Frugality and family life


I am getting into the swing of being at home. CBeebies is no longer our constant companion and miraculously Ben has stopped demanding it, I tend to stick it on after his afternoon nap (sadly in time to watch the awful Dirt Girl programme) to give him a chance to wind down, get over the post nap tantrum and to give me a little quiet time to get started on dinner.

We are of course making adjustments to our lifestyles. I will now be given a monthly groceries allowance and need to ask my husband if I need money for my hair etc… the difference between our lives and that of our well off, well-paid childless friends is now huge. Don’t get me wrong I am not a poster girl for Brown’s poverty struck Britain, I worry about drawing on our savings rather than a local loan shark but compared to our peers we are poor.

When we all started out after graduating we were one of the first to get married and get a mortgage, and like every young couple in our position we accepted any offer of second hand furniture greatfully, I was reminded a few times when I griped about our tiny house with unmatched furniture that my Mum and Dad had only two chairs in their lounge when they first started out.

Luckily with a large extended family there was plenty of furniture, we got my Grandad’s kitchen table when he bought a new one in 2002 (currently sitting in the conservatory), we took my bed from my parents house in 2002 and it is still our bed now, friends of my parents gave us their wardrobe and dining chairs in 2003 (in the nursery and conservatory) both of our TV’s belonged to my two grandads and before that we had a TV from family friends.

A large number of Ben’s things are second hand from a lady with slightly older children who works with my Mum, do I want a little bathroom step for Ben – yes I do! Do we want some nice toddler toys to leave at Mum’s – yes we do! Ciaran naturally has very few clothes or toys that were bought just for him.

Our friends are probably now (as we all head to our thirties) reaching the point where they can say no to the offer of an old three piece suite and can instead raid the savings for a few grand and head to DFS for a new suite. It’s hard not to compare houses when you see the photo’s and it is hard not to wish that we had some of the nice things, but any photo of my house shows kids toys, kids plates, spoons, sudocream and nappies and that to me is priceless and worth the small sacrifices.

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