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February 04, 2010

High and Dry in Sunny South Africa

So here we are again. No money. No hope. No prospects. No, this is not a TV reality show or the life of a homeless person in South Africa. It’s MY life and I’ll weep if I want to. On the 2nd of February I merrily went to the ATM and tried to draw R1000. The message on the screen said: “Withdrawal not possible”. The nasty little slip that came out of the machine said “Balance: R44, available: R0”. Lovely. The 2nd of February people. I got paid on the 26th of January. This means that my salary lasted all of 6 days. I get paid (a small fortune) enough to comfortably survive on but after paying my rent, some bills and buying some food – that’s it – game over! WTF!? Has the recession hit SO badly that we’re all feeling the pinch now? And by all I mean ME of course – duh.

So I did what any upstanding citizen would do. I called for help. My sister suggested I have an honest look at my bank statements and see exactly where my money is going. Bank statements? I never look at those. OH you mean those things with numbers on them and a lot of minuses. I am the kind of person who draws money and NEVER EVER looks at the slip as the balance is too depressing. I draw all the money until the machine says I can’t anymore. Head in the sand? Yes. Stupid? Probably. Anway. So I followed her advice, went online and did the exercise with the bank statements. Shock and horror! I discover the bank (who will remain unnamed) has eaten a sizeable portion of my salary in charges. My debit order total is too horrific to even contemplate and there’s little wonder I have no money left. But this feels good, it feels like I am taking charge. So I made a decision. I am going to change banks, move only the debit orders that are necessary and keep a close eye on what gets spent and paid. In other words, budget and manage my money. Two things I have not been quite capable of up to this point.

In addition to this I am going to take on some extra work after hours to earn extra money. Lovely new boyfriend already has some work lined up for me so that’s good. For today, however, I have to figure out how to make dinner for my kid and her friend who will be coming over. Sigh. Is it just me or is everyone in this boat?


  1. You are so not alone in that... although I am lucky enough to have my Glugster's help when I need it now.

  2. "We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are now totaly qualified to do absolutely anything with nothing at all!" I hear you my friend! There are many of us out there....

  3. You are definitely not the only one in that boat. I have been rowing that boat for many years now. :) At least it brings out our ingenuity and imagination at making ends meet until the end of the month.