Friday, 13 April 2012

Food finance

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are learning how to manage a household budget.

Or, making the sums work between four people, a house, a hamster, a notebook lust, a secondhand bookshop addiction, the garden, all trips, outings, visits, memberships of everywhere, the bottle shop, and running a car. Phew, the car! Fuel, costing the price it does!

Because what if I die? Someone's got to take charge and organise things. Better Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, rather than daddy Dig, quite frankly. Otherwise you'll all enjoy a plate of computer bits for tea.

This week, we are focusing on savings we might make to our food bill. So far we have brought this down to a daily budget of ten pounds, which puts food on the table to feed four people. It has gone well for the time we have run the tenner system, and we haven't felt particularly deprived. We have enjoyed some pleasant meals, indeed!

But now Shark suggests we should experiment and see if we can manage on a daily budget of five pounds.

Hmm. I am not sure. That looks a bit grim. I am not given naturally to making myself suffer.

But, as always, Shark's idea provides an educational opportunity. It could be the start of some real practical lessons in finance. Such as:

1. Obfuscate. I shall create another food budget called Social Dining. I can shuffle over to that any expenditure on food eaten outside the house. Maybe I could also create more budgets called Mobile Eating and Party Food. Creating more than one budget headline, redistributing the costs, and redefining a bowl of porridge as Party Food is an excellent way to meet the five-pound target.

2. Interpret. As far as I read the household budget in place, we count food 'on the table'. Then reasonably, if I stand away from the table to consume the smoked salmon, it is technically not on the table and I should get away with it.

3. Deny. Here's a plan. I pass Squirrel the purse and make her pay the check-out lady. Then I deny knowledge of the transaction details. If Shark asks, I can say that Squirrel took the decision and I was merely following her wishes.

4. Plan. Yes, the budget can be moved between days! Spend less today; move cash over for tomorrow. This means I can also borrow against Friday for today, then move the remaining money back again. Not called cheating.

5. Give to charity. Tiger is looking peaky. She is a charitable cause for dinner. I can supply food aid. It takes the form of baked salmon, raspberry mousse, and a bottle of Pouilly Fume. It's not my fault she won't eat it, but I can give it a good home.

6. Declare a dividend. I can set up a fund by which I own shares in the budget, but I exempt myself from all daily trading transactions. Then tomorrow I declare a dividend! I pay myself fifty quid. That is perfectly legal and I totally defend it.

There. I should be able to stick to my normal modest food expenditure, not suffer further, and provide the griblets today with practical lessons in household finance; teaching them to be prepared when they enter the Tory heartless lands of tomorrow.


sharon said...

Student food! House specialty - Lentil Surprise, as in diners to provide their own surprise ;-)

Irene said...

Soon you will be eating crusts of bread and only drinking water. Than you can live on even less money. Anything is possible. Where does it end?