£0.76p left in the bank. I think about what we will eat for dinner today and remember the £1 fish pies in the freezer. The boys do what they can to help but it’s not really down to them. Ross, my youngest, has £10 in the bank that his dad sent him and he withdraws it for me. I’ll give it back to him on Thursday when my tax credit money comes through.
It’s Monday. I use that £10 to buy some peas to go with the fish pie and put £2 on the gas card and electric key. £5 left. We need bread and some milk. £2.80 left. Matthew, my eldest wants to help but can’t. He has already given me all the money he received when he got paid. There’s only a little left so he can travel to London to see his newborn son and I won’t take that from him. I make a solemn promise to make it up to them both one day.
Tuesday. More letters arrive from the insolvency service containing more forms to complete as the bankrupt. I remember the good old days when spending £100 on something was nothing. Now I can’t even seem to be able to get £10 together without help. I buy £1 ‘chicken’ curry. Never can be sure what is in a curry that cost a pound. Horse maybe? With the £2.80 from Ross and the coins I already have in my purse I manage to get some naan bread to go with the curry. Our eating habits are not healthy but it is food.
Wednesday. My best friend has put £20 into my bank account. I put £5 on the gas card and the electric key and buy some fish fingers and oven chips.
Thursday. Tax credit money arrives. £103.00 pounds. I pay Ross back and my best friend. £73 left. Its winter and its cold but I keep the heat off as much as I can during the day until Ross gets back from school. Despite that the small amounts of money I put on the card and key are ‘eaten’ up in no time. I put another £10 on the gas card and electric key. There is enough on there now to last until Monday, hopefully. £53 left. I pay £10 towards my water bill. £43 left. The rest goes on food. Just the basics. Hopefully it will last until the weekend is over.
It’s Monday. I have £0.80 left in the bank. Well at least I am four pence up on last week. I have danced this financial dance for the last three months. I can manage another week, can’t I? I was learning just how much I could cope with. Who knew!
Written by Diane Corriette
June 28th 2013
This story was included in my book The Last Hut and 29 other flash fiction stories
The title was changed to 76p and the piece was edited.