My mother stayed home with my sister and I, and my father worked at the mineral sands Mine at Eneabba. He worked very hard, and took many, many extra shifts to pay off the family home, which he did in 6 years. I still remember him proudly telling me that we owned our home, and proudly relating this fact to my friends, even though I didn't really understand what he meant.
I was very, very lucky. My early childhood was stable and secure, and it came down to a few things that people seem to have forgotten: Make do or go without.
The reason that I bring this up is because I think I forgot it myself. Last year, His Majesty and myself had quite a good income. We made a very comfortable living, and we had outgoings that matched. Massive phone bills, club memberships, play money, two relatively new, shiny cars, etc. But this year, His Majesty is following his dream at WAAPA, and this means that we are down to one income, but with the outgoings of a couple that earn far more.
So, the last few weeks I have been taking stock and tightening this belt a little. My Biggest Loser Club membership has been suspended until I can pay it again, and they were very gracious to allow me to do that as it was a contract. Also, it was the BLC or the gym, and the gym is far more practical. I have had to give away my singing lessons as a luxury item. I am NOT a natural singer, as much as I enjoy it, and it is not a need, so I will just have to exercise my voice very carefully on my own. We have stopped using the aircon in our house. It is killing His Majesty, because he hates being hot but he is being very, very good about it. Our food bill has been slashed, and we have more basics, and less prepackaged and convenience items in the trolley. Our weekly visit to Sizzlers has been curtailed to a very rare treat.
Rent is rent, and always will be, so nothing I can do about that. We are trying not to use as much water....no point watering the garden because we are right in the middle of a drought anyway. Centrelink won't give us anything, I tried (twice). Today, I also rang Telstra and found out that they have contracts that are far better value than our old ones, and so instead of paying $230 a month, we will now pay $138, but get around the same value. Massive, massive props to my friend, who is not only a uni student, but an amazing Mummy to two gorgeous cherubs, and someone who will make a fabulous teacher and enrich so many lives and is making living on one income and studying look like a walk in the park. (I know it probably isn't Jo, but you make it look good!)
So what can I make do with? I can make do with the videos we have, and without buying new ones. I can make do with serving the girls fish and veggies, even if I want something not in the freezer... (like Sizzlers). I can make do with the massive ammount of clothes I have without buying any more this year. I can make do with cloth nappies instead of putting my stubborn 2 and a half year old in a disposable every night.
And what can I do without? Well, when it boils down to it, I can do without the stress of not having enough money to pay for all the things that I don't really need. So even though I don't have a designer house, a cupboard full of new clothes, matching furniture, brightly packaged, trendy snacks, juice, a house like an igloo, an iPhone 4, a cleaner and we are going camping at Easter instead of to Europe, I have a feeling we are going to be just fine.
(And if all else fail, damn it, we have really nice cars!)