nicotine & multimedia…

belle_and_sebastian_-_if_you27re_feeling_sinister“nicotine & multimedia makes up for the shortcomings of being poor”

Poverty Challenge Day 2. I was applying ashes at the Ash wednesday service. I think I got a bit over enthusiastic and couldn’t help laughing as I walked back down the isle to see all thes people with huge black marks on their foreheads. Pub was good, great chat with Rob as ever (he bought me a pint and only wanted a half in return. He is a lightweight but I am not complaining!)

But I have found the first thing that I really don’t like about this challenge. It is really hard to be generous. Someone asks me for money, and I think – you must be joking. Met up with a collegue today and I would usually buy them coffee – but not today.

Living frugally is good, but failing to be generous is just not nice. I guess that thinking about money all the time seems a bit shabby too. I guess I am hugely priviledged that most of the time I don’t have to think about money. I don’t spend a great deal, but I have enough for what I want.

General overspend today though. Had a meeting in town, and Central London is just an all round expensive experience. Walked in to save the bus fare.

Having friends round tonight so that should be nice, not to mention inexpensive. I plan is to catch up on some movies over the next few weeks too – I never have time to watch videos… Lend me your DVD’s!

2 thoughts on “nicotine & multimedia…

  1. I think Lent started on Wednesday Steve – so either you started early, or you are in trouble! Enjoying your diary, thanks mate.
    Glad you liked the Belle & Sebastian reference

  2. Day 2 and 3 – 10th and 11th February

    Hmm, I think I might be doing things in a very different way to everyone else. Why? Well it’s not lunchtime on day 3 and here’s the progress so far:

    Amount spent on food £9.50

    Which is sort of good but that is just for 3 lunches. I can get toast and fruit free at work as well as tea of coffee. And if you work late dinner gets thrown in as well. Which means on this front there’s been precious little cut-backs. My small concession today was that when I was passing through Victoria station at lunchtime I went across the road to Benjy’s rather than buy the hideously over-priced food in the station itself. I’d forgotten how marvellous Benjy’s was and think I will have to force myself down there more often during Lent. It’s so cheap I treated myself to a do-nut as well (Hey it was just 65p!)

    Amount spent on coffee £1.60

    Believe me this is an achievement in itself. Although our new office now has a filter coffee machine and our canteen is across the road. This combined has shaved a considerable amount of the budget. Laziness is a marvellous driver of behaviour. But really felt it this morning when travelling to client meeting and didn’t get a coffee en route. Granted got one in the meeting but that was instant. I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I’m making here people!

    What’s really interesting is, as Mark says, it’s forcing me to think about where do I actually spend my money? Slightly scary how much I spend without thinking about it. For example, by making sandwiches and not getting that Latte I could have spent half the amount above. And if I’d followed my usual routine I’d have wasted even more on caffeinated products and slightly posher station forecourt food because I couldn’t be bothered crossing the road. Have I really become so London-ished that this message so far has been all about sandwich shops and coffee bars? My parents would be appalled, but probably not surprised.

    But here’s the really weird bit, while work is saving me loads in coffee, bread, milk, fruit and some meals it’s costing me in whole different ways. That’s why I think this is quite bizarre as my expenditure so far is not exactly typical of the average person on minimum wage. Mind you it is making me realise where my money is going. Here’s how the work costs break down:

    Dry cleaning suit £7.50

    Never though about the price before but essentially I can eat for three days on that! Again it’s right beside the station so am I paying more for that?

    Travel £34.40

    And there’s the killer. About 2/3 of my expenditure so far is for work – on a cab and a train journey. Now I know I can claim it back but I had to pay cash for the taxi and so until my expenses come through that money is gone from the bank. And so this morning I made a conscious effort to put it on the credit card. Now I have to make sure I get the expense claim in before the credit card company comes knocking and so stay on the game.

    Again, I’d never thought about it but is a vast chuck of my expenditure work related (and indeed on coffee while travelling)? How much exactly have I got in unclaimed expenses?

    And there is still one great unknown – how much do I spend when I go out in central London. Hmm, this is the one that’s scaring me. I’m meeting up with some old work friends tonight and I’ve got £8 in real coins to last until Sunday (Sunday is week 2 right?). How far will that go in Covent Garden? What will it feel like not standing my round? How long can you nurse a £3.50 pint for before getting silly looks? Still it’ll be such bizarre behaviour it’ll give me a chance to explain a bit about what I’m doing to my friends.

    And it should keep me in top nick for football training tomorrow. At least that’s free!

    P.S. Good album choice Mark! How long before Track 1 becomes the BBC Athletics theme tune?

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