This morning I went for a walk before stopping off at the post office; the last best hope locally for cash as we can’t have nice things like cash points in villages without the likes of Tesco. I had checked my bank balance over the last couple of days since doing my shopping on Wednesday to see if the debit card payment had cleared. Even though I’m not particularly stupid I find keeping track of card payments a pain given how each interaction can take its own sweet time to clear, regardless of venue. It seemed I had about £24 more than I thought – quids in! I had even considered going to town (not cheap on the bus at all). I treated myself to a baguette and a caramel slice yesterday from my good fortune!
After about five minutes I suddenly realised why I had that extra money – that was next week’s shopping budget. Had I gone out today, on top of yesterday’s culinary extravagance, I would have spent a few quid I would likely have irreversibly spent money better off saved.
This is how easy it is to make a mistake accounting on benefits. Fortunately for me I have relatively few expenses and can make a few quid last a bit longer even if it means foregoing expensive bakery luxuries. Had I spent money today it would have come from my rainy day amount which, if I ever really needed it, would soon disappear.
A simple oversight based on a fortnight’s money like this could be a lot more catastrophic for someone with more expenses, perhaps from dependents or caring responsibilities. This can only be made much worse when Universal Credit comes in; fortnightly payments will be made monthly. This is something that people like Iain Duncan Smith and his attack dogs will never understand.