, the freezer is so full I can't fit any of it in so we'll all be stuffing our faces with it over the next few days. Talking of stuffing, my diet seems to have gone out the window. Burger Kings aside, being unwell has done nothing to help my waistline – you know the saying 'feed a cold, starve a fever?' Well I've had a cold and I've been well and truly feeding it!

Mind you, I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts, what with the scary hike in food prices. The media are full of it - all the papers this weekend predict doom and gloom for the humble grocery shopper. 'Wallets are developing allergies to dairy foods', screams one headline. They're not wrong there, it's nothing short of painful trying to find the best price of butter and cheese in Mr Patel's. I mean let's face it, even the most budget conscious brands have rocketed through the roof. Over the past year, cheese has gone up 63.1%, fresh milk by 16.9% and butter by a whopping 85.2% in NZ. It's obscene! It's even got a proper name now - 'agflation'. How ironic that we are all forced to pay through the nose for something locally produced in such massive quantities. As one article stated, 'absolutely no sensible argument can, or should be made for the fact that in NZ a bottle of Coke now costs far less than a bottle of milk'. It's not just dairy of course, all food prices have increased in general - except avocados, which dropped 52% last month so the media is encouraging everyone to use avocados instead of butter to make the most of the financial benefits, not to mention the health benefits too. Nice idea but only a short-term one. They'd be better off to visit Sophie Gray's website and sign up for her newsletter, which this month includes some brilliant ideas and smart substitutes for cutting the cost of dairy. If only more people would take a leaf out of her book. One comment from an Otago university nutrition researcher had me cracking up yesterday. 'Perhaps everyone should be home baking and organic gardening, but that is not a realistic expectation', he was quoted in the newspaper. Why on earth not? If the media taught more people to learn how, rather than predicting bad diets of junk food for everyone because the cost of fresh food has got too expensive... well, it beats me. They might have got a few people worried with their scaremongering but not me. I'm a Simple Saver for goodness sake! I can bake and grow my own food for as long as I need to and if 'agflation' gets too much, I'll milk a blooming cow and make my own butter and cheese, no problem! Put like that, I guess I'm not quite such a Sad Sally after all - but a Happy Hannah Montana!'

Next time you feel like

It's just one of those days

When you just can't seem to win

If things don't turn out the way you plan


Don't stay down! Try again! YEAH!

*Grin* - you said it girl!

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