Tag Archives: money

Poor Yet Rich – How Can It Be?

Some of the most incredible and precious, wise and strong, loyal and principled people on this planet are technically termed financially “poor”. Yet they are rich, wealthy in everything that matTers most.

Whereas there are some who have millions to their name, yet they are sometimes destitute in everything that matters. In fact, some of them are behaving in a manner that many of us would judge as wicked. You can draw your own conclusions about which person of “wealth” inspired that last sentence.

Do not be fooled – MATERIAL WEALTH IS NOT A SIGN OF TRUE SUCCESS – and for those who believe in a Creator, it is important that you are not mislead into thinking that material wealth is a sign of divine favour due to some righteousness on your part.

It is so important to have a balanced view of our own financial status and material possessions. Right now especially, when there is growing concern about paying household bills and the cost of living.

If you are feeling the pinch, take practical steps wherever possible to avoid unnecessary expenditure and be organized with your finances – budgets, simplifying, making sacrifices – they can all contribute to some relief from the pressure of a financial tightrope.

But please do focus on what it is that makes a man or woman truly successful. You can be rich, wealthy, in everything that matters most, you can endure and conquer. These hard times will pass. Life is not supposed to be about not knowing where your next meal will come from, and fear that you will lose your home. Soon these things will have passed.

In No Way Does This Qualify As A Need

Since I was a teenager, I have worked part-time in order to cover my bread and butter, in order for me to spend most of my time in my career as an unpaid volunteer. One of the questions that has helped me countless times over the years is:

Do I really NEED this…or do I simply WANT it?

Taking a double check has kept me in the black, and it has also meant that occasionally my savings build up to allow me to afford a little treat.

But there are times when something dazzles me….and even though I know it is not a need, I can’t stop thinking about it!

I am going to have to fall back on my second tactic that helps keep my spending in check…


Feeling The Pinch

I have seen many news reports about the cost of living in recent weeks. There is no doubt that some will be very anxious about this, especially if you have a family. I only have me to worry about, and in addition, I have lived on a modest part-time wage since I left school, I have never been able to contemplate large expenditures, it’s been all about earning my bread and butter since I can remember. I have not wanted the things or the lifestyle this commercial world was thrusting under my nose. I have considered myself as just camping until a much better system comes along – one that does not allow for these sickening extremes of wealth and poverty.

But I am sure there are parents out there who have a much more difficult situation than I do. Bringing up children, food, clothing, transport, utility bills, rent….the list goes on…and the prices go up.

Bicycle, Vintage, Street, Shop, Retro, Istanbul, Old

If you are feeling the pinch and becoming alarmed by increasing prices, please think shrewdly now. There are so many lessons we all need to learn about finances. There is a precious older generation who can impart great wisdom to us. Sometimes we have an excess of wages, and we can relax about these money saving tips. Other times, the excess disappears, and we are cutting it fine.

  • Discern true needs from wants
  • Use your food budget wisely – soups and casseroles with vegetables and grains are big money savers
  • Don’t “window-shop” on websites for clothes, gadgets etc. It can make unnecessary expenditure become harder to resist, and can make you feel sorry for yourself
  • Look after your clothes and furniture, and other costly items
  • Opt for free forms of recreation – walking in nature spots
  • Avoid debt and credit
  • Do not gamble in any form

I know that when we were little ones there were some very tough times financially. But my parents always made sure we had what we needed. But I know there were times that due to a tight budget, my Mumma ate porridge, while seeing us little ones have more variety in our diet.

Vegetables, Carrots, Garlic, Celery

I believe it is said that money is the cause of most arguments between couples, and within families. I can see how stress levels would rise when money runs short. Being strictly careful about how you spend your money may be tiresome, but it can lesson anxiety. Love is priceless. There are people who possess a ridiculous amount of wealth and yet do not have genuine love. So please strengthen the bonds in your family. Love is a powerful motivator and can help you endure difficulties. Change is ahead, but while there are troubles around you, think about what you need to sustain life each day.

“Better is a dish of vegetables where there is love, than a fattened bull where there is hatred.”


Remembering Retrospectively Reaps Rich Rewards

How do a window-cleaner and a nurse manage to feed and clothe seven children?  There were so many of us.  In our family everybody had little jobs to do.  We all had to help out from a young age.  Money was always going to be tight.  But what Mamma and Dadda could not provide in a material way, they more than made up for in imparting lessons for life…wise and healthy habits for a life-time.

pound coin

I still remember Dad training me to wash the car for the first time.  When he told me he wanted me to do it…I was chewing gum, I put one hand on my left hip and held out my right hand and demanded “fifty pence should do it!”  Dad glared at me.  He said, “this time you won’t receive a penny, partly because you have been cheeky and partly because I am going to help you so you know how to do it.  But from now it will be your job to do it every weekend and I will give you £1.”

Dadda managed to teach us some vital lessons about money.  Dad would buy chocolate and if we wanted to eat it, we had to buy it off him (paying a bit extra than the price he had bought it for).  Dad reasoned that if we wanted to buy it at a cheaper price, we would walk to the fifteen minutes to the local newsagents, which would go a long way undoing the damage of the chocolate we bought.  Without taking away our choices, he decided to make it a bit more difficult for us to eat rubbish.  Clever Dad – just one of his many clever little ways.

My sister did so much better than I did.  Mandy saved her pocket money and bought clothes and she looked after them very well.  I went through a stage of spending my pocket money on music and sweets.  Eventually I learn to do the same as Mandy (partly because she refused to lend me her lovely clothes!)…but it took me much longer to learn to be prudent with my pennies.  With guidance and training, I also learnt to look after what I owned because I would have to replace my own clothes when I ruined them.

Then there a lesson I will never forget…and looking back retrospectively, it makes me marvel at my Dad for being such a wise man.  It was my first summer with my own radio.  I loved listening to music.  Before I had my own radio, I used to take Dad’s car keys, climb into the car and turn the key just enough for the radio and electric items to work, without starting the engine.  I sat there listening to music for hours…and ran the car battery flat…I did it twice before Dad realized I would be better off with my own little radio.

radioOh how I loved my radio!  There was a daily competition which captured my youthful excitement and enthusiasm.  I think if you heard three specific songs in a row you had to call the number advertised and if you were caller 252 you won.  You would win £1000.  They gave away £1000 everyday.  I never did win, but when the phone bill came…OUCH OUCH OUCH!

Dad showed me the phone bill…I could not believe my eyes.  Pages and pages of me ringing the same phone number at a premium rate over and over.  I spent a lot of money on trying to win…around £400.  What did Dadda do?  What do you think he did?  I had to pay it back effectively by not receiving my pocket money for many many months.

This experience taught me never to gamble.  I still pull a face when anyone talks to me about buying lottery tickets, or playing bingo, or having a flutter…Nooooope!!!  Never liked the taste of any form of gambling since my bitter experience as a 13 year old.

Which is what Dad wanted.  He had big money troubles as a young man.  He became engrossed in horse-racing and other sports.  Lost a lot…won next to nothing.  He stopped gambling before he married my mum, but he still found it difficult to be strict with his pennies.  However, he managed, and I take my hat off to him for how well he did.

I wonder whether he was partly motivated by wanting to teach his children how to view money and what it can buy.  All his kids are fit and healthy and able to earn a living – and appreciate the lessons in life we received.  Retrospectively looking back on my childhoood…aaaaaah!…

Treasure Chest

…all of the lessons in life from my parents…I feel rich…I feel so immensely wealthy.  They have set me up for happiness on a vast scale.  I have a treasure chest of lessons from Mumma and Dadda that keep helping me take wise steps.

I have to admit, the more I put my retro-spectacles on and bring back into my mind the lessons in life Dadda and other family members taught me…I am full-up of love and appreciation and respect for the loveliest window-cleaner in England!  My  Dadda.

Wisdom is priceless.  Far more value than gold!


Overtime Is Sapping Me

worsI am struggling a little. I have worked around 60 hours each week throughout January. Now it looks as if that will continue throughout February, although I may be able to have a morning or an afternoon off here and there. In fact I found out a couple of days ago that I can have Thursday and Friday afternoon off. Yay!

It’s just that tiredness accrues. I had an amazing opportunity on Sunday. Because someone had come down with the flu, I was offered the chance to take their place at a function up in South Kensington. But that was a late night. Then a long shift of paid work on the Monday, doing tasks which are so dull. Yet those dull tasks require concentration, and the ability to deal with other people who are tired and perhaps irritable.

hsapAt the moment, I am in a paid job that I find monotonous at times. If it wasn’t for the lovely people I am working with and the nice patients (the difficult patients make me ask why I am there) I would struggle to motivate myself. I could tolerate it before because I was only doing about 17 hours of paid work. The time passed quickly and I gave work my full concentration and energy. But I have been doing just under forty hours of paid work every week of January. It’s really getting to me. My motivation is evaporating as my tiredness builds.

Do you know that feeling of waking up in the morning, dreading the monotony ahead? I try to keep myself entertained by thinking up short stories to write in response to one of the prompts I have seen.

Anyway…I am not the only person who has to spend hours in a job that is comparatively dull to the rest of one’s life. Money paying jobs are often dull. A few hours before I start work, I log into my inbox and the volunteer database and spend a couple of hours scheduling volunteers for projects across the country. During evenings there are phone calls to make if I am home. Other evenings I have to attend training sessions or community groups which I assist with. A lot of volunteer business is discussed over dinner. I am invited out for dinner a lot, but often it is because we are working on a project and have issues to settle. But there is always great chatter and laughs besides “business”.

Oh dear…the thought of a whole month ahead of these long weeks of dullness is sapping the energy out of me. I want my life back! I want to be able to spend my time more productively, more meaningfully, more rewardingly.

spriaAaaaah! I hope they hire someone else soon. I have March set in my mind. If they have not hired someone else by then, I will give my notice in and find some other part time work. I am not willing to work full-time for money. It’s joyless. There are so many other things I want to do with my life, my time. Earning money is not what I want to do with the majority of my time.  There are so many wonderful projects going on with the charities I work with. I want to be able to give as much of my time and energy to those.

Sigh. I think what gets to me is how a small number of our patients from the very outset try to belittle you. It shocks me how many insulting comments are fired at us. I am very sweet to people. The practice is very organised and all staff are conscientious. So when someone is dissatisfied with the service and they start ranting, it is demoralizing. Whereas the spirit on the volunteer projects I work on…well, it is a spirit of dignity and appreciation and kindness.

Don’t pay me too much attention – I am just missing my life, and looking forward to having my normal hours back.

Counting The Pennies

The adage featured for today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS is:

A fool and his money are soon parted

hosptMost people are interested in money to some extent. We all need some money. We need some money to afford shelter, food, clothing and perhaps medical costs etc. But people have widely different thoughts on how much money they need to cover the cost of those basic needs.

It is a good thing to have a little extra money so that you can show hospitality to others. That is a wonderful aspect of life. Generosity and hospitality are very desirable qualities and often help forge strong friendships with others. In addition to needs, people have wants, and for some their list of wants is a great deal longer than for others.

hwMy parents have taught me to cultivate qualities such as contentment, modesty, a simple lifestyle, recycling, repairing my belongings etc. That has helped me to live on a very small budget ever since I left home. I find it attractive in others when they live a modest lifestyle. I would recommend judicious use of material things and thoughtful care of one’s possessions.

However, all around us, we see people spending a lot of money on flashy, luxury items. If you could see the area I live in, well the houses, the cars, the pricey boutiques, the fine restaurants…people here seem to have a lot of spare cash! A big name in the music industry moved in to a house just round the corner. The papers said they spent over £15,000,000 on their new pad! Ay karumba! Apparently they have numerous properties all over the world, so they spent £15,000,000 on a spare house!

cousntWhat about the rest of us normal folk who have to check the price of things before we buy them? Well…many of us have had times when we have to watch the pennies carefully and times when we can be a bit more relaxed and have a bit of extra cash to enjoy.

There are three areas that I think can catch “a fool” out. They are:

  • advertising / peer pressure
  • credit / debt
  • get-quick rich schemes / gambling

Friends, colleagues or advertisers may bombard us with subtle or blatant claims that we need a certain product or even a whole way of life. Electronic devices, cars, kitchen cabinets, sportswear, holidays or all sorts of other items. Think of how many times you see or hear commercial adverts, or how many times someone tells you about something they have just spent their money on and recommends the same product to you.

yelwosEven television shows have great power. There was a television drama broadcast here in the UK within the last couple of years. The lead actress was seen in a bright yellow waterproof in the show. Sales of bright yellow waterproofs went through the roof here!

Celebrity endorsements are huge in advertising. Perhaps it is the fool who wants to wear a certain colour because their favourite pop star, sports player or actor is seen wearing it! (Sorry I am still laughing about all the celebrities running around in Sainsburys uniforms!)

codThen there are coffee shops as we know them today. The younger generation might not realize it, but before the television series “Friends”, we did not have coffee shops here in the UK. We had cafes. But after “Friends” became a hit show, Starbucks and all sorts of other coffee chains, with comfy seats and free wifi, sprang up on every high street.

Now, I am not complaining about coffee shops. But the influence from friends, advertisers and entertainment is enormous. A fool may try to keep up with the Jones, the Kardashians and every extra tweak Apple can think of. The fool might not realize that we all have to develop some resistance to the influences around us to spend, spend, spend!

American Express, Cards, CreditWhen I was in my late teens, I began to receive junk mail. Back then some companies would post a credit card out to me with a letter to say that if I wanted it, I just needed to start using the card. I had never asked for or applied for a credit card, they just sent it to me! I understand that financial companies have had to become more responsible in who they offer or extend credit to. Many people have ended up in serious trouble because they have taken on too much debt and have not been able to manage it.

One of my favourite and perhaps one of the wisest nuggets of advice on money ever penned is this one:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

– Wilkins Micawber (from Charles Dicken’s “David Copperfield“)

hasThis system loves to say “BUY NOW, PAY LATER”…when what they actually should say is, “BUY NOW, PAY MORE LATER”. Often that is what credit involves. Paying extra charges and interest. Your money will go further if you save and then spend, rather than spending and then having to pay extra in interest.

On the subject of debt. People might look as if they are doing well, but appearances can be deceptive. One of our neighbours was in the newspapers recently after being declared bankrupt. The media said our neighbour had £60,000,000 worth of debt and that banks had refused to extend any further credit.

pysaPyramid schemes, timeshares, get rich quick schemes – there have been so many scams! Often the fool falls for them because they get so excited about the idea of huge profits from a relatively small investment. Whereas, the wiser are aware that “IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS!” What makes people fall for the bait? Could it be a touch of greed? It sometimes seems as if there are bloggers on WordPress who seem to think that blogging is a “get rich quick” scheme. Well, I can’t say anything on that subject, I have never made a penny from blogging.

That brings me to gambling. What is it that attracts people to the notion of suddenly possessing a fortune without having to do any work for it? Could that involve some greed too?

saveMoney is a necessary tool. It is satisfying to go out and work with our own mental or physical abilities and to earn a fair wage. We know that we put time and effort in to earn that money. So we ought to use it wisely. After we have covered our basic needs, we should think about how we can use spare money to show hospitality to others and forge strong friendships. After that, we may find we have wants that will help us to enjoy life.

But don’t be a fool! Let money remain a tool. Do not become a slave to advertising, a slave to debt, or a slave to greed! Be wise! Be practical! Be content and be modest! Love life, love nature and love people. Don’t let money get in the way! The very best things in life are not those that can be bought with money.


This was my response to today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS:



What Is A Whoopsie?

I was telling a colleague about our insane tradition of shopping for “whoopsies” just before closing time on 24th December and before other bank holidays. My colleague asked me “What exactly is a whoopsie?”

I think we first heard the term when a huge ASDA supermarket was built in our hometown. It was the most exciting thing that ever happened (other than the memorable occasion when Sylvester McCoy – a previous Doctor Who – came to visit). That may sound like an exaggeration, but my home town truly had few worldly temptations other than the whoopsie aisle in the ASDA supermarket.

I recall that on the reduced price labels on ASDA products, it had the word “WHOOPS!”, which is why we called the reduced items whoopsies. Other supermarkets may not use this term, but to us, all reduced items are “whoopsies”.

Supermarket, Market, Grocery, StoreWe realized that if you nipped in shortly before closing time, they had dramatically reduced the price of many items. Loaves of bread would be reduced to just one penny! But it is very exciting when you reach the chilled aisles. All sorts of chilled items, hummus, dips, cream desserts, garlic bread, cakes, prepared vegetables, cheeses and meats would be a mere fraction of their original price. The price was reduced to a mere pittance so that they didn’t have to throw all of that food away.

As a family, we came to love the last minute whoopsie dash. Returning home with something special which we had bought for a steal became a source for boasting. When we all left home, well, I guess we lost interest in whoopsies. I live alone. I don’t often feel compelled to go and buy food I won’t have chance to eat.

IMG_20191227_205545.jpgHowever, one of the things I look forward to when I spend time with my family over the holidays is returning to our long lost but slightly insane tradition of shopping for whoopsies. Imagine you are a cashier in the local supermarket, when suddenly a group of around twenty people pour into the store and all head straight to the reduced item shelves. I don’t know what they must think of us!

Then we present our finds to the till and gloat over how much money we saved. This year was a goodan! It was all party food! What a feast we had!!!

It’s not just about the tiny amount of money we spent on food. It’s all about the fun. The whole family having a great time, exulting because we spent so little on our groceries. Yes, we might seem slightly insane. But all that matters is that we are a family with a lot of love, warmth, and fun. We do not waste money on decorations and gifts. We all work for charities – why would we subscribe to what this commercial system tells us to do? We just love being together and having a great time, on a shoestring budget.

I do love my family!!!


Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything

My Aunt Anne was a special lady…for a long time I was scared of her.  Who wouldn’t be when you saw her appearance?  She was a tall lady with flaming red hair and an eagle eye.  Intimidating through and through.  Aunt Anne had a habit of telling people off.  Not just children, adults too…grown men could be reduced to tears once they came under the scathing tongue of Aunt Anne..  She always knew best…and in all honesty I think we all knew that she really did know best.  Aunt Anne was a very special lady, one of the wisest, shrewdest and most prudent people I have ever known.

Aunt Anne took a close interest in my sisters and I during our teenage years.  I am so glad she did!  She seemed to know, I don’t know how, but she knew all of our deepest thoughts and feelings.  Such a discerning lady.  She took an interest in our plans and goals, our friends and the boys we had crushes on, she noticed what we talked about, what we spent our pocket money on. She could have run an intelligence agency because she picked up on all these details and came to frighteningly accurate conclusions (which of course she made sure she drew to the attention of our parents).

While I was a teenager, Aunt Anne saw something lurking inside me, something weighing my heart down.  She detected an unusual level of anxiety.  She probed me over it.  I was frightened.  It might sound silly but I was frightened by the cost of life in this world.  The cost of housing, the cost of utility bills, the cost of transport, the cost of clothing and food – it all seemed overwhelming.  I was a teenager and I did not have to bear those costs yet.  But I was looking ahead, worrying about tomorrow.  I looked ahead and thought I had no choice but to become enslaved to a company, chained to a desk, trapped in a job I despised…all just to be able to afford to be alive.

Aunt Anne subtly helped me to realize that I did have choices.  My habits and decisions would effect the cost of my lifestyle.  She taught me many practical tips.  She sat with me and trained me in developing a budget and how to decide what was really important to me.  She showed me how I could stretch my pennies and to make what I owned last longer.  She taught me about free fun…so rather than spending my leisure time visiting restaurants and cinemas and theatres, as often as I may have liked…I made those things very occasional treats and instead learnt to love the great outdoors, learnt to bake and invite friends over to my home instead of us all going out to eat.  I always ended up with a huge drinks collection when I hosted an evening for friends.

She taught me to glean enjoyment in life and creation.  From even the smallest delights…dewdrops on a spider’s web, the appearance of the first spring flowers…to revering the grandeur and majesty of mountains and sunsets.  She showed me their worth is immensely greater than anything money can buy.

I am grateful to Aunt Anne for helping me see that if I wanted to live within a balanced budget and avoid being enslaved by years of debt, I needed to change my attitude, my aspirations, my ambitions and to cultivate contentment.  (My parents were caring for seven children. There was no way they could supply our every whim and wish, so I think we had been helped to realize we could not always have what we wanted.  My parents also helped us see that we needed to be willing to share and to see that everyone of the family was important and none should be demanding more than the rest.  Life is so much sweeter when you are able to share and think about what you can do for others.)

Sharing sweets

One very practical piece of advice she passed on to me was “Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything”.

Now Aunt Anne used that advice in reference to things, possessions.  But as soon as she uttered those words, they rang true to me in so many other avenues.  Perhaps they do with you also.

Her words have swum around my mind on many occasions…especially when I was involved in a new project with a new group of people or making a new start…everywhere I have been I have told myself:

  • Expect Nothing….don’t be disappointed by having unrealistic expectations.  Work and give without thinking of what you want to get out of it.  Show the kind of love that does not require reciprocation.
  • Appreciate Everything…every time someone does something nice, even the littlest  kind gesture, make sure you show gratitude.  Look after what and who is in your life, show how much they mean to you.  Count your bounteous blessings!

I have found that by heeding the sage advice of Aunt Anne I have never really had worries.  I have felt richer than I ever imagined.  I have avoided debt.  I have travelled to many countries because people I met and worked with asked me to go and visit them, I have had adequate accommodation in some very beautiful locations which I have cared for and kept clean. I truly have had far more than I have ever needed.

As for people…well, I have found that life is rich – rich with people whom I love and who love me.  I am convinced that my treasure of life experiences, memories and friends has been accrued partly because I followed Aunt Anne’s wise words: EXPECT NOTHING…APPRECIATE EVERYTHING.

Thank you


Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community More are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day One of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Mark has recently completed this challenge himself.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.



• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Expect Nothing….Appreciate Everything” 


My nominees are:




I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Have fun!

I have one more day of the challenge to complete, one more post, one more quote…I have been working on it…one more to come…it is another weepie.