Well this morning has got off to a bit of a crap start (see Facebook post 'OVER THE COUNTER BANKING RIPPED ME OFF!') Thanks to some hefty bank fees I wasn't informed of and indeed would never have agreed to, I got up this morning to find I now have the princely sum of $1.93 in my bank account. Pissed off doesn't begin to describe how I'm feeling right now! The only blessing is that I don't actually NEED to spend any money for the rest of my $21 Challenge. Just as well isn't it? For the hundredth time this week I am thanking my mum for thinking of us when she saw that giant whole chicken on special as I have everything I need for a huge roast dinner tonight and tomorrow's dinner is sorted too, that will be Sophie Gray's Chicken Pie with Herby Cobbler Topping. I thought I had enough bacon to make a bacon and egg pie tonight but as it turns out I don't, it will be fine to go in the chicken pie though!
Last night's potato cakes went down well and made a dozen good size ones so plenty left over for lunch. The only thing was, I forgot to save some of the cooked mashed potato for me and chucked corned beef through the whole lot. Fortunately I had something else up my sleeve in the pantry - lentil curry! Seriously, this range of microwave Indian foods looks so tacky and revolting but you would not believe how good they are! You find them in the supermarket aisle, they're not frozen or refrigerated or anything. I first got discovered them when I used to work evenings in a bar and we didn't have long to scoff our dinner. One of my workmates used to bring these in and told me how you could get them in the supermarket on special for $2.99. No kidding, for just a couple of bucks these meals are brilliant value and they are so tasty I could eat them every night if I had to! I think there are three or four in the range and they are all vegetarian and vacuum packed for freshness. The lentil curry I had last night was as good as you would get in an Indian restaurant, I was one happy bunny! Whilst I normally never touch processed or microwave meals with a bargepole, they are a very good emergency standby for me and I was very glad of it last night.
Yesterday I caught up with Liam, which was lovely. He's 20 now, can you believe it? We met up for a coffee but he wouldn't let me buy him anything. 'I see you're doing a $21 Challenge. Jeez Mum, I thought I was broke but it's nothing compared to you!' he grinned. 'Ah yes, but the $21 Challenge is always something positive you can do', I smiled back. As it turned out, it was the perfect opportunity to broach the subject of saving money with him. 'I really want to talk to you to share some tips I wish I had known at your age', I said. 'That's good because I've been wanting to know the same!' he replied. I told him about the Simple Savings Hint of the Week I recently read about a lady who noticed her young daughter (who had recently started her first full time job) was already spending more than she earned. She sat her daughter down, told her a few home truths about the perils of living payday to payday and how important it is to have a nest egg or emergency fund, as you never know what life has waiting around the corner. She encouraged the girl to put $500 of her wages into a savings account every fortnight, and at the end of 12 months, her mother would match whatever interest the bank had added on to her savings.
After just a few months, the daughter had already saved $5,000 and was so excited she started putting even more of her wages aside for savings. 'Well that would be really cool because I want to save as much money as I can to go travelling', said Liam. I also told him about the friend of ours who, as soon as he started earning while still at uni and working nights, religiously put 10% of everything he earned into savings. It didn't matter if it was only $10 a week, if it was 10% it would still be put away. Before he knew it there was $400 in his account and it just continued to grow and grow. 'That way, even if you can't afford $500 like that lady's daughter, you're still always saving something', I said. Liam nodded approvingly. 'I think several of my friends do that kind of thing, like they're always saying they're broke but they're not really, they just keep most of their money in another account and only leave themselves a little bit', he said. 'Yes, that's the way to do it!' I said. 'The best way to hang on to your money is to limit the amount you can access. Just allow yourself a set amount, then you can't waste it all on rubbish', 'Hmm yeah, I only have one account and that's got everything in it!' he laughed. I really enjoyed our afternoon together and with a bit of luck he won't go on to make the same mistakes I did. If I have my way I'll make sure of it!