I Don't Know How I Do It

Daily Mail (London), December 8, 2011 | Go to article overview

I Don't Know How I Do It


Byline: Lorraine Candy

THE Candy spreadsheet of doom made an unwelcome reappearance this week. I knew it would after I'd watched the Chancellor's Autumn Statement (not to be confused with the BBC's Autumn Watch, which is much more uplifting but also involves squirrelling things away).

'Here we go,' I thought. Now George has put the kibosh on Christmas, my husband will be printing out his gloomy Incoming Versus Outgoing chart faster than you can say: 'Mince pie for breakfast? Don't mind if I do'.

For just as I know Mr C will start muttering 'just put another jumper on' when temperatures drop, I can also predict he'll produce this numerical nightmare for us to consult as we go about our festive business.

Bulk-buying is the moneysaving diktat of the moment. I'm all for this if he's talking puppies, gin or chocolate hobnobs, but he's talking necessities.

This does, of course, make sense for a family of six. However, we live in a small house. Our kitchen currently looks like a scene from a documentary about an obsessive compulsive family that hasn't thrown anything away since the industrial revolution. There are stacks of '400 for the price of 10' loo rolls piled up everywhere, and I've had to put all the tins of spaghetti hoops in the back of the car to make space for the dog to sit down.

It doesn't help that each time this complicated spreadsheet is explained to me, I'm catapulted back to my school days when I spent most maths lessons outside the classroom, having been banished for talking.

So, inevitably, I find these grownup financial shenanigans tortuous and sit quietly in the manner of one half of Dumb and Dumber, as my seven-year-old says.

I had to wait for Mr Candy to go off and reuse a tea bag before asking my nine-year-old to talk me through the difference between gross and net again. Angela Merkel I am not.

Like many working couples, my husband and I have very different attitudes to spending. He's the man with a detailed graph of spend, I am the woman who still writes her cashpoint number on a post-it and sticks it on the card. While I started earning my own money at 14 and have been happily spending it minutes after it's landed in my bank account ever since, Mr Candy has a measured, long-term approach. …

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