The best news of the day is that my tenant has paid up for March too, and I haven’t even finished spending January’s rent yet – I was making it last in case I needed to. So I insisted – positively insisted, darlings – on paying the Sage’s car insurance when the credit card bill came in.

I should add that whenever my bank account looks a bit lean I tell him and he bungs money my way. Such is the life of a kept woman.

With the bill was a brochure (couldn’t think of the word for a minute, nearly wrote brochet – I’m the woman who thinks of little but food) with new terms and conditions. You know that the interest rate has been brought down by the Bank of England to 0.5%? Of course, it’s entirely logical for Nashunwide to raise their interest rate on credit cards by 2% to 19.9%. Don’t we love that .9? Not quite 20, you see. So it’s hardly anything at all.

It doesn’t affect me. I live within my means, whatever they are. Even when I was still at school, my father had died and my mother had very little to live on and all I had for spending money was a Saturday job, I never ran out of money. When I received my monthly pay cheque (I worked at the local library and got 3 weeks paid holiday a year, how lucky was I?) I first bought a contribution to the housekeeping, a small treat, usually steak or grapes, and then only spent money according to my self-imposed rules. 1 – only buy what you need, not what you want. 2 – only buy it if it takes no more than half your money. If it takes over half, wait until next month.

Usually, by the next month, I didn’t really need it any more, as if I’d managed without for a month the moment of neediness had passed. Of course, there were real necessities, so I never actually saved money, but that didn’t matter at that stage of my life. Not that I went to university because I got married pretty well straight out of school, but if I had I’d have had a grant which was enough to live on. That’s what made the difference to my generation – no access to credit. If you couldn’t borrow money you lived on what you had.

I’m not exactly G0rd0n B’s dream girl. I don’t borrow money. I’d live on bread and potatoes in an unheated house first. Mind you, I can’t see him as a borrower either.

8 comments on “Zolonius

  1. Dave

    I have no idea what the interest rate on my credit card is. In the 30-odd years I’ve had a card, I’ve always paid the balance in full, and have never paid them a penny for their kind loan each month.

  2. Z

    We’re not going to pull and pull with all our might though, are we, Simon? He can wallow in the mire for all I care.

    You’re a born Treasurer, Dave. As well as a Treasure.

  3. ephelba

    Just today I was reading a blog that spoke about teaching your kids money sense. They mentioned how to make change, how to save money, but never mentioned the big things- like the difference between wanting and needing, how to delay gratification, that just because you “deserve” and appreciate nice things doesn’t mean you get to have them, that you can do without and it won’t kill you. These are the kind of things that put the economy in the mess it’s in, if you ask me. But you didn’t, and I carried on for a really long time:) Sorry about that.

  4. Z

    No, I agree with you, Ephelba. We’ve relaxed somewhat now, but we didn’t have spare money when our children were young and they were happy with home-made presents and suchlike. Even now, Ro – who was very pleased when I asked him to pick out a new TV – wants me to look at some and see what size screen I’d like. I said I won’t be going near any shops for a while. “Any time in the next week or two” he said. And he’d really like that television.

    All my children are pretty canny with money and none of them has debts. No spending their way out of recession either.

  5. Diane

    Dear Z, I hopped onto your blog and caught up. It’s fun to read about your life in England. I love reading about your thriftiness, there’s just not enough of it anymore. My grandmother went through the Great Depression and she unknowingly taught me so much about thriftiness. I think it’s a form of art. Thanks for reading my blog and sending your sweet note to my sister, Patsy.

  6. Gordie

    I have just lent my tenant some money to pay off his previous landlord.

    I loved: “I live within my means… whatever they are.” I can imagine Michael Flanders saying it, with a heavy inflection.


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