All I know is at the moment I am $5,000 overdrawn in my bank account. Cool huh? That's the part that worries me, trying to catch up on old bills when you still have new ones coming in, how the hell are you supposed to get anywhere? Things like phone and Internet are rather important, not to mention my car. I owe $600 on that too and my registration is way overdue which I have to pay by tomorrow because the police caught me driving around a while ago with no rego and if I don't pay within 28 days I cop an extra $100 fine on top! Oh and then there are the debt collection notices I've been receiving from the orthodontist saying I owe them $2,000 for Ali's braces. I'm not sure what they're going to do if I can't pay, drive 90 minutes to our house and pull them off his teeth?!
Anyway, that's off the top of my head, there's still way more such as insurance which is also kind of vital and I can't remember the last time I could afford to pay anything on my rates, maybe six months ago? Don't get me wrong, I'm not whinging (I hope it doesn't sound like that), I'm just saying how things are and writing all this down is getting things straight in my head as much as anything. I know there are people far, far worse off financially than me but this is my own personal situation and I don't like it one bit because I can't see how I'm ever supposed to a) catch up and b) stop myself from falling further behind. I bloody well will though, somehow. I have to have faith in myself and my own abilities. That's one of the great things about reading through Simple Savings tips; you come across tales of people all the time who were in far bigger holes and managed to claw their way out of them. It gives you hope. I tell Ali all the time when he has a problem, 'There ain't nothing that can't be fixed'. Maybe I need to start believing that myself.
The bank is well aware of my situation (well I think so, they must be because they've stopped sending me automated phone calls all hours of the day and night). My bank manager has been hugely supportive of me through the whole disastrous chain of events the past couple of years and is just lovely. Every time she sees me she gives me a hug and says 'I don't know how the hell you keep going!' Quite frankly neither do I! But as I also like to tell Ali, life just keeps on moving, no matter what. The world has this habit of just keeping on turning and whether its the outcome you want or not, things just have a way of working out. Even so, there's only so much my bank manager can do, much as she wants to help me. It's up to the Westpac powers that be to let me know what can and can't be done now. As for pretty much everyone else, they've been amazing. As soon as I finally have the courage to pick up the phone, apologise for ignoring their correspondence for weeks and explain about The Thing, they couldn't be more sympathetic and helpful and most of the time are happy for me to pay them off at as little as $10 a week. When you owe so many people money it adds up to an awful lot of $10's a week! But at least I feel like I'm doing something.
Still, this isn't supposed to be a doomy gloomy blog, I was just getting that stuff out of the way to explain the situation and the kind of money I need to find. Now that's done, let's talk about something else. After all, it's not just about me! Ali - my baby! - is 18 in a few months and about to start his final year of school. At this stage he wants to go to Uni next year and study to be a psychologist but who knows where his path will take him; that kid can be anything he wants to be if he puts his mind to it. Liam has just passed his first year of Uni and he and his girlfriend have been working here all summer to support themselves and pay rent for their first flat when they go back to the big smoke in a month's time. Liam has been doing anything from working in a local takeaway to spending 50 - 60 hours a week washing windows! He knows how important the summer months are for uni students to save as much as they can in order to make the forthcoming year easier. He's still got two years of his degree to go and I don't tell him this anywhere near enough but I'm so proud of him. He's a good man; a really good man.
And then there's Gareth. Don't ask me how I did it, I'm still pinching myself but somehow I've managed to bag myself quite possibly the nicest, most genuine bloke on the planet. I know, right? How on earth has he not run screaming from my chaotic world? I try to restrain myself from asking him that on a daily basis but no matter what life throws at me, and in turn him, by some miracle he continues to stick with me. Take it from me, there are not too many blokes around like that. Funnily enough we actually met through one of my spontaneous attempts to save money. It's a pretty cool - dare I say even romantic - story even if I say so myself and I look forward to sharing it with you soon. But that's another blog...
So see, it's not all bad! I still have lots of wonderful stuff going on. And I still have my beloved Nawtypoo Cottage, at least for now. Which I hope I never have to leave because recently I built my own vegetable garden and I am SO proud of it! I built it all by myself for free using recycled timber the previous owners left behind and filled it partly with soil I already had and the rest from a local landscaper for a very reasonable price. My mum and her partner Peter saved me a fortune on plants by growing lots of extra ones for me when they were sowing their own and I bought a few myself or got given them from friends. No kidding, I have food coming out of my ears! Tomatoes, courgettes, spring onions, carrots, lettuce, spinach, sorrel, rhubarb, beans, beans and more beans... my garden is saving me an absolute fortune on food, check it out!
Actually this photo is a few weeks old now, you can't even see the trellis for beans and more and my tomato plants are taller than me! I would love to know how much my garden has saved me already, I would estimate it to be in the hundreds even after such a short time. So I guess I really am making a difference to my finances, even if I don't think I am. And we're eating better than ever too!