Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Cheapskate Tuesday

I did it again!

I scooted straight past Tuesday without even noticing. Maybe it's because it's the day before payday and I'm too stressed to realise...

I've been doing a bit of a roundup on our bills and debts this week. They are slowly but surely getting better. But the problem is, I keep having to add new ones. By the time I pay my (lovely and understanding) mechanic... I have a new bill from him because the other car has killed some essential part.  By the time I get last month's phone bill paid, this month's is overdue, and the next month's is bigger than ever (I'm naming and shaming you TELSTRA - you can't resist shortening my lifespan can you??)

It's a never ending juggle but I can report that I have finalised one bill that was on my list 3 months ago. Yep, you heard right. It takes me a minimum of 3 months to pay any new bill that arrives in my mail box at the moment. Because you have to pay everyone something all the time. You can't say "I paid screwyphone this fortnight, I will pay fossilfuels next fortnight, and kidwrangling the next." They want money paid by credit card, preferably yesterday, and they all want it at once, but for me, this is just not possible.

Have you had this conversation?

"Hi. My name is Stupidhead and I'm calling from Screwyphone to let you know about an overdue amount on your bill of $24,567.92. Can you pay this amount by credit card today Ma'am?"

(Now, not only do I hate telemarketers and call centres with people who freak out if you don't stick to the script.... I also find it extremely insulting to be called Ma'am. It's short for Madam. And I very definitely do not make enough money to be running a brothel, or you wouldn't be calling me about my bill.)

"No. I cannot pay this amount by credit card today. If I could have paid that amount by credit card today, I would have done it a week ago when it was due. Because I don't deliberately let my bills go overdue for the fun of it"

"Okay, Ma'am, when can you make a payment by?"

"The 24th."

"Of this month?"

"No, July 2015."

"We need to have this account cleared before your next one is due to arrive Ma'am, can we help you with a payment plan?"

"Yes, that would be fabulous."

"How much can you afford to pay us each week?"

"Ten cents."

"Unfortunately, the system won't allow me to enter that amount Ma'am, I'll give you the smallest repayments I can. Please hold"

*Irritating music while I wash dishes, make coffee, and suddenly realise I need to go to the toilet just as he comes back on the line*

"Okay Ma'am, I have set your repayment plan to suck up your husbands entire wage each week until your children leave home, leaving you enough to cover a weekly insurance plan for your funeral when you starve to death. Have a nice day Ma'am."


We are trying to reduce our bills. We don't have a mortgage, we use our phone's less and we combine them on a single bill to "give you great savings on your bills" (Telstra's BS department quoted there again...). We budget, we don't spend money on frivolous things, we don't have fancy furniture or a 3D tv. We certainly don't just ignore our bills so we can live the good life like so many people I know. 

I can't afford to get through the week, let alone buy clothes for my family. And in my little Hicksville all I have is a tiny charity store full of the same clothes it had when it opened in the eighties, so there's no chance of finding some vintage chic unless I can make a sick green pouffy bridesmaids dress into a fashion hit.

I have been able to turn old op shop finds into dresses and skirts for my daughter's before. And I'm quite good at taking in and reshaping, but you have to have something decent to work with to begin with. So whenever we go out of town I can be found scouring every charity store in sight to find something to sew into something else. 

My best find? Old curtains. Made out of the double lined, heavy fabric they use to make before everyone starting using blinds and redecorating every year. I found some with a retro design in colours that appealed to me and out of them I will (hopefully) end up with cushions, lampshades, place mats and pot holders. And anything else I can think of between now and when I finish using it all! This redecorate of my lounge/kitchen/dining spaces cost me?? 


Yay for thrift stores!

I also have a  recipe for you today. First thing I ever cooked in High School Home Ec - it's cheap and filling, and my whole family eats it.

Anything that is eaten by my whole family is cherished. Frog refuses to eat any vegies or fruit (except sultanas and watermelon, and only recently) so they have to be smuggled in; Tiger always hates something she has been eating for the last three years, and picks at her food like she's a vulture with culture; WonderMan is still being weaned off the sauce bottle....

Serve these with simple salad - lettuce, cucumber, carrot, tomato - winner every tme.


2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 Tablespoons SR Flour

2/3 Cup grated cheese

 1 small onion (finely chopped)

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsely

Mix all ingredients together.

Heat 1Tbs butter in a frying pan, and get it sizzling but not burning. 

Drop tablespoons of mix into pan and fry until crisp and golden on both sides.

Drain on paper towel.

These disappear faster than I can cook them at home.

Maybe by sharing some of my ideas and recipes with you, I can help someone else feel better, even after dealing with Stupidhead from Screwyphone.  

Chin up chaps!



  1. I dont pay the bills in my house, He earns the money, he can pay the bills. It works out well till i start being made to feel guilty about my lack of financial contribution.. then i remind him of the cost of full time long day care and he shuts up. bills suck. thanks for the recipe these sound nice! plus the hens have started laying so we need to use our eggs :-)

  2. Gawd why wont my comment button work??? second try.. Bloody bill, bloody phone companies, and i wonder if power companies feel good about sending people bankrupt these days? some of my friends have recieved $900 bills in the last few weeks.. ridiculous.


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