Just last weekend, we were living it up on the Sunshine Coast, thanks to the lovely peeps at Atlantis Marcoola Resort, who put us up in a very swish, super comfortable apartment overlooking the ocean.
For a couple of moments there, I forgot I was broke, and occasionally threw caution to the wind.
Pizza for dinner? Why not! Hiring a tinny for a couple of hours? I don't mind if I do.
It was when I was trying to phone the boat hire place to let them know we were stuck in the middle of the Maroochy River, that I realised my financial situation was more dire than I had thought.
Not enough credit on my mobile. Fine, I'd recharge it. Except that both my credit card, and my debit card, were declined.
Luckily, the boat hire dude spotted us floating helplessly in the water (turns out neither Mr 10 nor I had enough muscles to pull the anchor up. D'oh), and we were towed back to shore. Just a little embarassing.
On the way home, two exhausted but happy kids slept, while I puzzled how my bank account had diminished so dramatically.
Having the kids full-time but only being paid maintenance for part-time care didn't help. (I did ask their father to consider allowing me access to money we have in the bank - it's two to sign - but I won't tell you what he said. Yes, I know I can go through the CSA for help, and I will, but I'd hoped to avoid all that).
Shelling out for new school uniforms and winter clothes wasn't cheap, even though we shop at op shops and chain stores wherever we can.
Then we had all been sick, which meant doctor's visits and medications, some of which aren't on the PBS. (Thank goodness our GP bulkbills the kids).
And let's see, there's rent, car rego and insurance all due.
Oh, and did I mention the electricity and water? Yeah that's gonna hurt.
And so it was that there was no money left in my purse or in my bank account. And there wouldn't be until Thursday.
(I was not even going to think about how that would barely cover the groceries, let alone the bills, I just focused on getting from A to B.)
Miss 10 desperately needed a new pair of school shoes. I scrounged together $10 in the ash try in the car - magic money, a bonus! And thanks to the magic of K-Mart we walked out with a new pair of comfy school shoes. Thank God for K-Mart!
Another $8 or so was in coins at the bottom of my handbag. That bought bread and milk.
Luckily, we'd been to the markets a few days earlier, so had stocked up on fruit and vegies then.
Then I hit the pantry and freezer. Luckily, I usually buy staples when they're on special. It's an affliction I get form my Dad, but this time, it served me well.
There was meat - and more bread - in the freezer, plus some leftover Japanese Curry and lasagne I'd frozen a few weeks early.
In the pantry, we had apple juice, tinned fruit, tinned spaghetti, pasta and noodles.
It's all pretty much been used up now. Which makes me feel good, because there's nothing getting wasted in the cupboards, but yes, the knowledge is there that I'll have to replace at least some of it.
Everything possible was made from scratch. I even rustled up honey joys and weetbix slice one morning for the kids, as quick fillers for the lunch box. I know they're sweet, but so are muesli bars, and at least I get some carbs into Mr 10 that way.
There was no money for tuck-shop, but I managed to find a few more coins down the back of the lounge. That gave them .50 cents each for an ice-block one day, and a slush puppy after school on Treat Thursday. (I didn't want the kids to go completely without, and I don't want them worrying about money.)
So that was how we managed to get through the week without money.
In my younger days, I would have found magic money in other handbags or winter coats. I don't really go out much these days, so it wasn't worth even looking.
Now I have kids, it's the car ashtray, the couch, and the bottom of my handbag.
Readers does magic money exist at your place, and where's the best place to look?
(Disclosure: No kids' money boxes were harmed in the making of this post).
A little more of this would have been nice ...but we'll need some more Magic Money for that!