The decorating Banks banish January debt blues

With their second child’s birth only a matter of weeks away, Ollie Banks and his wife Lizzie are in the DIY store so she can decide on what colour the nursery’s to be painted. For Ollie, it’s a voyage of discovery through the imagination of marketing teams who think of names for shades offered by the leading paint companies – but then he uses his own imagination to paint an entirely different picture…

“I would never have dreamed there could be so many names for beige. Look, there’s one here called Hamsterbreath!,” said Ollie, looking at the ranks of paint tins on the DIY superstore shelves.

His wife Lizzie, in the final weeks of her pregnancy and more than ready for it to be over, screwed his eyes shut and said: “I’ve told you a thousand times. None of these shades are beige. They’re all neutrals, and they are practical and fashionable, and we’ll be having some of them in the nursery because they’re soothing. They’re miles better than the blue we tried a few months ago – and I bet you’re making it up about Hamsterbreath. ”

“I’m not!” he said, holding out the tin for inspection. “Look; Hamsterbreath.” Her eyes narrowed as she gave him her stern look, which threw him onto the defensive. “No, no, not you. I wasn’t calling you hamsterbreath. It’s the name of the paint colour. I was just reading it from the tin.” She wasn’t convinced until she’d read it for herself, but still raised one eyebrow and pursed her lips. Ollie turned the debate away from the names of paint colours. “Are you sure it’s going to be OK for me to do this painting? You know I’m not very good at DIY. If we got a little man to do it the finish would be such a lot better…”

Solo Expenses: The trump card
Wordlessly, Lizzie fumbled in her bag and brought out her phone, flicking onto her
Solo Expenses expense management app and turning it towards him. “Show me on here where we have the money to spend on getting a little man in. Or a big man, or a woman, for that matter. When it comes to decorating we’ve already got the best we can afford, and it’s you, buster, so get used to it. Because I’ve been using Solo Expenses – it was your idea, remember – to keep control of our spending for these last few months, not only are we debt-free, but we have enough money to decorate the nursery in time for the baby to arrive next month, so long as you do the work.

No post-Christmas debt for the Banks family
“And I think that’s a pretty good achievement, considering this is the worst month of the year for lots of people’s finances. We haven’t even got to the January payday yet, but we’re not in debt, like so many of our friends.”

expense-managementIt was a good achievement, and Ollie knew it. He quickly thought back to the previous Christmas, before he’d discovered Solo Expenses, and the time when he would have freely admitted he was useless as an expense manager. “Can’t argue with that,” he said. “Without Solo Expenses I’d still be rubbish at money management – but we’d probably be getting a little man in to do the work.”

Lizzie was firm. “A little man we could ill-afford. We’d be over our heads in debt, and getting a little man in would just make it worse. We’d constantly be worrying about our debts, and that’s no atmosphere to bring a child into. This is supposed to be a happy time, and because we’re committed to the principle of money management apps in general, and Solo Expenses in particular, we don’t have money worries, so we can enjoy being new parents again. You must remember how good it was when Alice was born?”

Ollie remembers
Ollie did remember, and thought of the sleep he’d lost in the early weeks, and how Alice, as a newborn baby, had been sick on his best suit. And he remembered the infamous Nappy Incident, and shuddered. After a moment, he smiled and reached for his phone, and his thumb started working on the screen.

“Are you looking at Solo Expenses too?,” Lizzie wanted to know. “No,” said Ollie. “I was thinking back to when Alice was born, and how Grandad Ron helped to paint her bedroom. I bet he’d be up for it again, and Grandma Lorna could play with Alice while I help him, and you could put your feet up for a bit.”

Before she could reply, he held up his hand towards her, palm forward. “You said it yourself. We already have the best we can afford. You just didn’t realise it was Grandad Ron, which means we can get a little man in without spending any money. How’s that for expense management? Now then; if you don’t want mousebreath, what colour is it to be, Mrs Banks?”