The reason I never have two pennies to rub together is because the moment money hits my pocket (or indeed sometimes before it does) I am planning ways to spend it. My main expenditure has always been holidays. Before I had my boys we would plan exotic jaunts to powder white beaches, diving beneath azure blue waves to chase multicoloured fishes, or chic city breaks where I could flex my credit card on foreign fashion and killer cocktails. Since having children my sights have been lowered, but sadly the costs have not fallen in line with the quality of holiday.
For the past few years we have decamped for a family trip to Florida, taking in the tacky delights of Disneyworld and making sandcastles on the vast, empty beaches. The weather was warm, the food was cheap, the characters fluffy and the shopping abundant - everyone was a winner.
But this year we, like so many others, have been credit crunched, and rather than our usual long haul trip we are going to Wales. Oh how the mighty are fallen. I recall childhood holidays with my Welsh aunt, lurking in her gloomy living room as rain lashed on the windows and the TV refused to speak English or shivering as my toes turned blue while I paddled in the icey sea. These are not happy memories, so why am I taking my children back to the scene of the crime?
Blame a combination of nostalgia, which served to rose tint my recollections, wiping out those sand filled sandwiches and windswept route marches along the clifftops, replacing them with frolics in sun drenched meadows and ice cream slurped in a race against the sun's warmth, and a recent delightful return to the land of my fathers, where we basked in luxury on a press freebie to Bluestone in Pembrokeshire and glorious, unseasonal sunshine.
This heady mix meant that when my mother found a cottage she could just about afford to rent for us all I jumped at the chance of a free holiday, failing entirely to look this gift horse in the mouth. Now as I am about to pack up mummy, daddy, two small boys and the twins, plus all the necessary kit in preparation for our five hour drive to a cold, rainy outpost of the British Isles, I am beginning to spot the cavities and halitosis that I had so blithely ignored in said horse's mouth.
The idyllic fantasy of an old style family holiday is fast morphing into a terrifying trial whereby we have to invent entertainment for all the children without the aid of modern technology - please God let the television have learnt English - whilst attempting to remain civil as we are forced to share close quarters with the aged grandp's.
The plan is to go into what my mother calls 'holiday mode', which if memory serves means seeing the funny side of flea infested hotel beds, salmonella infested restaurants and sibling infested vehicles. It never worked back then, but my fingers are firmly crossed that it's an adult skill that I must have acquired somewhere along the way.
So I shall pack our cases, pray for sunny weather and tempraments, and console myself with the thought that at least I won't have to queue up to have my photo taken with a larger than life sized mouse this year.