So I’m eating beans and toast for lunch, again, for the third time this week. It’s either that or a tin of soup, again. But to jazz it up a little, I’ve learnt that a lamb samosa goes a mighty, long way. It’s a bit of a weird combination, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it – trust me. My little experiment worked. “Excellent”, she says whilst tenting her fingers together like Mr Burns (I had no idea that that was the word for it either).
I really thought I’d left my student days behind me. Sort of. In fact, I don’t even remember having to eat beans and toast at uni – EVER! Hard times, eh?
In fact, I filled out a small survey about the seven social classes in the UK, and the BBC so kindly informed me that I was part of the emergent service workers. This group is “a new, young, urban group which is relatively poor but has high social and cultural capital”. I’m second from the bottom (curses, I should’ve listened to those who warned me about getting a job in the media), but I’m highly cultural… and social… so… meh.
But anyway, I digress. Wouldn’t you say that beans, toast and a samosa is an ingenious way to save money, which would only then be spent on highly social and cultural things, like… I don’t know – what DO I dooooo????!!
Well, never fear. This week, is a bloomin’ good week. This week I can treat myself. This week I can march right on down to glorious Whitecross Street, with its aromatic smells of food from all over the world, and order a £6 venison burger from a stall, because I earned it, dammit!
“Well, why?” I hear you ask. Well, my dear friend, it’s that time of the month again. Not the ‘bad’ time of the month that shall not be named, but the pleasurable kind that is welcomed by females and males alike – payday is coming *choir ‘ahhhs’ heavenly and harmoniously in the background*!!!
It has such a melodious ring to it, doesn’t it? Payday. Hooray for payday. It’s that golden pot at the end of the rainbow, fellas. Hey you guys – I’ve struck gold! And the crowd goes wild, as the man in my head shouts: “Get in there, my son!” I’ve received the golden ticket! I will go past go! I will collect £200! And the Milky Bars are on me!!!
I’ve been waiting for this moment to come for a very long time… ok so maybe just about a month. I can picture it now, all in slow motion. My name is called. I swivel my chair around to see that I’m greeted with a steely, reluctant smile and a purple envelope marked ‘private and confidential’ with my name on it. I prise the envelope out of the person’s hand while smiling.
Then as they walk away I rip the payslip open like an excited kid at Christmas.
My eyes are drawn to ‘Amount’. I shriek with ecstasy and relief. ‘YESSSSSSS,’ I scream in my head, ‘I now have mon-ay!!!!!!!’ I then do a little dance:
Then my eyes are drawn to the section entitled ‘Deductions’. Great, Student Loan has already had a little bite from my pie. Oh wait, then there’s tax and NIC. Fantastic.
Then I’m filled with dread. I need to save money for that deposit on a house, which seems like an ever-increasing elusive illusion. But there’s travel costs, living costs, bills, etc. and the list goes on and on and on until it suddenly dawns on me that I’ll hardly see any of this. Then I sigh, bang my head on the table and get back to work.
Yep, that’s pretty much how it’ll go on payday, as it does every month. And then I’ll just about manage to stretch it out until the next payday, and on and on this vicious cycle goes.
There’s this guy at work, who eats muesli with water and raisins. Muesli with water and raisins – who DOES that??!! And he swears blind that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. He ‘ummmmmms’ and ‘ahhhhhhhs’ as he eats it, makes some other weird noises and says it’s “incredible”. I accepted his challenge to taste it for myself, which I regretted as soon as I put the spoon in my mouth. It tasted like wet cardboard!
“No, no,” he says, “you have to put more raisins in it.”
“No – you’re so kind, but I think I’ll pass, thanks,” I reply, as I wonder if I should actually swallow this ungodly thing. Who knows what it’s doing to my body and if my tongue can be nursed back to care after this horrific, traumatic experience?
Although I’m beginning to believe that he genuinely loves this ‘lunch’, because he seems a bit strange like that, I also think he’s doing this to save money.
So what do you guys scrimp and save on? How has it worked out for you? Do you have any tips? If it’s lunch, then what low-budget food do you eat?