Surviving the Credit Crunch

MY better half, who runs his own firm, was asked: “How do you start a small business?”

His reply: “Buy a big one. And wait.”

The old jokes are the best.

So, how are you all surviving the credit crunch? I spent days with my calculator, number-crunching, to see if I could manage if I were made redundant. I worked out that if only I could live a frugal life and the dearly beloved would shove a few quid into my piggy bank every week, I could just about keep my head above water. Unfortunately, he’s rather relying on my pension to keep him in his old age. I knew I should have married a rich man.

In the event, despite some scares along the way, I have kept my job. So, despite my dreams of living the frugal life at home tending my vegetable plot in my patchwork skirt, I am still on the work treadmill. And it’s just as well.

I’m just not the type of person who is any good at knitting jumpers out of llama hair plucked from barbed wire or making furniture out of cans and discarded cardboard boxes.

During all that number-crunching, I was forced to confront the fact that I am a wasteful individual. Our house-keeping bill for two people (and two cats) is huge. I am a dreadful shopper. I’m a sucker for a bargain or a buy-one-get-one-free offer (BOGOF). I'm lured in with the promise of something for nothing and the hint that I may have put one over on Tesco or Sainsbury.

In reality, I buy too much of something I didn’t particularly want in the first place and either end up giving it away or throwing it away. And Messrs Tesco, Sainsbury et al bog off to the bank with my money in their hands.

I am full of admiration for those people who can produce a seven-course banquet for 12 with last night’s left-overs and a tin of peas. I could spend £50 a head and it would still taste like an average meal from a back street cafe.

I even, for the first time in 20 years, darned a pair of socks. I’m ashamed to say, I hardly knew how to begin. As you’ve probably guessed, my socks somehow metamorphosed into a pig’s ear.

A friend at work gave me a brace of pheasants — unplucked and undrawn. I’m a country girl, a farmer’s daughter, and I knew exactly what to do with them.....

I gave them to my mother who plucked them, gutted them and gave them back to me, all cooked.

I haven't given up, though. I am really trying to be more fiscally responsible. I've started to embrace the "make do and mend" ethos. I have got to grips with darning and no longer throw away a pair of socks because they have one small hole. Good grief, last week I even mended a hem that was coming down. Not that everything has been a rip-roaring success. My attempt to make soup out of a chicken carcase and left-over vegetables tasted just like.... some tasteless concoction made out of a chicken carcase and left-over vegetables.

So one last recession joke.

What's the difference between an investment banker and a pigeon?

The pigeon is still capable of leaving a deposit on a new Ferrari.

Click here to read a blog by a friend who knows what she's talking about.


  1. I'm retiring in December on just a state pension (MWM has been retired for 5 years on a pension bigger than I'm earing!) so I'm practising living frugally now in preparation! Unfortunately it's not working. :(

  2. I live on the lowest single income level possible in the Netherlands and somehow it is doable. You just have to do without certain things and live very frugally and keep your fingers crossed a lot.

  3. You're back! Loved the pigeon joke.I can feel the crunch all round me and it's shouting in my ear. I thank goodness for the farm and it's ability for near self-sufficiency (but I need to find my own oil and electricity source, and quick).