Thrifty Living: In with horse shampoo, out with hot trousers

God, it's hard to whittle down debt. It's almost as grim as dieting. And it's the first weekend of a long month. However, I stop thinking about the £47,000 elephant in my living room via instant gratification, by visiting my Other Bank. My Other Bank is a financial institution in a land far, far away from Debtland. In it is a clutch of secret accounts. They have standing orders. Weekly standing orders. They have personal identities. Mr Tax and Ms VAT are two. Nanny Tax is another. Rainy Day is a fourth. Effectively, they are the Four Horsemen of Financial Recovery and exist to protect me from things arriving via the post and hitting me in the financial solar plexus. Even the experts say they are the way forward.

"Each time you make a savings deposit, you will be backing away from the edge, and that feels so good," writes Mary Hunt in The Complete Cheapskate, my current favourite read. Mary Hunt is America's female answer to the wondrous Alvin Hall. She offers thrift tips both from the crashingly obvious (try state schools for your children rather than forking out for ruinously expensive private education), to the bizarre (Orvus horse shampoo will bring your "holiday sweater" back to shop-fresh softness). These gems are woven thorough an array of financial case studies that all resolve in a life of happiness and credit. (Apart from one scary paragraph, which kicks off by admitting, "Some financial situations are beyond repair.")

Anyway, according to Mary, I have acquired a "life-changing tool", thanks to my secret accounts. Looking at them renders me a bit internet-Scrooge, I know, but I have faith that these life-changers will save me from the taxman. Or, indeed, the nanny's taxman. Our lovely nanny, from whom I'm forever cadging fivers (well, actually, twenties) has more spending money than I do. She's constantly popping out to Waitrose to buy top-up groceries. I can't possibly ask her not to. It's just too embarrassing.

"You can only stop your nanny buying posh food by planning all your meals right through the week," says my mate, the gorgeous Rachel, who is coincidentally also staring a £12,000 overdraft in the eye. She urges me to sit down every Sunday night and make a meal plan. I tell her about thrift queen Laura and her four separate meals from a chicken, and her latest, which is four separate meals from a lamb. "Wow. How does she manage that?" asks Rachel, with the sort of vocal thrill we used to use for discussing hot trousers at Topshop, or hot dates at the youth club. What has happened to us? We are now all facing 40 and the unspeakable prospect of being overdrawn all our lives. Something has to give, and that is hot trousers at Topshop. "Roast it with lentils," I say. "Then mince the remainder and use for spag bol one day and lasagne the next. Finally, use the rest of it to make meatballs. Apparently there is a good recipe in Nigella." We both fall about at the idea of Mrs Saatchi grappling with a debt of £47,000, but then everything is relative.

I tell her about The Complete Cheapskate. "Have you tried flylady.com?", asks Rachel, referring to the cult life-organisation website.

I click on to flylady.com and I'm plunged into a whirl of advice on stain removal, tidy hallways and getting dressed in the morning. Everything involves a lot of Post-it notes. Clearly, life learning is the new black and flylady herself a zillionaire. I then spend the next five minutes in a spin of despondence, wishing I had thought of flylady.com, or indeed, had written The Complete Cheapskate. My mother calls, full of the joys of spring. Well, if I'd just spent a week in Morocco within sight of the High Atlas, I'd be chirpy. "There's a whole thing about Britain's bargain boom in the papers, darling," she says. "Looks as if everyone is following your advice and shopping at Leedle." It's Lidl, I tell her, sulking. I read the article. I then look at my e-mails, which consist of various urgent missives from my French banker, Yves, who tells me I am still credit interdit, and one from flylady.com, which advises me to go and sort my laundry.

Rosie's thrifty tip: We are officially in spring. You can therefore treat taxis with disdain.

cashl@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Administrator

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a vibrant and establishe...

    Recruitment Genius: Payments Advisor

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Repayments Advis...

    Recruitment Genius: Investment Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of financ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you looking to take your ...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests