Coping alone on a part time wage

Hi my husband and I split over 16 months ago and we have two children aged 10 and 8. I stayed in the house and have been managing to to pay for it myself and he has been contributing £100/week to the children.

He has a good job earning £37k per year and I currently earn £13,000 working 20 hours a week around the children. I have no-one to help with childcare and my work are really good at letting me work from home in the holidays or take time when I need. They are very supportive bosses and have bent over backwards to help me during this situation including taking on someone to help me, giving me nicer jobs and allowing me time to see my counsellor.

A few months ago my ex told me he and his girlfriend are emigrating to Thailand. He will teach english as a foreign language and has done the course to do so. He will hand in his notice and his gf will earn enough to support him and he will just try and find enough money to pay me. He has suggested however I could just work more hours not understanding that this would just reduce my tax credits which make up a big proportion of my income. I would not see the benefit of working extra and my kids, who are losing their father will have less time with their mother. I very much doubt he will pay me and I have to work on the worst case scenario.

I have been through my budget and I need about £1,100 per month for my bills which includes my mortgage of £520. It will leave about £550 / month to pay for food, petrol and try to save (I save £50/week at the moment but I wont be able to save that much if he doesn't pay). I have a credit card which is £900 and i pay off £50/month and a next account which is £300 which i pay off £30. I could switch to the minimum payments but would rather not until I have to. Ive just been and cancelled all the subscriptions and luxuries apart from netflix and deezer as both the children and myself use these a lot. We don't have sky or even fibre broadband. There is nothing else to cut apart from to shop at cheaper places and change my car for something more economical. My counselling will have to stop.

I'm just very daunted by having to do this all on my own and my children's way of life is going to dramatically change. I have offered him my savings to buy him out of the house but even though the figure was more than the figure my solicitor suggested he said it wasn't enough. Apparently I am trying to screw him over when he is the one walking away from his responsibilities.

I don't really know what my question is, I guess I am wondering if there is anything I can do apart from my utilities and the things I've mentioned. I guess all money I earn will just reduce my tax credits?

I am not in a very mentally stable place for taking on new business ventures. I just want to hide.

thanks for reading.


  • skimper
    skimper Posts: 372
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    Sorry to hear of the situation that you're in.

    I don't really have any helpful advice but,if you go to the debt free wanna be board there should be a template for an SOA (state of affairs) where you can fill out what you spend monthly & on what. People there will be able to help you see where you can cut down on spending etc
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,234
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Hopefully, you've applied for and getting single person discount on council tax.

    I'm also single and on a part time wage, but I don't have a mortgage or children to support. Even so, I have taken in lodgers to help with finances (the company is also nice). Whilst lodgers are not for everyone, it might be something to consider if you have the space.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 23,997
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    I think you need to do a calculation of

    working full time wages, with reduced tax credits and longer childcare needed perhaps.


    staying part time with tax credits.

    Some areas are moving over to Universal credit. No idea if this may affect things but worth checking out.

    How old are the children?

    Perhaps re-jigging your hours might be an option even if you need to work longer ones, eg at one point I worked 9-3, could see the children off to school and collect them too, but mine had a finish time of 3.30, I know not everywhere does.

    You could put an SOA up on the debt free wannabe board and see if they can make any suggestions.
  • ska_lover
    ska_lover Posts: 3,773
    Combo Breaker First Post
    You poor thing.

    I have been where you are, and it is very hard. Even more so when the children are little and unable to look after themselves so the Mums world must revolve around their hours

    Having £550 a month for food and petrol, does not seem all that bad to me, honestly.

    Back when I was in your situation, my weekly food budget was £7.

    I don't know how I did it, to be honest. There were a lot of beans on toast for tea, but no one went hungry
    The opposite of what you also true
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,198
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    In terms of any split with your husband, a court is entitled to look at your, and his, needs. My guess is that his needs will be much lower if he is emigrating, as housing and living costs are likely to be much lower in Thailand than the UK, so that may affect what it is reasonable for him to have in terms of the equity. Talk to your solicitor about this

    You mention that you save £50 a week but have £1,200 on credit cards - unless that's all on a 0% interest deal, it would probably make sense to use the £50 to pay the credit cards down faster, rather than saving it, then look at starting to save again once you are debt free.

    Do look at sites such as entitledto and turn2us to work out what effect working different hours would have on your income, taking into account how it would affect your tax credits and any entitlement to help with child care costs. You may find that it does benefit you to increase your hours.

    Another possibility may be to look into whether extending the term of your mortgage is an option - this will cost more in the long term, but may well reduce your monthly outgoings short term (and you can perhaps then overpay to shorten the term again once the children are a little older and it is more practical to work more hours and/or you don't need to pay for child care.

    doing eco-friendly stuff such as reducing your thermostat by 1-2 degrees and using a timer for showers may also help cut your energy bills.

    Food costs - shopping at cheaper shops is definitely a good plan - also think about what you buy - own brand versus big names, less pre-prepared stuff etc.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,223
    First Post Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary
    EOX82 wrote: »
    ... he has been contributing £100/week to the children.

    (I save £50/week at the moment but I wont be able to save that much if he doesn't pay). I have a credit card which is £900 and i pay off £50/month and a next account which is £300 which i pay off £30.

    Just looking at this you are looking for ways to cut your outgoings by £100 a week, £430 a month. If you have enough in savings to pay off the card and next account that would help your cash flow by £80 a month. Do you have enough of a safety net in savings to put them on hold for a bit? That would be another £215 a month, leaving you only £135 to find a month.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • CRANKY40
    CRANKY40 Posts: 5,669
    Debt-free and Proud! Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    So you pay the mortgage for his share in the house so that he will benefit from whatever equity you have accrued once the children are old enough for the house to be sold? That might be a reasonable scenario as long as he is helping to support your children but I wouldn't say that it was reasonable if he stops paying child maintenance. In place of his contributions he thinks that you should work longer hours to safeguard his equity while he gives up a secure job. I think you may need legal advice. (I'm also wondering why you have no help with childcare when the children have two parents....)
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