Mass redundancies, crunching credit and a housing market that's grinding to a halt. Tough times for us all - especially if you're trying to raise a family. The free papers I snatch when I occasionally brave the tube (not for the faint hearted, with Ginger plus pushchair), office and playground chat alike tell me all are tightening their belts.
But although we fear a direct hit, we three - let's call us Ginger, Thrifty Mum and Not-naturally-thrifty Dad - seem to have been in training for this era of shoe-string parenting for three hard years already. Ever since the NNT Dad (then a student) and I (on a modest museum salary) watched a little blue line appear on a pregnancy test back in late 2005.
It wasn't fashionable to be frugal back then but we've acquired all sorts of tricks to keep up appearances, enjoy this extraordinary thing called family life and spoil our son without breaking the bank. Sometimes the desire to splash out on shiny new mini-Boden kit, not to mention a sleep- and luxury-filled spa break has been almost unbearable. But we usually resist and overall we've had a ball.
I thought I'd use this blog to collect some of my money-saving thoughts together and hopefully share ideas with other thrifty parents. I know you're out there, and joining in this conversation won't cost you a penny!