Wednesday, 9 January 2008

No Pay Day

Per BBC Breakfast this morning, today is No Pay Day; the day when 40% of the British run out of money and have to rely on credit to survive until they're paid at the end of January.

Lord, how I remember that situation! That was me a decade or so ago. We'd get paid before Christmas and have to survive until the 27th of January (Six. Whole. Weeks!) before we were paid again.

February was the worst month, though, because February was when all the payments hit that had been delayed from January: all the bills that hadn't been paid (because they couldn't be paid in January - no money); the money that had been "borrowed" and had to be put back into other pots; etc, etc. I used to have to pay everything, too, in those days - I never got a penny in housekeeping or towards the bills from my ex-husband. Dumbo believed that what was his money was his money and my money was his also.

It was during one, very tough February (in 1991) that Dumbo and I survived on the contents of the Larder and £25 of groceries. At about that time, I discovered one of my favourite recipe books: How to Feed Your Family on £4 a Day by Bernadine Lawrence. (Note: There is an updated £5 a day version, which contains corrections to the few errors in the earlier edition.) That book was the start of my frugal education.

I'd like to say that what saved me from repeated No Pay Days was better budgeting (and eventually getting some money from Dumbo each month), but in reality it was changing jobs to a company that didn't pay early at Christmas. I couldn't fall into the pitfall of spending all my money for January before Christmas, because I didn't get any. More than anything else, that broke the habit.

- Pam


amy said...

What?! I'm sorry, I completely don't understand. Do companies pay early to "help" at Christmas? What a crazy scheme this sounds like.

PipneyJane said...

Strange as it may seem, yes, a lot of British companies do pay December's salary before Christmas. It's "tradition".

I think there are two reasons why:-

1) the majority of British companies are closed between Christmas and New Year (it comes out of your annual leave entitlement); and,

2) most employees are paid monthly. In the days before, automated bank payments, the payroll had to be processed before the Christmas shut-down.

DH has worked for a company where they used to pay in cash on a weekly basis, but that is very rare. (The insurance alone would be prohibitive.) They swapped to monthly direct deposits a decade ago.

- Pam

amy said...

Thanks for the explanation. I can see how the temptation to use the money for Christmas must be nearly overwhelming. I used to waitress and get most of my pay in cash. You learn pretty quickly that you'd better budget or you'll be scrambling at the end of the month.