Victoria B on 26 July 2020

Yesterday was very emotional. I had a friendly phone call from an old family friend. A lady who's known me since I was a kid, she's like a grandma to me, my kids call her auntie. I love her and I know she loves me too. She's the only person from my past whom I still trust, the only person who has my phone number as I know she'd never give us away to my ex or family. She's the closest to family I have. We were chatting nicely, she was filling me in on her various family members and their very upper middle class struggles, it was refreshing to know some people's biggest struggles are over flowers or missing the farmers market, etc. Things that seem crazy luxury to me but that is very normal for most people apparently. It was also humbling to learn about some of her family members who's health is worrisome: it doesn't matter how much money one has if their health is forefit. Well my son came to me while I was on the phone, saying he was hungry. She's rung me before I could eat my lunch, so I offered it to little man who loudly shocked me by saying "I am hungry mummy but I can't remember when I last saw you eat, you must eat mummy, I can wait." He's five. At five he shouldn't need to worry about such things, about me, though of course I'm proud of him for his empathy and kindness (and I did persuade him to take my lunch anyway as he's a growing lad). He didn't notice I was on the phone when he came through, and I didn't mute the call whileni talked incase he wanted to say hello. It was very embarrassing for this family friend to hear my lad say what he said. No fault of my lads, just me feeling ashamed. She's a very upper middle class lady, she's very kind and generous and has sent us money before to get treats for the kiddies or help with emergencies, but I hate feeling indebted to her. She's not a bad woman, very sympathic, just she has limited experience of our situation. But she is very kind. I just don't want to need help. If that makes sense. She was crying when I got back on the phone, after tending to littleman, and asked to send me money. I said I couldn't accept cos I was too ashamed of needing such handout. So we talked about other things again. After a while she said she wanted to send me money for a new fridge freezer, she knew my current one to be old and small from past visits. Her logic was if I have a bigger freezer then I'll have more space to bulk buy meat and veg to store longer. She said she had to help me somehow and she thought it might be a good way as it'll enable me to have more options when food shopping (alot of people miss how much food shopping is effected by storage options). It's a good compromise, she isn't sending me money out of pity but with a practical purpose, which helps me feel less pathetic. So I'm going to get a new fridge freezer, twice the size of my current one. I'm actually really excited, silly as that sounds. It'll arrive mid August. It'll mean I can buy and freeze more options. I might be able to get a monthly box from local butcher, cheaper than supermarket but I didn't do before as I couldn't store so much meat for such a long period of time. Sounds silly but it's amazing the little things that can effect a budget. When on benefits we must often take what we can get, the fridge freezer I got when I moved in was a freebie from a local charity, which I'm grateful for as we had literally nothing back then, just some clothes and toys. We built our home comforts up slowly, through kindness and careful budget. But we had to go with the cheapest of everything and freebies where possible. And it was great when we could shop around for bargains and go out every week for cheaper foods. Long term storage wasn't a factor then. Now I get paid monthly and I have to make it last. Having twice the freezer space I have now will enable me to store twice the food options, which will help save money and help provide more nutrition for kiddies. I've gone through my budget and predicted I'll have saved about £20-30 per month on food (plus possible electric savings as current fridge freezer is a energy rating of C but new one of A+), but I'll know for sure in a month or so. Silly things that excite us, hey. Its also got a built in water dispenser, which saves me buying a filter jug and should encourage my kiddies to drink more water. Feels like a huge luxury.

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