The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time said Willem de Kooning and couldn’t be more accurate. Job-searching, worrying, constant money-watching, it’s all time-consuming.
I worked hard this fortnight not to overspend by even a penny. I didn’t buy that extra loaf. I didn’t have any treats at the weekend (apart from a Double Decker). I turned down invitations to a night out (paid for by friends) so as not to risk spending any money at all on a round or a cab home
Now my bank plunge me back into poverty and I have to go through the tedious complaints system.
The bank – for reasons known only to it – decided to take £30 in “unpaid direct debit fees”. It then – for reasons known only to it – decided to refund the unpaid direct debit fees calling it an error on my bank statement.
Thing is, they only put back £15.
Just to be clear, I wasn’t overdrawn and no Direct Debit payments had been refused or were even due when the money was taken.
I have, of course, written to the bank and complained but will now have to wait and have no guarantee of my money being returned. I can’t be certain they won’t decide it was another form of fee or interest and, to be blunt, I have no energy to keep fighting them.
This means I can’t top-up the gas meter as I had intended, so Chaplin and I will spend our evenings huddled around the halogen heater. I had hoped I could to treat myself to a bottle of wine this weekend. I’d thought I had some control over my finances, knowing exactly what I had in my account and what needed to be paid.
I don’t gamble with my meagre income, but the way the banks gamble with our money continuing with the attitude that got us into this global economic crisis, leaves us all struggling.
I go without food. I go without heating. I go without going out. I desperately try to control my money. Still, it seems I have little control over anything anymore.
How much money I have: £18.11
How much I thought I had: £33.11
What I’ve taken off the shopping list: Gas, wine, cat food, curry paste …