Cheap, cheerful and oh-so-Gold Coast

I ACCIDENTALLY had a whinge this week to completely the wrong person.

You see, I can’t seem to keep my frivolous spending habits under control. Or should I say, my family’s frivolous spending. We have a budget and we allocate a set amount of live off each week for groceries, petrol and ‘entertainment’ but no matter how hard we try, we always seem to go over budget.

The result? We dip into our savings far more often than we should, and our credit card is never, ever paid in full. Ever.


I know the solution to my problem: discipline. We need to be more disciplined and cut back on life little luxuries, things like takeaway meals, clothes we really don’t need and unexpected coffee runs (when did a flat white start costing $4 anyway?).

And we need to cut up our credit cards. Pronto.

I caught up with a friend this week and lamented the fact that we can’t seem to squirrel away any funds at the moment – “If anything,” I whined, “we keep going backwards”.

“I know exactly what you mean,” she said. “We’re trying so hard to stick to our budget of $130 per week and some week’s it’s just really tough.”

A little polite and careful questioning on my behalf revealed that her budget of $130 covers groceries, fuel, takeaways and anything else she may want to purchase throughout the week. And it covers both my friend and her partner – they allocate $130 for them both to live off.

I suddenly felt so bratty. My budget is over three times that amount, and still I can’t stick to it?

Then over the weekend in the Bulletin, I read about the Gold Coast’s “working poor” – those families who are working but earning low incomes, so they’re living off around $30,000 annually, to support an entire family.

That’s $600 per week (before tax) to cover rent, fuel, food and electricity bills, without even mentioning childcare and incidentals, like the odd magazine or takeaway lunch.

Suddenly, I’m feeling more than a little entitled and wasteful.

I quickly wracked my brain to come up with some tangible things I can do this week to be more responsible with my money: takeaway ban ‘til the weekend; make all our own coffees instead of buying any out; remove credit cards from our wallets; purchase no “on sale” groceries unless they’re specifically on the list.

That’s gotta get our week started on the right foot. And with any luck, we’ll end the week with a little more currency and a few less impulse buys. Can’t hurt, right?

The Meddler

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