Working single parents first SOA (Desperately need HELP!!!!!!)

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Hi,

This is my first time at all this!!!!!!!!!
I am a 34 yr old single parent with a 15 yr old son & 6 yr old daughter. I work 34 hrs a week term time only as a receptionist in a school. My landlord has just increased my rent from £655 to £700 per month & all my other bills are increasing but my salary is not. I am really struggling financially & have had to start using credit cards for the first time in my life!!!! I have posted my SOA below, can someone please help me. I don't have many treats, I don't smoke or drink. I only go out once a week to a weekly fitness aerobics & weigh in class. I really don't want to give this up bcuz I have lost 3 stone since Feb this year. My t.v/phone/internet package is quite expensive but it includes phone line, internet, 2 T.V Virgin V+ boxes (1 in lounge, 1 in sons bedroom) as I stay in every night it is my one treat. I make my own sandwiches for work lunch, I even take my own milk & tea bags as tea is 50p!!!!!! & I pack my kids lunches for school.

I forgot to mention that I only get £34.02 housing benefit every 2 weeks bcuz I am paying back £21.50 a week in housing benefit arrears. The council say I was overpaid by £3000+ so I will be paying this back until Dec 2009!!!!!! I got a causion bcuz they say I did not inform them of a rise in tax credits but I did!!!!!!!!


Can anyone help????????????confused-smiley-013.gif

All Monthly:

Wages after tax £800
Child benefit £135.85
Tax credits 869.22
Housing benefit 73.71
TOTAL £1879.37

Outgoings:
Rent £700
Council tax £86
Gas £25
Elec £30
Home contents insur £5.83
Water/sewerage £22.93
Childcare (£40 per week term time only) £130
Car insurance £21.52
Petrol (£12 per week) £65
Lottery (£3 Per week + £1 per week work syndicate) £17
Car tax, service & mot £20
Virgin (phone line, t.v & internet) £60
T.V Licence £11.61
Sons pocket money £30
Savings for kids £20
Food £281.66 (£65 per week)
Clothes/shoes budget £50
Pay as you go mobile phone £5
Rosemary conley diet & fitness class £19
Holiday fund £100
Credit card £100
kids birthdays (£50 each) £8.33
Christmas pressies & food (£150) £12.50
Family birthdays £20
Miss (Non family birthdays, haircuts, day trips, school monies etc.) £35
TOTAL £1876.38
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Comments

  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,794 Forumite
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    Hi and welcome

    We need to know what the debts are. For each CC, the maximum value, minimum repayment, APR and amount outstanding.

    have you informed the HB people that the rent is going up?
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • IWantToBeFree_2
    Options
    Hi,

    This is my first time at all this!!!!!!!!!
    I am a 34 yr old single parent with a 15 yr old son & 6 yr old daughter. I work 34 hrs a week term time only as a receptionist in a school. My landlord has just increased my rent from £655 to £700 per month & all my other bills are increasing but my salary is not. I am really struggling financially & have had to start using credit cards for the first time in my life!!!! I have posted my SOA below, can someone please help me. I don't have many treats, I don't smoke or drink. I only go out once a week to a weekly fitness aerobics & weigh in class. I really don't want to give this up bcuz I have lost 3 stone since Feb this year. My t.v/phone/internet package is quite expensive but it includes phone line, internet, 2 T.V Virgin V+ boxes (1 in lounge, 1 in sons bedroom) as I stay in every night it is my one treat. I make my own sandwiches for work lunch, I even take my own milk & tea bags as tea is 50p!!!!!! & I pack my kids lunches for school.

    I forgot to mention that I only get £34.02 housing benefit every 2 weeks bcuz I am paying back £21.50 a week in housing benefit arrears. The council say I was overpaid by £3000+ so I will be paying this back until Dec 2009!!!!!! I got a causion bcuz they say I did not inform them of a rise in tax credits but I did!!!!!!!!


    Can anyone help????????????confused-smiley-013.gif

    All Monthly:

    Wages after tax £800
    Child benefit £135.85
    Tax credits 869.22
    Housing benefit 73.71
    TOTAL £1879.37

    Outgoings:
    Rent £700
    Council tax £86 - Is this spread over 12 months or 10 & have you got single persons discount etc?
    Gas £25
    Elec £30
    Home contents insur £5.83
    Water/sewerage £22.93
    Childcare (£40 per week term time only) £130
    Car insurance £21.52
    Petrol (£12 per week) £65
    Lottery (£3 Per week + £1 per week work syndicate) £17 - Can you get rid of this? Obviously is nice to have a 'dream' but if your struggling, this looks like the most obvious thing to ditch!
    Car tax, service & mot £20
    Virgin (phone line, t.v & internet) £60 - Quite pricey, can you reduce down?
    T.V Licence £11.61
    Sons pocket money £30 - Cut back? When is your son 16? He could get a part time job then to helop fund himself? I know its harsh but I bet he would rather have a roof over his head.
    Savings for kids £20 - Reduce for the time being?
    Food £281.66 (£65 per week) - Check out old school board to see if you can get this lower, could be hard in these difficult times
    Clothes/shoes budget £50 - All necessities? Try cut back on things that are wanted more than needed
    Pay as you go mobile phone £5
    Rosemary conley diet & fitness class £19
    Holiday fund £100 - If your struggling, last thing you need is to be going on holiday and getting deeper into trouble, is the holiday booked or is it just general saving?
    Credit card £100
    kids birthdays (£50 each) £8.33
    Christmas pressies & food (£150) £12.50
    Family birthdays £20
    Miss (Non family birthdays, haircuts, day trips, school monies etc.) £35
    TOTAL £1876.38

    Hey, welcome to the boards, hope some of my comments are helpful. x
  • tallyhoh
    tallyhoh Posts: 2,305 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
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    :D Hi,

    Do you really need a car, cant you get by on public transport? I find it takes the majority of my money & a local bus pass is only about £38 a month. Is the car paid for?

    I find it odd that you are having to use a credit card (Stop, its a slippery slope) when you are saving each month at least £120 for childrens & holidays. Is it a holiday you have booked? is there no alternative.

    £50 a month for clothes is an awful lot. Your son should be buying his own if he gets £30 a month pocket money & then there are always freecycle, jumble sales & charity shops for essentials. I dont think I spend £50 a year in clothes.

    £20 a month for family birthdays again is way too high. Do you spend this much because you get expensive prezzies or do you have a massive family?

    Give up the £3 a week lottery & just stay with your syndicate, you have just as much chance.

    The £65 for food is great but if you pop over to the "money saving old style" board they have loads of tips so you could cut down even more.

    Can you not contact the housing benefits & ask them for reduced payments, tell them you are struggling & they may listen. Likewise with the council tax, some councils will spread it over 12 months if you ask.

    Is there any chance of you getting maintenance payments or is it not applicable?
    Tallyhoh! Stopped Smoking October 2000. Saved £29382.50 so far!
  • Helen224488
    Options
    RAS wrote: »
    Hi and welcome

    We need to know what the debts are. For each CC, the maximum value, minimum repayment, APR and amount outstanding.

    have you informed the HB people that the rent is going up?

    Hi,

    I have just recently obtained 2 credit cards interest free for 10 months to fund a trip to U.S.A. My friend of 20yrs is getting married in Nov & She came to my wedding so I promised to go. I put flight & hotel on card total of about £550, kids wanted to come but I said no as I can't afford to take them. I am paying £100 per month until it is paid off which should be b4 I have to pay interest. The other card I got the kids school uniforms, shoes & a vacuum as my old one blew up & I was fed up going over carpet on my hands & knees with cellotape trying to pick up the fluff & crumbs!!!!!

    I will fill in a change of circumstances form with Council & hopefully get a bit more help with rent.

    Thanks again.
  • Helen224488
    Options
    tallyhoh wrote: »
    :D Hi,

    Do you really need a car, cant you get by on public transport? I find it takes the majority of my money & a local bus pass is only about £38 a month. Is the car paid for?

    I find it odd that you are having to use a credit card (Stop, its a slippery slope) when you are saving each month at least £120 for childrens & holidays. Is it a holiday you have booked? is there no alternative.

    £50 a month for clothes is an awful lot. Your son should be buying his own if he gets £30 a month pocket money & then there are always freecycle, jumble sales & charity shops for essentials. I dont think I spend £50 a year in clothes.

    £20 a month for family birthdays again is way too high. Do you spend this much because you get expensive prezzies or do you have a massive family?

    Give up the £3 a week lottery & just stay with your syndicate, you have just as much chance.

    The £65 for food is great but if you pop over to the "money saving old style" board they have loads of tips so you could cut down even more.

    Can you not contact the housing benefits & ask them for reduced payments, tell them you are struggling & they may listen. Likewise with the council tax, some councils will spread it over 12 months if you ask.

    Is there any chance of you getting maintenance payments or is it not applicable?
    Thanks for your help, the car is fully paid for vauxhall corsa 5 yrs old. My insurance is only aprox £20 per month, petrol £12 per week & tax £120 per year. The petrol gets me to work & back & to my weekly keep fit class (6 miles away, 2 bus journeys thro rough part of Bristol, class finishes 9.30pm), taking kids places etc & not forgetting weekly shop to asda. I have looked into public transport but it is very expensive & unreliable in Bristol, I don't think I would save much as otherwise have to food shop on line & pay delivery or get taxi.
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,794 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
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    The other card I got the....... vacuum as my old one blew up & I was fed up going over carpet on my hands & knees with cellotape trying to pick up the fluff & crumbs!!!!!

    Are you registered with www.freecycle.org? it is like e-bay but the goods are given away free. That means that you can get clothes, electrical goods, bedding and furniture for nothing except the cost of collection. So you can save for goods rather than taking credit.

    The other thing to consider is your local credit union; you save every month and can borrow small sums at low rates of interest. I would have thought that Bristol would have an active CU.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • KiKi
    KiKi Posts: 5,377 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
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    Hi,
    Outgoings:
    Lottery (£3 Per week + £1 per week work syndicate) £17
    I know it's only a little bit, but it really does all add up. You don't need it, and it works out at £200 a year - that's Christmas covered for starters! Drop it!

    Virgin (phone line, t.v & internet) £60
    I totally appreciate that when you stay in it's a luxury you want. But let me put it this way: I'm with Virgin. I have phone line, TV and 4MB broadband for £30 a month. You can easily reduce this by either phoning them up and threatening to leave, so you get the same deal on a better price. Or, drop the TV package / net speed / one of the V boxes. That could save you £30 a month - or £360 a year which would get you a UK holiday between you.

    Sons pocket money £30
    If your son has to have all that (and doesn't have a PT job to help himself out) then perhaps you could consider that he should pay some of 'back' to you for use of the V box (or clothes, or something). Again, only a little, but it matters!


    Savings for kids £20
    Stop paying into this whilst you are paying back credit cards. Saving for the kids is good, but it's a nice to have. They will have to learn to earn their own money eventually anyway, so a break from this won't kill them - esp if your son has £30 a month pocket money.

    Food £281.66 (£65 per week)
    Well done for doing all packed lunches for you all, and taking in tea to work! You should still be able to get this down a little. I spend about £50 a month for just me and two cats (food and litter), so you should be able to get it down. Even if it's just by £20 or £30 that will make a big difference for you. The Old Style board and meal planning will really, really help you out.

    Clothes/shoes budget £50
    You might have to drop this to a smaller amount for a little whilst. You should certainly be able to get brand new high street clothes for your daughter on Ebay (at her age it won't make too much of a difference), and you may have to forego new clothes for a little while.

    Holiday fund £100
    This is the short term thing until you pay of the USA trip, I assume?

    Credit card £100
    And this is the kids' school clothes and vaccuum? When will this be paid off?

    Family birthdays £20
    Do you have a big family? How many presents is this for? I spend less than £20 on family pressies each, but I really prepare well in advance for them, and get some great deals, so they still get really nice presents!

    Firstly, well done for posting, and welcome to the board. :)

    I hope the above helps; it's not meant to be harsh, just some suggestions as to how you could save quite quickly with a few changes.

    I know changes where the kids are concerned are particularly hard. But remember that this doesn't have to be a long-term thing, you can make some changes whilst you need to, then change things back if required. But you could comfortably make 'back' the rent increase for now.

    As someone else suggested, Freecycle is wonderful for new things. I recently freecycled away a TV, kitchen crockery, saucepans, bath towels and a DVD player - they all went to good homes and to people who needed them.

    I hope this helps you out. And again, well done for posting. Make sure you get rid of those credit cards once they're used, as they are easily a slippery slope if they're a temptation for you right now!!!

    HTH :)
    KiKi
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
  • Helen224488
    Options
    Many thanks Kiki,

    How do I find the old style board for suggestions on food, meal planning etc?
  • MissMoneypenny
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    It's called MoneySaving Old Style under Home, Work and Play.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.html?f=33
    RENTING? Have you checked to see that your landlord has permission from their mortgage lender to rent the property? If not, you could be thrown out with very little notice.
    Read the sticky on the House Buying, Renting & Selling board.


  • barnaby-bear
    barnaby-bear Posts: 4,142 Forumite
    Options
    Sons pocket money £30
    Savings for kids £20
    Clothes/shoes budget £50
    Miss (Non family birthdays, haircuts, day trips, school monies etc.) £35
    TOTAL £1876.38
    Can the kid's dads help out with any of these, even if no CSA involvd stuff he buys/gives for the kids directly might help...
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