I can't quite believe it's got this bad



  • oopspardon
    I've not read all of this thread, so apologies if I'm repeating anything.

    Is the child benefit you are receiving Family Allowance rather than a means tested benefit? I'd have thought you'd be entitled to Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit - it's amazing how high your income can be and you're still eligible.

    As Jinantonik (quite rightly) warns caution about the Tax Credit system, I'd just add that I've been getting working tax credit and - touch wood - not had a problem with it. The extra money (£171 per month) has given me peace of mind as a self employed person whose income is extremely variable from month to month.

    You can go onto the tax credit website, fill in your details (marital status etc + income) and it will do the calculation for you there and then and say what you're entitled to. I filled it in when there was just one month left of the financial year - it gave me a quote for the year of £200 which turned out to be just for the remainder of that year. I was entitled to over £2,000.:j

    I hope you don't end up being one of the victims of the tax credit system - if it all goes to plan it could be a handy lifeline.

    The other thing I wanted to say is, be honest with your children about your circumstances (but not scarily honest in a house-reposessed sort of a way) it will probably make it easier to say 'no' when they want you to buy them something! When I was young I had friends whose dad was on the brink of bankruptcy. He continued to spend on his three kids as if nothing was wrong - putting himself into debt every Christmas and spending the rest of the year paying it off. They demanded, and were given, all the must-have toys (which were quickly discarded) but thay didn't have a decent winter coat between them. I'll admit it - at the time I'd rather have gone without a coat too - but it's made me think about priorities now.

    I hope things work out for you and your family.:beer:
  • MoneySavingMum_4
    Hello Talheedin,

    Firstly, good luck with your first money saving steps - it'll feel much better with a bit of time as you start to make some real changes.

    Secondly, I've tried to read all of the responses you've had thus far and didn't see any comments on your borrowing rates. Apologies if someone else has already mentioned this, but I thought that a couple of your APRs looked quite high. You should definitely try calling your existing lenders and asking them to drop their rates - some may give you a better deal. I know that you're considering a DMP, but if you do decide to go it alone a lower APR can make quite a difference.
    Alternatively, do you have any room left on your Capital One card? You could move the Egg debt there and cut the interest on that £1k by 9.4%. Even moving this to your Cahoot a/c would make more of your repayments go towards reducing the capital rather than on interest.
    If your credit rating isn't already shot to pieces, you should consider shifting some debts to new cards at 0% interest rates, or perhaps to a low 'stable relationship' rate. Three things if you take this route... a) you absolutely have to cut up the old cards if you move to a new account b) never ever spend on the new card c) you may find that a low rate card actually requires a higher percentage of the balance as a monthly repayment, and this won't help you with your monthly budget, even if it would get your capital reducing faster.

    Hang on in there - the first steps are the hardest, but if you stick with it things will get easier - promise!!
    Working hard to be debt free so that I can reduce my full time working hours and spend some time with my 1 year old son. :kisses3:
  • superjaggybunnet
    I have read through a lot of this and agree with everything that has been said.

    Shopping online for instance. We shop at Tesco.com and the kids are never there when I do it so there is no pestering for things we do not really need and also no impulse buying so costs have gone down. Try it as you can also find various sites where you can get codes for money off. http://tescocodes.blogspot.com/ http://!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!/ http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=161713

    Even if you just do your shopping and claim the extra pooints you can then cash them in for 4 times their value for various outlets like MFI or Goldsmiths. Money raised could mean that your christmas gifts are covered for example.

    I also think the petrol and car expenses are pretty high. With 5 kids I realise you must be running them all over the place. I used to do that and felt like an unpaid taxi driver. If you are just taking them short hops to friends houses, school, etc then walk with them instead.

    It is really great to know that there are so many people out there willing to give time and advice. I just wish the real world was as friendly as the virtual one!

    All the best!
  • Minah
    You seem to have received some excellent replies. I've read quite a few and just wanted to comment on the gas and electricity charges. I know that Martin currently advises caution when switching, but even without all of the big companies having put up their prices yet (and of course, they will), there are still savings to be had.

    I know it's a drop in the ocean when you have a high level of debt, but you should be able to save at least £100 a year on the cheapest mainstream supplier (much more if you have never switched and are still with what used to be the old gas and electricity 'boards').

    Part of the trick here is that the switching sites run on commission (which is fine as they do need to make money somehow, they aren't charities). What they don't tell you though is that some of them don't include all suppliers and others that do won't let you switch through the comparison site.

    As an example, if you use one of Martin's recommended comparison sites - uswitch - there are a couple of tips to make sure you get a true reflection of what's on offer. Firstly, under step 2, the default under 'your preferences' is:

    'Search all plans (This will show you all the plans available except Social tariffs. To include these, please tick the box below)'

    However you pay your bill, you MUST tick the box which says 'Include Social tariffs'.

    You also need to make sure that you check the 'no' box under 'Plans you can switch to online with uSwitch.com' in section 2. This will force the site to check all plans (don't worry, you can invariably switch online, you simply need to use the company's own website).

    Finally, click the 'check by price' option.

    The chances of you being supplied by the company at the top are remote to none and I'm therefore certain that 99% of people can save around £100 or more.

    Try it.
  • WesternExpress
    Hi Talheedin

    This may feel as if it comes out of the left field but that's where my best ideas come from. If you find that you are tempted to go out and shop a lot to try to get a hobby/activity that is cheap but gives you an adrenaline rush. It may take your mind off your problems and could give you the fix you need. I can understand if you don't ever have a moment to spare, but I think that you deserve a little!
  • ela
    ela Posts: 54 Forumite
    Uniform Washer
    Hi Talheedin

    Ive havent got any debts (apart from the mortgage) but after recently having an extension we are on a tight budget.

    I learnt a lot from my mum who told me stories like "We didnt have cards, if the cash wasnt there you didnt buy it". Im guilty of buying things I couldnt afford because it was a bargain.

    After a couple of years of over spending I have ditched all the credit cards and now on a monthly basis I draw out cash (like my grand mother did) and separate it into pots on a weekly basis. When its gone its gone, (but its only days to the next pay) if I overspend at the checkouts I start taking things off like biscuits, crisps etc. Now because Im not just throwing it in the trolley and handing over a card I am saving loads. Any cash left over, even if its a bit goes into another pot for Christmas food.

    I also dont have a regular weekly shopping day, i dont go until the fridge is empty, now Im not throwing away food that I didnt know was there and has gone out of date.

    Our clothing budget is £20 a month for four people. Ive always bought cheaper clothes for the children (Asda, Tesco) but now ive found that buying good quality branded clothing better because it will sell well on ebay when they have grown out of it. I also buy new clothes on ebay (BNWT) and have some fantastic stuff for £3-4.

    Good luck with sorting out your problems.
    Dec, Nokia E71 | Mar, Senseo CM |
  • father_ted_3
    Hey Talheedin,
    Talheedin wrote:
    The Dog does need to be insured. He’s a biggun!

    Send a photo of your dog to your home insurance company, and ask them to consider the dog as an additional security measure ;)
    Talheedin wrote:
    I will be cancelling the magazine subscription. I’ll miss it (New Scientist, very interesting) but, while I used to read every issue cover to cover, I am finding less and less time to get to it.

    Good news! New Scientist is redundant in the era of the internet. There is so much free and well written information online. If you have a PDA you can tinker and read the best science news from various sources and get a balanced look. Also New Scientist is a bit head-in-the-clouds science a lot of the time.

    In addition, you can find science online that the kids can enjoy too, you spend your time and money in better ways already! I meant to post this to the 'free things for kids to do' post. Home science experiments can be free, fun and educational.

    As you have lots of kids, rather than give them a 20 and send them packing, take them to every museum, gallery and park in a 50 mile radius over summer. Educate and entertain. (and save)
    Talheedin wrote:
    I agree with the savings and I will start putting those against the debts now. It will be a real wrench to stop the kid’s savings though.

    Try not to think of your money as discrete sets of cash. You have one cashflow, and bits of it are leaking out and being siphoned off by different costs. Eliminate those costs, and divert all your cashflow to minimise the loses as quickly as possible. The net effect will be more cashflow.

    I try to explain this to people who save up and pay off their debts in lump sums. Get small quantities pushed over ASAP.

    On the same issue, I need some advice with how to pay off my student loan, but that is a different story.
  • lovelylass_2
    Everyone is picking up on the dog insurance. Can I just add that I personally think that it should stay. Not only does it cover you if the dog was to bite someone but also if you need to go to the vets for any condition you will be covered and although you have to pay an excess its well worth keeping.

    My moms dog so far in his 13 years life would have cost her £15000. He has had to have so many different treatments etc and working out all the bills sent to the insurers its well worth the monthly money, especially if you dont have any spare cash.

    wishing you well
  • Confused_Jo
    I 'm not sure if you will have an organisation such as Letts near you, but for those who don't, its a community favours swop shop. So if you offer to cut some ones hedge for them they may be able to give you a book or another favour in return. No money exchanges so it will not effect any benefit and you get to meet more people.

    Plus you will be busy doing things that don't cost you money. Might even be worth offering to help at the allotments to get tips on how to grow your own. For example, many people pay up to £2!!!! for a bag of lettuce. Go to Wilkinsons or LIDL (half price seeds at the mo') and buy loads of BOGOFF seeds to grow your own. For £2 you will have enough lettuce for the whole summer.

    You can still grow a lot of things at this time of the year, plus there are loads of studies that show gardening is good for stress relief.

    If you are really interested in this look a https://www.allotments4all.co.uk. All the members are really helpful and supportive espescially if like me your tomatoes have failed for a second year! :D

    MY OH is still sorting himself out after his ex left and his filing system was down the side of the sofa. He has times where he would like to treat me a bit more or do something extravagant but, to be honest, I prefer his cooking and my treat is a foot rub. Personal gestures are much better IMHO.
  • chevalier
    chevalier Posts: 7,937 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hi Talheedin
    When I was a child in the 70's having a single parent was still not the done thing. Things were very tight. But apparently I was fairly resilient, and got upset if things were bought new (clothes wise), because I wanted to know who had had them first!!!
    Your youngest two will not know if things are second hand. My two don't.
    best of luck
    I want a job that is less than an hour driving away from my house! Are you listening universe?
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