Let us start at the beginning. Which is, I guess at the bottom. How I would have loved to start the New Year with a clean slate after the annus horriblis that was 2014! As it is, well things are currently a bit crap. I’ve been driving around for weeks with an unregistered car, which is also well overdue for a service but I can’t get that done because I still owe the mechanic $200 from the last one. The local vet is threatening to set the debt collectors on me if I don’t pay him the $600 I owe him for taking 20 – yes, 20 – of our dog’s teeth out. Oh, and today is Thursday and I have the princely sum of $6.35 to feed myself, two teenage boys, two dogs and two cats with until next Tuesday. That’s going to take a bit of creativity I can tell you!
A bit about me, if you haven’t already met me before. I’m a solo mum of two very large teenage boys. My marriage broke up two years ago and I decided it would be a good idea to buy a house and be saddled with paying a mortgage by myself until I’m 102. On the whole, it WAS a good idea. I just never realised how hard it would be to KEEP it. As readers of my previous Penny Wise blog will know, life has thrown pretty much everything it can at us over the past two years and I’m currently working four jobs in an attempt to hang on to it. Working that many jobs is really not ideal, I don’t recommend it! Suffice to say it’s one thing I really hope to change this year.
Still, if there’s one skill I do pride myself on more than any other it’s my ability to see the positives in everything and this is the reason I feel it is time to start a new blog. I’ve been pottering along as Penny Wise for the past decade and enjoying hiding behind her comfy camouflage and pretending everything is jubbly but it’s Jackie who needs to up the ante now and get out of this hell hole. Because that’s what it is. Working four jobs and still not having enough to get by, let alone get ahead is absolute hell. So I’m going to do my darnedest to get out of it and am going to document my journey right here. Who knows how long it will take but I have two particular people in mind who are spurring me along. The first is Jack Monroe. Like me, she’s a girl called Jack. We’re also both English, both are solo mums of boys, we’ve both written cook books and both of us would do absolutely anything to keep our kids fed and with a roof over their head. The brilliant thing about Jack Monroe is that she not only managed to feed herself and her son with just ten quid a week, she shared how she did it through her blog. In the process of getting out of her own personal hell hole, she helped countless others to do the same and now she needs never worry about where her next meal is coming from ever again. I want to be like that Jack.
The other person spurring me on is actually a fictional character but nonetheless has been a personal heroine of mine for many years. As of last month, I am the same age as Shirley Valentine. We are both 42, both stuck in a rut and both let everyone walk all over us. She got out of her hell hole thanks to sheer bravery and guts. I want to be like Shirley too.
So here it is, my new blog. I would have liked to call it ‘A Girl Called Jack’, but turns out someone else is already doing a brilliant job with that. After much deliberation I settled on one of my favourite quotes, ‘Riches Have Wings’, which I was surprised to discover actually comes from the Bible. You can interpret it however you like, but my handle on it is that money is like a bird, it can fly away if you’re not careful. And I’m darned if I’m going to let any more money fly away. I’m going to rein in every cent and just like the other Jack, I’m going to share how I do it. You never know, it might just help someone but if nothing else, at least putting pen to paper makes this Jack accountable.