Day Three: A battle of my wills in Tesco.

Day 3


Opening balance: £16.71

Spent: £8.35 on provisions for trip (quick dinners & breakfast & snacks) in Tesco.

Saved £4!

Closing balance: £8.36 (boo- I don’t like it going down. How very addictive this accumulation is!)

I realise more and more as I get started in these very early days of this year-long project that I have long had a very unhealthy relationship with money. I have abused it, ignored it, taken advantage of it and failed to allow myself to notice when it was running out, as it frequently did.

Today, I congratulated myself on getting to day three with a zero spend and an accrued balance of £16.71. I thought I would probably need that for fuel for my drive to the Midlands today. Normally on a long journey I fill up my tank to be on the safe side but, with a 3/4 full little city car I thought I’d see how far it would get before I had to throw some pennies in the tank.

At Gloucester, about half way, I drove to Tesco Extra to grab some provisions. I had not packed any breakfast things or easy dinners, and knew I would need something tonight when I arrived at the Airb&b.

This is where I was a bit shocked by my attitude to money. When I checked my wallet as I went into Tesco, I was surprised to find £15. I couldn’t for the life of me remember how it got there. Absolutely no recollection of having withdrawn any cash recently or obtaining notes in change. I generally always use my wavy card thing for small purchases, rather than carry cash. I was so surprised that I almost convinced myself that this was special, extra money that I could spend outside the fiver project. This, I reasoned, would enable me to buy the food I needed and not eat into my allowance which I needed for fuel.

Halfway round the supermarket I gave myself a stern telling off. This was definitely fiver project money, and must be treated as such. I’ve got to stop spinning myself untruths in an attempt to get the better of me. Not least because it in fact derails me rather than serves me.

I had a bit of a quandary when I found that the thing I was going to get for dinner was on a 3 for 2 offer. Did I buy one for £2 which was all I needed or take two more in case I need them while I am up in the Midlands? I got a few aisles away with three in my basket, turned back, replaced two, turned back and picked them up again. I decided that £4 for three evening meals instead of £6 was a good deal.

A similar quandary happened around porridge oats. I had forgotten to pack any and so picked up some lovely looking gluten and dairy free micro oat pots for 75p each, one for each morning. Further round, I saw a big bag of oats for 75p. It seemed a no brainer so I put back the pots. I can use a bowl in the airb&b and take my oats home with me. I already have plenty, but loving porridge as I do, they will get used.

Back at the car, I looked at the receipt, which I rarely do usually. The total seemed a bit steep- £10.35. I realised that the 3 for 2 offer hadn’t been applied. Oh god- could I be bothered to get back out into the cold, dark car park and walk all the way back into capitalist mecca and quibble over two pounds. I was tired. And hungry. But my Fiver Project head said Do It! And so I dragged myself back in the cold. And the thrill of seeing those two shiny pound coins going back in my purse was amazing. A completely unexpected feeling. Like I had made money from thin air. I was delighted!

But it struck me, as I continued driving, that not knowing why I had £15 in my wallet was a pretty damning insight into my financial attitude. My initial apathy about recovering my two hard-earned pounds from the clutches of the Tesco Mammon. And my internal fight about whether I steal the £15 from the project and use it separately. All very interesting. I am learning so much already.

In exciting news, my tiny little car made it all the way up here without even beeping at me about fuel. So no spend there yet. I am safely installed at the Airb&b. A lovely house with a great landlady and her young children plus other Airb&bers which meant an interesting evening of conversation at the table. An unexpected – and free – evening of socialising with interesting people. Let’s see then what tomorrow, a very sad day for me and my family saying a final goodbye to our patriarch, brings.


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