I can’t bank on it …

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

Chaplin sees no problem with relying on a halogen heater

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 …

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4 thoughts on “I can’t bank on it …

  1. unemployedhack – I’m sorry these days are going to be a struggle – but I do so wish that they return the rest of your money back. My husband and I are in the same boat as you… so poor that it feels that we are under house arrest – and yes, the worry (and for us, the shame of our situation) is draining. It is comforting to know that somebody else out there understands and shares this pain.

    • Thank you for your comment. If I’ve learned anything from blogging it’s that people can be very kind. It’s true that far too many of us are struggling now and the injustice of it shocks me every day. I wouldn’t, though, feel any shame were I you. Many millions are in this situation due to decreasing wages, increasing cost of living, mass unemployment, hiked energy prices as private companies reap profits … and the many other challenges we face. I know the “house arrest” feeling all too well and would recommend finding yourself a really good book that might, albeit temporarily, take your mind off things: it’s my next plan.

      • I’m sure you will appreciate libraries for all the free reading more than you ever have! Buying books is such an expensive habit, but one that’s easy to justify when you’re on a full-time income. Plus, for most of us, it’s not that many books that we read more than once. The library is the way to go, employed or not!

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