Tonight I am feeling chuffed, quite a lot chuffed in fact, I would go as far as saying I am flippin dead chuffed with what I have done today, and what I have achieved in my life. I left school in 1964 with no qualifications, I wasn't particularly brainy so I went into shop work, office work, and factory work. Then I went into manual work, and carried on working for the next 45 years.
My mum taught me how to look after my money, to save up for things and not to spend money I didn't have. She took half my wages for board and lodging from day one, I didn't mind because I knew she was constantly struggling to make ends meet. My first wage was £3.10shillings for five days at a small leather shop. I didn't like the job so I moved on to working at Woolworths.
I come from an ordinary working class family, everyone had jobs and worked for their money. Nobody ever went to university, there were no clever bods in our family. I left home at eighteen to strike out on my own, to get a flat, and work to pay my way. When hit 27 I started earning a bit more money so I bought my first house. It was a small terrace house which needed a lot of work doing to it. It had wet rot, dry rot, needed a complete rewire, the floorboards ripping up and new concrete floors laid, and a new roof. It was several years before it finally got decorated, it had completely skint me, all my money had gone on it.
But I just got on with it, and a few years later I was able to afford to move into a three bedroom semi detached with a garage. This was a big improvement, but I was skint again because I had put down the biggest deposit I could afford. It needed new windows and a new front door which I couldn't afford, but I managed to secure a £3,000 interest free loan from a very kind friend. It took me two years to pay that back. It needed a new kitchen so I bought the units and fitted most of it myself except for the sink which a plumber did.
Then I moved 100 miles away into my third house, and once again put all the money I had from the sale of the previous house, down as a deposit, which was half of the full price. So I was skint again. Not to worry, I managed. I kept on working and was able to pull myself up with my boot straps once more. There was a slight blip when I slipped back down the ladder again. I needed to get a better car as mine was a wreck. I had no spare cash so I remortgaged. Eventually things picked up and I managed to make some over payments on my mortgage.
Fast forward to 2008 when I had to stop work and have an operation. I wasn't able to claim sick pay from my employer because I was an agency worker on short term contract, even though I was with the same company for seven years. I tried to claim sick pay from the government but they wriggled their way out of paying me anything, so I had twelve weeks with no money and my savings almost gone. After fighting my corner they did agree I was entitled to some pay, which was a pittance. Then my job disappeared, the depot closed, so I limped to towards retirement in May 2009, on job seekers allowance. Again, my bank balance was at rock bottom, I was just scraping by.
By this time I was an expert at living within my means, I had to be it was either sink or swim and I wasn't about to sink. In fact the less money I have the more I enjoy the challenge, weird I know, but if you aint got any you don't have to worry about it, that's the way I look at it.
So why am I chuffed tonight? In September 2010 I was able to make an over payment of £1,000 on my mortgage, in September 2011 I did the same again, and today, yep you got it, I took a cheque into Santander for £1,000. I feel like I am coming towards the end of an incredible journey. I'm not there yet, still got a bit left to pay, but now I am on the last leg sprinting towards the finishing line. Maybe I won't sprint, maybe I'll stroll, after all, things can only get better.
I am so proud that I have done all this by myself. No rich relatives to leave me any money, no big wins, I am not a gambler anyway, and no husband to pool my money with. Just little me.
One Week Eating Local (2) Part 1 = The Start
18 hours ago