I hate to admit it, but I'm actually quite pigheaded. If I get something in my head - well that's it, there's no way I'm going to be swayed from it. Sometimes that's a good thing; such as when I'm going into battle insurance companies or something of the like. Other times, I'm not so sure. For example one of my mantras - at least when it comes to people who try and demand money from me is 'they can't have it if I haven't got it'. Well it's true isn't it? If I don't have the money, they can't have it! And I content myself with that. They can come and take my TV if they want, that's fine with me but if it's cash they want, well they're just going to have to wait until I've got some. End of story. Of course I'm not talking about small local businesses here, or people whose services I have specifically requested and then found myself unable to pay; obviously they are my priority and I do my utmost to pay them off as quickly as I can. But in the case of big companies who like to spring nasty surprises on you? As my kids would say, meh. They can bloody well wait.
It's probably not the most mature or realistic attitude but when you don't have any money to start with it gets to the stage where you just have to laugh if anyone asks for any more. Either that or cry but my preference is to laugh because the idea that they think you can actually pull hundreds of dollars out of thin air is so funny! Yesterday I started my new $75 per month uncapped contract with Woosh. Now I bet you fifty imaginary dollars right now that even though I have been a loyal Telecom (sorry - SPARK) customer for the past 22 years, they will come up with some way to penalise me for daring to change. Let's see what the next month brings shall we? And then there are the companies who pretend they're being nice and helpful when they're not really at all. Such as when I cancelled my Sky TV. I never have liked the cheeky way they would debit money from my account a month in advance for services I hadn't had yet but I was even more miffed when I cancelled my subscription only to find they STILL withdrew money from my account a few days later. 'Oi, I'm not paying for a service I no longer have!' I said down the phone (or words to that effect). Oh but hang on it's fine. Even though I was already $58 in credit on my account. Even though they had withdrawn another $92 AFTER I cancelled my service everything was going to be lovely jubbly because they would just keep that $150 worth of credit sitting in my account ready and waiting for the day when I would start up my subscription again. So in my efforts to save money I ended up being $150 worse off AND paying for a service I didn't want and haven't got! Jeez, thanks Sky, your generosity knows no bounds.
I've also been a bit pigheaded with my poor budgeting ladies at the local Community Trust Services. They are the most wonderful, caring group of ladies and I owe them so much but after seeking their help almost a year ago, I really want to have a go at handling things on my own now. They helped me clarify what needed to be done when I couldn't see the wood for the trees and fed the boys and I and even our pets when we couldn't afford to feed ourselves and I will be eternally grateful. But I'm one of those really annoying people who hate being told what to do. I want to feel in control of my own life again. I want to pay things off faster. I want to be financially resilient.
That's a rather groovy term, don't you think? Financially resilient. I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago from the equally groovy Rob Stock when he asked why it was that some people thrive on a low income, while others drown. It's true I guess isn't it? Some people appear constantly downtrodden, as though they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, whereas others shrug it off. Or maybe they just do a good job of LOOKING like they do. I know in my case that weight never leaves me - but what's the point in letting it bring you down? Like I said before, if I haven't got it, they can't have it.
Even so, I have never, ever thought of myself as poor. Quite the opposite, I'm rich! I may not have cash in the bank but I am the mother of two amazing, kind and caring young men, I have wonderful friends, I have my own darling little house which I love so much and to top it all off I live in the most beautiful place in the world. Check this out!
I get to see views like this every single day, for free. Ain't nothing poor about that. You can read Rob's article here; it makes quite interesting reading, as do the comments which follow it. I'll let him off for using the word 'poor' as he's a lovely bloke. The thing is, when you're financially resilient you are empowered. It's as easy as 'forgetting' your handbag. I laughed until it hurt the other day when I found a biography Ali had written about me almost 10 years ago. Apart from such revelations as 'Do you know? She hasn't stopped drinking wine for FIVE YEARS', he also shared with his class mates that one of my most annoying habits was forgetting my handbag. Little did he know that this was my guilt-free way of dealing with him and his brother's daily demands when I used to pick them up from school and beg me for lollies, magazines and other treats! I didn't want to look like a meanie and tell them no (and let's face it, what parent can be arsed arguing?) so my way of dealing with the situation without conflict was to conveniently forget my handbag. Every day. Until we moved to another town where they could walk to school and were big enough to buy their own lollies. A small triumph maybe, but nonetheless it worked!