Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Juggling Act

 


You are always doing things” 
This is a common remark I have received on line and in person and it is a comment that is occasionally caveated with the borderline and vaguely unpleasant thought or question of…
How can you afford it?”

I run a car and a home on a budget. 
True I have a pension , but I still have to work full time in a job which pays much less than rates in the NHS to keep my head above water.

Out of the blue, bills have to be carefully managed.
Nearly a year ago my affable chimney sweep declared my chimney unsafe. The liner had tarred up due to me burning dodgy wood which was originally advertised as being kiln dried and now needs replacing. 
The bill will be around a thousand pounds and it has taken me ten months of saving to get that amount put aside in readiness for winter. 
Today I booked the heating engineer to review it.
That was satisfying ! 

Thank goodness Bluebell passed her recent MOT without needing any expensive tinkering but I have put aside money for her service next month. Without her I am scuppered.

The dogs are insured and their healthcare is guaranteed, but I still have to pay a chunk of their treatment costs. It took me 9 months to pay off George’s vet bills that I incurred before his death. Sadly he was not insured as the others were.

But you are always going to the theatre and London ? 

I’ve been accused of being frivolous before. 
But I am careful. I book single named journeys by rail which are always off peak and always in advance which saves me money and generally I book the cheap seats at a theatre or a bargain room in a hotel, something covid has helped me with over the last year.
My two tickets to the Royal Ballet next year were 40 £…how good was that?

But I do put my hands up…guilty as charged, when it comes to nice things for home. I bought that bowl yesterday on a whim and the art wall in the kitchen wasn’t all cheap but I live with a grotty bathroom, watch a child sized television and only own one really nice pair of shoes and one natty jacket which is accessorised by one dark pair of pants and one light….covering me now for most occasions .
Weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s and funerals.

I still buy fresh flowers every week and I pay for my sister to do my garden and so I’m not pretending I’m Bob Cratchit just yet 
But I’ve very aware that when I’m let down by a broken cinema screen and have to pay petrol to drive all the way there and back, I get annoyed I have wasted money
it’s just like with everyone else in this expensive world …..paying to live, and not just to exist ,remains a bit of a juggling act.
Especially when you are single 

122 comments:

  1. My question is Why the hell not! You're not a nun! I recently gave up driving and I miss it dreadfully. I
    I love reading about your trips and the enjoyment you get from them and the items you buy for your wall.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's very obvious that you are careful and I think you do a great balancing act.
    In the end, you might as well make memories because money in the bank has limited use

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At some stage my house will need to be sold , I have a mortgage until I’m 71

      Delete
    2. I must be doomed I bought a new house with a 30-year mortgage when I was 62 , then refinanced 10 years later to get a lower interest rate. My original mortgage payoff age of 92 was replaced by a new 30-year morthahe with a lower interest rate. If no one comes along to buy my house, it will be paid off when I am 102. I am not even kidding.

      I should live so long.

      Delete
    3. Gordon3:40 am

      That is just an indication of unethical banking practices.

      Delete
  3. And it's nobody else's business how you live and spend your money anyway. I'm sure lots of us budget not just for bills, but for things that make us happy, by being extra careful and doing some things on the cheap, to save a bit. You do a grand job, John. x

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous12:03 pm

    I suspect this post was written as a reply to my deleted comment of yesterday.
    You cannot tell me that in your divorce to a much wealthier and senior academic that you didn't get a large financial chunk of his savings and his pension?
    This Cinderella act makes me sick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see why you’re anonymous….you are truly a vindictive bitch.

      Delete
    2. Sigh.......
      Yes anon, my reply is aimed directly at you, even though I don't owe anyone ANY explanation
      Yesterday's comment smacked of passive aggression, Today's is just nasty and totally incorrect.
      I recieved no money or pension payback from my ex in my divorce.
      I had to pay him for me to keep the cottage but that's non of your buisness
      Never presume you are right, you've made an ass out of yourself

      Delete
    3. I'm off to see Dune
      The ticket cost me £4.99

      Delete
    4. Well don't bloody read it then, Anon!

      Delete
    5. What makes me sick is people like you, always having to put people down. All John is doing is living his life as he sees fit, which is all anyone can do. People like you also rarely put their name to their vile comments, how cowardly and perhaps you can't receive what you so readily dish out.
      Apologies John, I rarely comment but that annoyed me. You have had your fair share of ups and downs in recent years, which you've bravely been honest about and you far from deserve those types of comments. Your blog is a balm to many, myself included, your life is interesting in many ways and for me not a bit of it is about how you spend your money. What you do with your money is your business and no one else's.

      Delete
    6. If John's blog "makes you sick" why don't you take your spite and vitriol elsewhere? No one asked you to be here or to read this blog!

      Delete
    7. I want to see Dune! x

      Delete
  5. I think you do really well. One of the things I notice is that you cook everything from scratch and this is a huge saving. As I am CEV I have been stuck at home for the last 19 months - no meeting up with friends, no theatre, no cinema - but I really enjoy hearing what other people have been up to. Keep on having as much fun as you possibly can.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You can't take it with you! You work hard and deserve some treats. I am surprised anyone would question that. It's your life and your business. I am sure that most of us agree that we love to read about your outings and purchases. You only live once.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wouldn't mind an expansion on why you work for a private care company that pays a lesser wage than the NHS. You seem well qualified to work anywhere.

    Anon a couple of comments above sounds like a really nice person, not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hospices can set their own rates of pay and work rules.generally they pay lower rates than the hospital trusts

      Delete
  8. I had an uncle who lived the single life for years, and spent many afternoons at the local pub playing cards and eating Corn Nuts with a few friends. His sister once commented that the money he spent there could be better spent. ‘If I want I can spend all my money on ladies of the night and cheap wine.’ Even at the age of 12 I knew that was a great come back.

    ReplyDelete
  9. John, you don't owe anybody an explanation for any of this. I can't fathom why anyone would even bother to question how another person lives their life. Each to their own, I say.

    You have a lovely home, a job, a car, food on the table, well looked after pets. It's a credit to you after the setbacks you've suffered and a little frivolity in life is great for overall well being. Do whatever you like with your money - enjoy it and to hell with nitpickers.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's called budgeting. You do a damn good job of it John love and really don't need to justify to anyone what you choose to spend your hard earned cash on.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Why should you justify and explain how you live?
    We all only have one life, the vast majority of us have to juggle and save and even with being careful there is always that unknown expensive 'bombshell' around the corner.
    You can't spend it when you are gone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I admire your determination to get out there and have a life! At the end of the day, memories and friends are worth more than penny-pinching.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I admire you John-You work in a Hospice which must bring to mind that life is for living to the full-and not just sitting indoors xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is a reason people do anonymous replies to blogs. They want to get into other people's business without anyone knowing what total bitches they are. It is no one's business but yours how you spend your money. I love reading your blog and your honesty about how life really is like for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There used to be a popular 'Frugal' blogger who, anonymously, used to post nasty comments on other bloggers posts. I think she (oops, I mean 'they') may still follow John, don't quote me though as I'm just being an armchair psychoanalyst ;o). The fact that the nasty comment(s) the person left are financial ones kind of leads me to that conclusion.
      I've been reading/lurking blogs for many many years because I love knowing people and their lives. I rarely comment tho, which is lazy of me I know x

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. No it's not the blogger you outline she has been nothing but courteous and a positive influence on going gently

      Delete
    4. I should not have posted speculation publicly. I apologize to both John and the blogger.

      Delete
  15. Keep it up John. I love reading about your trips, outings and lovely purchases. No one's business but your own. Have fun.

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  16. You don’t have to justify what you spend your money on John it’s nobody else’s business. If anyone made you feel that you should then shame on them.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's your money, well-earned, and if you choose to blow thousands on something that makes you happy, it's no-one else's business. Don't let the bastards grind you down! xx

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  18. A person that criticizes others is trying to relieve a rotten-ness in their own lives.



























































    ReplyDelete
  19. I think it is important to budget for the things you want. I have not struggled since when I was first divorced. Now, I am able to live comfortably. It is easier when I am single because I usually am attracted to those that don't pay their fair share.

    These days I am budgeting for a retirement. Not that I am anxious to retire. I just like having the option if needed.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my. I would never EVER comment on someone's financial status! My mother taught me better. If someone ever asked her an inappropriate question, she would simply reply, "Why do you need to know that?" I adore reading about your comings and goings, and theatre and shows! Keep it up, live it up! Your writing inspires me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some commentators feel it is their right to not only comment but to tell me my own motivations and thoughts…it’s always baffled me, though I’m not angry about it now as I used to be

      Delete
  21. Anonymous1:06 pm

    Someone who writes good comments like the anonymous idiot above, usually suffers from a very severe case of jealousy.
    Keep up the blog John. I for one love it.
    Tish.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous1:10 pm

    I suspect that anon up above had to make a large payout at the end of their divorce. No excuse for their comments of course, but a possible explanation of their bitterness. So glad you are making a good life for your self, John, and sharing it with us.

    A completely different anonymous reader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome aboard , next time please leave a name

      Delete
  23. What you do with your money is your business and no one else's. But 'pants' John? Pants? Goodness, trousers please!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I don't think I would have written an explanation for any Anon person.
    "None of Your Bloody Business" would have been enough

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tracy1:14 pm

    Everybody deserves treats and most people cut back where they can so that they can afford them. Life, like a good meal, benefits from a little seasoning!

    ReplyDelete
  26. So you choose your pets (also family), your family and friends, and a bit of culture to keep you motivated to do a job most people would run from, and still take responsibility for your bills etc. People (anon) can be very jealous of the success of responsible adults, when they may be too careless to have as stellar of results. Those who care know how hard it has been for you to get to where you are and have nothing less than total respect for you and so glad to see you have more joy in your life again.Ranee (MN) USA

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's really none of anon's fucking business what you do with your money. You're an adult, you spending your money as you see fit. Full stop.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I rarely comment, but I have to agree with others - nobody else’s business how you spend your money. If Anon was a regular reader of your blog they would know that you struggled to keep the cottage after your divorce. I’m sure my friends think I’m a skinflint because I only buy secondhand clothes, cook everything from scratch, refuse to have a Sky TV subscription but I prefer to do this and work fewer hours.

    I llike eating out - I will save for a (set price lunchtime) meal at a Michelin starred restaurant. Life is for living, and I love reading about how you live yours.

    I love reading about your life

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  29. Ditto to all of the above positive comments.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Take no notice John you do a stressful job and deserve nice things and to make memories do not explain yourself it's your life

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  31. I hope no one has asked you how you afford anything it is none of their bloody business it does tick me off, that people think that others dont save for things. *steps off the soap box*
    I am sure I seem frivolous to others as I have the dogs (my furbabies) and we each have cars, albeit very old cars 2006 reg. We have recently greatly downsized and were actually asked my someone in the village how we could afford to live here! ha ha sod of nosy bint!
    You carry on John, life needs bits and pieces and things to look forward to. Else what is the point?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm astonished anyone--even anonymously--would think it their business. In the term Personal Finances, the key word is personal. Where did we lose that concept, I wonder? --Elise

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  33. I'm sorry you felt you had to defend yourself to snarky commenters. I'm impressed, however, by your defense and modus operandi. Shut them up and carry on, carry on.

    ReplyDelete
  34. It is your life, John, and you manage it very well so do what you want! xx

    ReplyDelete
  35. Barbara Anne2:52 pm

    Seems to me it is your life, your money, your interests, and your home so it's jolly well your choice how you spend your time and money!
    Enjoy yourself and ignore the naysayers who are certainly envious.

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sounds to me like you're managing it very well. We all need the occasional splurge! What is motivating your hostile anonymous commenter? It's a mystery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:07 pm

      Mental illness or a sore asshole

      Love

      Big Gay Rob xx

      Delete
    2. You are a funny sausage Rob

      Delete
  37. No need to defend yourself. I enjoy theatre and the opera (in non-COVID times) and splurge because it makes me feel alive. I understand other people would rather have a new car every 3 years. C'est la vie.
    Bonnie in Minneapolis

    ReplyDelete
  38. Blogger ate my comment, do what makes you happy, it is your life, your home,your hard earned money.

    ReplyDelete
  39. In my opinion, you do not have to explain your choices to anyone. Be happy and do as you like. For the naysayers, let them complain and criticize somewhere else!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Agree with Susan above John - how you spend your money is your affair - I think you have an enjoyable and interesting life - and you well deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. hooray for you...organizing your life so that the wants and needs are taken care of ! I'm impressed!

    ReplyDelete
  42. You don't have to justify your life choices to anyone John. Especially on your blog.
    You manage your life well, and we all prioritise things in order to have enjoyment as well as just trying to exist.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I am sorry you felt the need to justify yourself. Your life, your business. No one elses! XXXXX

    ReplyDelete
  44. Anonymous5:05 pm

    My my
    What a storm in a teacup.
    I see your sycophants are out in force John.
    Free speech is alive and well but not, alas, in blog land.
    I don't believe you when you say you bought your Professor out. But I suspect you lie a great deal after all you often admit that you add colour to your blog entries

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well it’s got everyone talking that’s for sure
      Just got back after watching the fantastic DUNE
      That’s the BEST £4.99 I’ve spent in a long time.
      Anon,
      I couldn’t give a flying fuck what you believe , I just find it bizarre they you keep coming back to read and comment more.
      Off to choir shortly
      Hey ho

      Delete
    2. Boo boo6:52 pm

      no one needs a crystal ball to know who the disturbed one is

      Delete
    3. Well said Boo boo !

      Delete
    4. I Don’t think it’s her

      Delete
    5. No...not vitriolic enough.

      Jo in Auckland

      Delete
  45. Anonymous5:52 pm

    miss Bren..Why doesn't this anonymous git get lost. Perhaps someone should point her/him in the direction of the nearest counselling service they sure as hell
    need it.
    Bren.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I can understand someone disagreeing with views expressed by others. Of course I understand that as I do it myself but to state that you “don’t believe” what someone says about what they choose share about their divorce settlement! On what basis does one disbelieve?

    Good post JG - it is your life, your money. Your work bloody hard for it (think about spending that long in PPE!), and you have fab taste in art, though not T shirts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol how very dare u , I love my t shirts x

      Delete
    2. Didn’t say you didn’t love them! Xxx

      Delete
  47. It twists and turns constantly-unable to find peace within themselves-getting an energy of sorts harassing for a very short time-alas it doesn't last long-clearly a Desperate person x

    ReplyDelete
  48. Anonymous7:49 pm

    I love reading your blog, love reading about your pursuit of little pleasures - the things that make life worth living. As a lifelong "worker bee", I sometimes forget to do nice things for myself and you remind me. Mimi

    ReplyDelete
  49. Just settling down after choir . I’m watching Bake off
    Happy days x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara Anne8:32 pm

      What bliss! Enjoy!!

      Hugs!

      Delete
  50. It's no one's business what you do or spend money on! I think someone is jealous! You kindly share much about your life because that is the nature of blogs. We all care because we are your friends. Anyone that questions how you spend your money or what you do is not worth the breath or brain cells to respond to!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hard not to respond to those anonymous comments! You do as you wish with your money and enjoy yourself. Viv

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was less a reply more a chat about self care and budgeting

      Delete
  52. We need to take comfort where we can in this life, it's no one's business but yours how you do that.Lovely things in a home make a difference, enjoy!
    -Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I make some of my life public , so I need to accept that fact x

      Delete
  53. I’m just happy you have a pension! They are rare in the US and mostly you get a tax penalty if you access them before being pretty elderly (65?). I’m like you, to keep my house I’ll have to work to age 78! Luckily I can work from home. It’s fun to hear your doings and it makes your readers happy. Keep seeking beauty and joy!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Patty9:31 pm

    In this age of identity theft, online scams etc, there is no way I would be publishing so much personal information in an open forum. But that's just me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’ve not publicised anything personal patty im at a loss

      Delete
    2. Yes be careful John, random people might start paying your bills for you 😉

      Delete
    3. I do often gasp at how much you reveal John, not thinking of any danger of identity theft but just, well, because it makes me gasp, including the things you seem to say about presumably real people who could presumably identify themselves; and anyone and everyone who visits the blog knowing exactly where you live and work and... like I say, it makes me gasp. But, like so many others have said today, what you do is entirely up to you, especially what you do with your money (although that does also make me gasp, not at the value but at the multiplicity. Myself and my lady buy pretty much nothing other than food and drink and sufficient clothes to stay warm and legal. being minimalists by choice. I suppose that explains our investment balance, and our bare walls...). Anyway, I look forward to the next addition to the perpetually allegedly "complete" art wall.

      Delete
    4. You seem to be gasping an awful lot

      Delete
    5. Are you still working on your book to let the whole world gasp? :)

      Delete
  55. You don’t need to justify any of it John. I admire so much the way you balance your books. You work very hard, you have made a beautiful home by managing your money and you enjoy your leisure time with your friends and family. Nuff said !!!!! XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I don’t have to justify anything but in a public forum I felt I needed to reply xx

      Delete
  56. You're right, it's much harder when you are single - keep juggling, John x
    Had to have my lovely old Turb put to sleep today, so may be missing for a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry Charlotte-hold Turb close to you in your heart xx

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Flis...I will

      Delete
  57. Yorkshire Liz10:24 pm

    I for one am happy to be a John Grey sycophant. Better than snide sniping from someone clearly with their own problems they pathetically like to take out on other people. Let's see if this poor deluded soul could walk a mile in your shoes, is be a hospice nurse for even a day, and see if they would still be so superior and judgmental


    ReplyDelete
  58. Well I always love to read about your various purchases and outings. To me, your treats to yourself seem very well deserved, and suggest you have a deep sense of self-worth.

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  59. From one who has been broke most of my working life, I say "Good for YOU!" Life is short and there are too few opportunities to enjoy oneself at bargain prices. Take them and enjoy them! Ruth in Oxnard CA USA

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  60. You don't have to make any explanations or apologies for how you choose to spend your money. It is no one's business but yours. Be like Mary Poppins, "I never explain anything!"

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  61. You've stirred the hornets nest here.

    ReplyDelete
  62. My gosh. What ugliness. Who even cares what anonymous thinks about how you handle your money? I hope you don't. You're living your life and balancing your books, and there is no need to justify that. Anonymous is a meddlesome busybody. Ignore, ignore, ignore!

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  63. Oh dear it's all been said before, life is for living I tend to think work to live, rather than live to work spend on what ever makes you happy, nothing better than going out and broadening your horizons.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I hate it that you feel you should have to explain your finances. I also wonder how you do many of the things you do... but more in amazement of your ability to make money stretch further than I can ever do. I guess a lot of this comes down to priorities. Also living in NZ most things are very expensive as we do not have the competition that you in the UK do. We don't have a B and Q, carpet isn't cheap, lamb is really expensive and train travel in outer north Auckland is non existent. I love the things you do with your money; but they are things that you do, I am not arty, I don't like the theatre, I don't like the ballet, I don't have old friends I catch up with and my ability to access Europe is non existent. I have cats not dogs and the differences keep mounting. Our expenses are very different and are for different things. I follow your blog for those differences and love all that you do and enjoy the changes you make to your cottage, and I admire your working ethics. Just be you John Gray... it's what you do the very very best.

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  65. Who is anyone to question you like that? None of their business!!!!

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  66. I've come late to the party, as usual. Frankly you are an example to those of us who are on a budget, and I for one love the balance you strike between common sense and well-deserved treats. I think you make life better for everyone around you, including your animals. Jxx

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  67. Often, it's not how much money one makes but how well one manages it that makes the difference. I saw that again and again when I was in banking. Households where monthly incomes were well above the poverty line mortgaged to the hilt and the checking account often overdrawn were more commonplace than I would have guessed before my banking chapter. Other customers who never had more than a few bob to rub together, managed to pay everything on time, never bounce a check, and were on the whole, far more content.

    We had a few people make jibes at us when they perceived we had some secret cash stash. I found it hilarious since they made easily twice what we made. I also found it sad that they were so jealous.

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  68. I read your blog because of the way you write and make the humdrum everyday things interesting and funny, as well as the more exciting things . Not sure why anyone reads them is invested in how you spend your money .

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  69. You come into this world with nothing and you leave this world with nothing. You sir, are ahead of a lot of people and have a life many envy. Please keep taking us on your adventures!

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  70. F**L them all. You only live once and it’s none of their business. I come here for a break from the f’ed up American politics “Let’s go Brandon!”
    You and I are on different political pages. I care about that not at all.
    You do you, as my teenager says.
    You owe noone an explanation

    ReplyDelete
  71. I really love reading your posts and I cannot believe that you have had to justify your lifestyle. It upto you what you spend your money on. You seem such a lovely person who has been dealt a not very good hand in these past years but who has come through the other end as a stronger person and needs to be congratulated rather than asked to jusfity their life. Keep doing what you are doing and live your life as you wish.

    ReplyDelete
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I love all comments Except abusive ones from arseholes