My story starts with me surviving on $25 a week. Yes this might sound unbelievable but I did it. I was in a disastrous relationship with two children one of which was a baby. People always ask what happened and I explain it as a difference of opinion. He thought it was ok to steal and not come home for two weeks at a time and I thought stealing is wrong and that he should at least text to tell me he was alive. I stupidly allowed him to ‘pay’ the bills.
When I left there were debts and no money to pay them. I immediately organised to pay each week but once I had sorted all this I was left with $25 a week for everything else. Luckily I was breastfeeding and used cloth nappies and I mean the square old fashioned use a pin kind.
After crying myself into sanity I composed myself. I then took stock and found forty packs of instant porridge at the supermarket for 40c. I got some super cheap laundry detergent, soap, washing liquid, toothpaste. You know the luxuries of life. I had a vegetable garden that produced salad ingredients but not much as they were in pots. This is what I lived on for the first week.
I couldn’t afford fuel but luckily I had a push bike. On Tuesday nights the local supermarket cleared out their old bread and cakes. Now when I say reduced I mean to 25c a pack of bread / finger buns, they also had a mega pack of sausages for cheap price ($1-$2). I must have looked a real sight walking out with a trolley loaded up with cakes. I then found a green grocer that would sell bags of not-so-fresh veggies they were edible but not for long. I would cook them up and freeze them and eat pureed vegies, sausages and bread roll for dinner. Breakfast was always porridge and lunch was vegemite on a bread roll.
I decided I needed to take control of my life so everything became a matter of lists, food planner list, grocery lists, to do list, bills list, my life was lists. Then a list of life changes so I would never be in that situation again. I get laughed at walking in with my display folder with all my bills, shopping list, food plan.
This lasted about 6-8 weeks before the finances were at a stage I could afford $50 a week we thought this was heaven. I will never forget my kids’ faces when I got a chicken breast and we had chicken pasta. By this stage word got out people were inviting me for dinner and morning teas I didn’t know this was a way of making me eat healthier. I volunteered at a school canteen and the others refused the leftovers so I got them. Heaven cold mini pizzas, sausage rolls, yoghurts, flavoured milks and cheese. All this helped me out.
I learnt a few lessons along the way:
Those days are far behind me now. I worked my way up from a volunteering pauper to business manager. I got the man of my dreams and we got married, had my daughter and have all the nice things I ever dreamed of in life. My current motto in life after getting spoilt by my hubby is I am in love with my dishwasher (admit it so do you).
Guest Blog by Princess Fiona (wished to remain anonymous!)