Penneys logo on glass above shop door

Look After The Penneys …

The cash machine says no - and it's six days to pay day!

You know that scene in the movie.

Silly old Daddy has lost the plot and all the family’s cash, and the kids are about to be repossessed …. youngest child, behind the sofa, listening to him and his wife arguing, pops his cute little moppet head up, and looking from one to the other, doe eyes all a-glisten, asks:

“Are we gonna be poor now, Mommy and Daddy, are we, huh … Mommy and Daddy …?

The violins swell and there’s a sheen on Daddy’s eyes too as he softly grips Sonny’s little shoulders, and lies sincerely: “No, son, we’re not going to poor … everything will be all right, you’ll see …”

Okay, I can’t name the movie … I might even have made it all up.

In my head anyway, the scene takes place in a plush living room that would fit your whole house and garden easily, and you know that poor is a very relative word.

Especially in mainstream Hollywood movies.

But we can still relate to the basic premise.

Or at least I can.

And sometimes it’s a little closer to home than I’d like.

We’ve just come off a really expensive Christmas, which lasted about six minutes … okay, we spent the money, nobody made us do it … and then our daughter had a January birthday.

Now I’m not getting into our financial situation, but let’s just say there is a bit of a juggling act goes on with our bank account every month, like a lot of people … outgoings and incomings, correlating, more or less …

And sometimes things get a little out of sync …

That overdraft limit gets reached earlier than anticipated …

And you are asking the guy next to you in work, “But what time on Thursday does our money go in … like, exactly? …”

My wife and I are both paid monthly, and my money goes in a week before her’s. So my money covers that critical seven days.mmm

More or less.

Now I’m freelance and while it’s steady enough, some months are better than others.

My wife has the steady job, so her numbers are the ones that really light up that bank balance like the old Madame La Rue pinball, as Tom Waits puts in his brilliant live version of the old Red Sovine weepie, Big Joe and Phantom 309

So this time around it all happened earlier than ever … the ATM told me to get stuffed, more or less … and even the credit card fall-back was about to burn up on re-entry … if I had it with me anyway.

So there I am in a nearby town, and I go to the cash machine to get money for a new phone charger for myself, and two for the kids’ iPhones … SuperValu have these really good ones for €5, much cheaper than for my Huawei … and the screen tells me we have €20 in our account …

It’s six days to go before my monthly cash comes in …

I take out the twenty and, numb, I head for Supervalu … I have to get the kids’ chargers anyway …

Now it’s all about choices … some things I must forget about for now. Like my new phone charger.

My wife and I will have to confer later on tackling this period of negative equity.

The shopping centre is filling up now, and has been totally reframed in my head … now it’s a place of opulence and opportunity, for those with money … for me, it’s like having my nose pressed against a series of shop windows, knowing I can’t go in.

Except to SuperValu, where I get the kids’ chargers and the basics for dinner, and I go to the automatic check-out.

I’m out the door and walking and everyone in this walled in shopping Mecca seems salubrious … solvent anyway …browsing and impulse purchasing away … while Mr Cash-Frozen here, isn’t … he’s just glad he had downloaded enough credit to his bus card to get home.

With his chargers, chicken fillets and garden peas.

I’m messing with my own head, of course, and I catch myself in the distance in the vast mirror that makes up one entire wall of a cute little coffee dock. A mirror to make the place look big, and me feel small.

I look at my reflection objectively: ‘Does he look like he has no money in the bank … a bit shifty, nervous, maybe … can people tell …?’

Then I remember, ‘You didn’t pick up your change at that check-out, did you? …

It was just short of €2 …

Back I go, hoping it’s still there … watching that Supervalu sign getting closer and closer …

The change isn’t at the machine I used, but the woman with the cash bags knows what I’m after and counts out the exact amount …€1.85 …

‘It all counts,’ I joke mirthlessly to her …’I might as well get it as Supervalu …’

She agrees with a professional smile.

I pass a branch of Penneys, the well-known Irish clothes retailers.

The large neon ‘Penneys’ sign over the door is beaming out messages to me now.

‘Penney’s’ has become a statement … like, ‘You are penny-wise but pound – or rather euro-foolish … that’s why you are broke …’

And that old saw, ‘Look after the pennies and the euros will look after themselves …’ has wormed its way into my addled mind.

Oh, Christ, let me out of here!

So, I’m out the door, and I see my bus ahead, half-way down the main street.

‘You’ve missed that too … loser!’ says my annoying inner voice …

The stop is all the way down the far end of the street.

No chance of catching it, and the next one won’t be for half an hour …

Hold on, the traffic has slowed up and the bus has stalled … can I make it?

My hamstrings whine, ‘there’s no way we’re going to let you run, if you are even thinking about it ’…

A fast walk, maybe?

And then it speeds up and is soon past the stop anyway.


The next bus eventually pulls up.

It’s the new model, single-decker.

Brilliant! The one with the charging docks on the back of each seat.

If I had a charger …

Yes, poor is relative … we are nowhere near it, I know, and I am well aware that my mind was only really playing with the idea.

It was a tight month was all and we are well back on track.

We may never be rich, but we will not know real poverty either.

But in these days of easy credit, it’s maybe timely to note that a bit of care is called for!

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed what you have just read, try another one! Follow my blog and you won’t miss out again.

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

DIY Daddy

Shank You Very Much

Mix It Up Linky

Shank You Very Much


The Mum Conundrum

45 comments on “Look After The Penneys …

  1. oh the irony of the bus having charging docks! The simple truth is I bet there are a lot of people out there waiting for January payday, you are not alone. I’m not a squanderer but I don’t like penny pinching either. I also think that all births should be banned in January!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel your pain. January was tough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s a thought. Our dear old queen has an official birthday in June, as the weather is allegedly better then than in April (her real one) for the celebrations. Maybe you could do that for K, to spread the cost? Tell her she can eat in January if she makes the change 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked this one — maybe because I can relate to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, it’s good that things are more or less back in order. Financial distress is no joke. Take care.

    Neil Scheinin

    Liked by 1 person

  6. January is tough and hubby and I had the conversation in the last week of the month about taking it easy. I always wonder how so many other people appear so opulent. What do we do wrong? Hubby blames the kids 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, while I never wish these scenarios on anyone, it is always comforting to know that others out there are doing the same balancing act as me and my husband. This was a nice little (entertaining) reminder to keep things in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As my nan always said to me some people have more then you and others have less then you. Just being appreciate I think is more rewarding as I have learnt as I have gotten older X #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tracey Carr

    I just love this post! I can identify with every single part of it – the anxiety when you have realised the full extent of the spending madness that you engaged in over Christmas. I said to my husband the day after New Year’s “I have a feeling this is going to be bad when we sit down to look at the accounts”. And it was. I can smile now but neither of us were at the time. Oh yes January has been a dry month for us – bread and water for the last four weeks. Now things are starting to look a little greener! And you know what the worst thing is? We will probably do it all over again next December! Fantastic stuff Enda #globalblogging


    • Thank you so much, Tracey. So easy to overdo it at Christmas and pay the price later! Like January! You are absolutely right … we’ll do it all again next December’ …yikes!😵😀


  10. I think, Enda, you have described my life! No, can’t claim poverty but money is tough at the moment. I am watching every penny. I’d have gone back for my EU1.85. Sterling is so weak now you could live like a king on that if you went over the border!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think money is tight for most families at the moment. And the same was true for my parents when they were starting out as a couple and then family. We are making repayments for our bigger car, most of Chris’ wages go on the mortgage, last year we had to pay for our wedding. But most luxuries are still in place and we have the capacity to make cuts (worried about Brexit though….) Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s a tough month January we have pulled back it’s no fun but gotta be done Thanks for linking to #Thatfridaylinky hope to see you next week

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think we all felt the pinch last month, with a particularly bad run for me and my redundancy running out, it made life very difficult. However, a smart move here and there meant we finally got to payday and I even convinced a client to increase her hours! Thank god this is a shorter month!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I so feel your pain, you are definitely not alone. I think most people have to take care with their money, it’s easy to find yourself in an emergency and realizing you are not able to climb back out. And you’re right, we may not live in real poverty, but it can feel that way when living in a community of others who seem to have more. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, we love in an aspirational age, where the temptation is put before us to compare ourselves to the better off, not the ones struggling.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Bloody January! I’m very similar in the times when cash is tight I see everyone else in the shops as dressed in their opulent finery going home to dine on their golden table and diamond encrusted knives and forks!! #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: #DreamTeam link up 144… | Shank You Very Much

  17. Lucy At Home

    Yes reading this felt horribly familiar. As you say – it’s a monthly game of balancing and shifting accounts around and making priorities. My husband and I use the phrase “One day…” to each other – one day it won’t be like this, one day we’ll be on top of things. It’s probably naive optimism, but isn’t that what we all need from time to time?! I hope you managed to get your charger now! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually I didn’t need a new charger: a really good guy in Vodafone cleared out the micro debris from the charger connection, and it’s been fine since! And yes, we can but dream of one day being on top of the cash situation!! Lol


  18. Yes, one day we’ll sort it all out … when the mortgage is finished .. when the kids are working .. when there are pigs on the wing. Nah, we gotta stay calm and it will be fine. Thanks LUCY


  19. Hi, Very Good Article. I really appreciate it. Well researched article. Now you got one regular visitor to your website for new topics. Keep up the Good Work Thanks for always sharing. Nicole Graham

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Karen Dennis

    January is long gone and February is more than half way through, roll on the spring and summer #,blogginggoodtime@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  21. So stressful when you have to watch your pennies! Glad you weathered the worst of the storm. In our family, all 5 of us have birthdays within 3 weeks of Christmas. There have been many stressful Januaries for just that reason!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. mackenzieglanville

    Why to we spend so much over Christmas? I know we end up feeling the pinch, for us the kids start the new school year at the beginning of Feb and we have to outlay the thousands for that and every year we scrape through, knowing that we are choosing there education over holidays and experiences that we too wish we could give them. It seems a lot of their friends afford school and holidays and I know the kids wonder why we have less, but still we are blessed with children who are grateful for even the small things. Sometimes at the shops I feel down thinking of all the things I’d love to spend on, but really none of that would actually make me happier, like you we will (hopefully) never know true poverty and I am so thankful for that! Thanks for linking up with #ABloggingGoodTime


    • Yeah Christmas can be such a Still expensive time followed by bleak Januaries!!! We’re still along way from poor though. Thanks Mackenzie


  23. Hi, Very Good Article. it. The whole article is wonderful and very helpful. Keep up the Good Work Thanks for always sharing.
    Basharat Ahmad

    Unique Web Studio, LLC

    Liked by 1 person

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