Been here before many times


I've been here before, although last time I was married and living with my husband, son and two dogs.

Several months later, I'm almost divorced, live in a different city and am a single mum to an 8 year old and two dogs.

I'm currently struggling month to month, despite being on an alright wage . This is mainly because I am living pay check to pay check, and not only that, I'm deferring bills til the end of the month just to get by. The other reason is Universal Credit hasn't kicked in, due to being paid every 4 weeks I've landed right in a double reporting period so September/October AND November's childcare hasn't been paid to me (even if it was only going to be a small amount). So that's £840 that I won't see any of and it's soul destroying. Hopefully I will start to see some Universal Credit on my next payment date of December 10th. I have no idea how much though. And then my next double reporting period is probably October 2020 but not sure.

I have worked out if I can scrape together £485.61 during November then I will be at square one, so the money I receive at the end of the month will pay for the next month and I won't have to scrabble during the month to avoid going OVER my overdraft. If I don't scrape that together, I will have to use the lodger's rent and child maintenance I will receive between 25th and 28th November to pay November's bills, BUT I really want that money to carry over to December, and thus forward.

I have debt, but that is not my focus right now. I need to get the £485.61 raised to get back onto an even keel. Once I've done that I can rejig my budget and see if I can make any cutbacks although its unlikely to be the case for a while. I'm shelling out a disgusting amount on mobile phones, one doesn't drop off til August and I don't want to default on it. There is no room in the budget for Christmas at the moment, the thought of which is quite upsetting but I'll find a way even if its just to get DS something.

So..... £485.61 to make.
£5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!


  • jbkmum
    jbkmum Posts: 293 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    So, my plan is to go and withdraw £70 in cash for the rest of the month. Food and Fuel.

    Yep its a tiny amount. However, I don't really need to drive anywhere this month as I cycle to work and I don't need to make any long trips anywhere. The only issue I am going to have is collecting my DS from his grandmas (my exMIL) as that's 60 miles away. I will have to ask her to meet me half way.

    Food - I have plenty in the fridge, I need to sit down and cook a few things to freeze. I have chicken thighs, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, potatoes. So I can make chicken and rice this week, a sweet potato curry and make some mash. I actually have a gastric sleeve so I can't even eat much, I am literally feeding the equivalent of one adult person between myself and DS.

    I have been dating someone for 3 months now, I do feed him sometimes but he's really good and brings food round for us to cook, or brings stuff to cook alongside whatever I've dug out of the freezer. We were intending on taking DS to a place that has a load of retro games but it would be £40 for all of us and I can't justify it. So perhaps we will take the dogs for a walk and grab hot chocolate in the museum gardens.

    The only food I NEED to buy is for DS's packed lunch and breakfasts. Although, even if I do run out of cereal I have a lot of porridge oats to go through.

    DS's lunch requires, cheese sandwich, soreen loaf, apple, orange, crisps and a frube. He's at school from 8am to 6pm so that gets him through the after school club as well. I used to give him an actual yoghurt but he kept losing the spoon so genuinely, a frube works out cheaper.

    My lunch is mugshots at the moment, I've got about 6 left but that's not an issue because I then have microwave rice, and all sorts of things in the cupboard. I'm not worried about nutrition at the moment as I take about 8 different prescription multivitamins, even if I ate nothing I'd be nutritionally sound!

    My issue with the above is....I food hoard. I cannot stop myself going to Lidl and buying things. I cannot stop myself spending 50p on Apple pay at the vending machine at work for a can of Pepsi Max.

    So all my hard work being clever with food essentially amounts to nothing if I fill the freezer again. So I need to be better at this. Meal planning doesn't work because I'm cooking for one. I'll just have to work out what to do. I've actually got two freezers so I'm considering moving everything to the big freezer and then using the little freezer to store meals I've cooked, take one out in the morning and all I have to do is cook rice or pasta. As it happens, I don't cook two plates worth of food, I just eat the leftovers from DS's plate.

    With regards to the £486 I need to raise:

    I have £170 in my paypal account, after fees I think this will be £140 as long as I get everything posted off today. I also can't withdraw that as its a new paypal account and they've put restrictions on it until I can prove stuff is delivered.

    I also have a really out of date cheque from HRMC for a tax refund (inheritance) for £150. However, its not guaranteed that I will get this back any time soon once I write to them so I'm not counting it. So I could potentially clear £300 of that £485 easily but I am not counting my chickens until they're in my bank.

    So we're still at £486 (I've rounded it up)

    Once I have posted ebay stuff tonight, I need to list some more stuff. I have three ikea bags worth of clothes that I no longer fit having lost weight, also have some smaller stuff I probably won't wear. Maybe some of DS's toys and need to just have a general look around the house. Waffle maker anyone?
    £5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Posts: 16,915 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    If you are on Facebook advertise your stuff on the market place and local selling groups.

    If you are stuck for food ideas list what you have and we can offer suggestions.

    Good luck with your journey x
    Mortgage started 2020, aiming to clear it in 2026.
  • jbkmum
    jbkmum Posts: 293 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Thanks MovingForward :)

    I have listed my sofa bed on facebook for £75. It was £300 new, but I got it second hand for £75. I got it because my landlord had left a huge leather armchair in the living room as my son had wanted it, so that meant I couldn't fit my own sofa in. For some stupid reason I decided I'd go buy a second hand sofa in so I could keep DS happy..... Don't ask, I'm an idiot.

    I got it for £75 on ebay, so I've listed it on Facebook for £75. Its a good quality leather sofa bed so I would like to think I can get £75 for it but I'd probably take £50.

    I've got a huge stack of clothes in a basket on the landing to list on ebay but that's going to have to wait til the weekend. I'm confident I can make this £486 I'm NOT confident that I can curb my "incidental spending"

    Its a massive issue for me. 50p here and there.

    I spent £17 at Lidl last night so £53 left. I made sure I stocked up on milk, bin bags and some essentials that I know I'd run out of by the end of the month.

    The good news is that DS wolfed down the bolognese that my SO helpfully made on Sunday, and I cooked just enough pasta for DS to have it again tonight. I've frozen three tubs of it, one of those should do two meals. And as I've said I eat the leftovers off his plate. Sounds a bit "pauperish" but he seems to leave exactly the right amount for me....

    Tonight I've got to do something with

    Fresh Chives
    Fresh Parsley
    Plum Tomatoes
    500g red potatoes
    500g sweet potatoes
    Chicken thighs
    Big thing of chestnut mushrooms

    I know I can freeze the chives, not sure on the parsley though. The potatoes I'm going to make into mash and freeze, sweet potatoes are going into sweet potato curry, can't remember what I had planned to do with the tomatoes. Chicken thighs I was going to make chicken and rice in the pressure cooker but I might freeze half of the chicken as there is no way we will eat it between us by the time DS goes to his grandmas on Friday.

    Mushrooms, I might make into mushroom soup and freeze.

    OOOOH just seen my paypal access has been restored!
    £5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!
  • jbkmum
    jbkmum Posts: 293 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Oh I have just spent £5.99 on 100 mailing bags. Looking at exactly how much clothing I have to ebay, I will run out of things to pack them in and its a lot easier. Most of the things I have to sell are plus size clothes which sell really well on ebay (I lost 10 stone, never sold on my clothing)

    I actually also have a thermal label printer so I need to dig that out and plug it into my PC. I hope I have some labels left. It makes life so much easier.

    My main thing is not to overwhelm myself. I take too many things on and get defeated.


    1) Freeze Chives
    2) Cook Sweet Potato Curry and Freeze
    3) Make Mash, freeze half
    4)Mushroom soup
    5) Arrange for sofa bed to be sold (5 interested buyers)
    6) Write assignment for open university
    7) Leave bank card at home every day

    Then once I've done all those including assignment I will start listing my clothes on ebay
    £5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!
  • Happy new shiny diary :) xx
  • jbkmum
    jbkmum Posts: 293 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Thanks <3

    I'm cross. My Yorkshire Water bill didn't go out last month as I changed bank accounts and I didn't notice. £77.60 to be debited tomorrow which includes October. So lets add another £30 on to that £486. Grumble Grumble. Can't be bothered to change that figure to be honest. I'll just wing it.

    I think I need a water meter fitting. I'm paying £45 a month for me a child and a lodger. I can't really see how we use THAT much water? Although I don't know how to work out whether we would save money or not
    £5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!
  • jwil
    jwil Posts: 19,082 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Happy new diary :)

    You can estimate your water use here: If you get one, you can switch back within the first 2 years if it doesn't save you money.

    Iceland have Pepsi max as their 7 day deal this week. 24 cans for £5. You could take one with you to work to avoid the machine.

    You can freeze parsley :)
    "If you can dream it, you can do it". Walt Disney
  • jbkmum
    jbkmum Posts: 293 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Would you chop the parsley first or freeze it "whole"

    I've used the water meter calculator and it says I could save £120 a year but I'm just not so sure. There is usually just 3 in the house, its quite big so a lot of radiators. I run the dishwasher once a day, run the washing machine on average once a day. Shower every couple of days although my DS has been spending a disgusting amount of time in the shower!
    £5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!
  • jbkmum
    jbkmum Posts: 293 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    And I'm definitely off to iceland then!
    £5000 left to pay on credit cards, down from 40k!!
  • mumtoomany
    mumtoomany Posts: 1,412 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Personally I'd chop it first, to take up less space, and make it "instant" when I wanted to use it. The number of radiators will not affect the water usage, unless you plan on emptying and refilling them. Explain to DS how much the water costs and how using less is much better for the environment, (they always seem to be covering that in school), and use a timer. Just a radio outside the door and aloud to be in for one or two songs.

    Good luck on your journey, there are a couple of us doing a similar thing over on oldstyle, mumtoomany.

    PS Well done on the weight loss.
    Frugal Living Challenge 2023.
    Trying to live on only £2640 for the year for most meals for seven people. Now only feeding, mostly, two. New total £1860.
    Spent in 2023: £1846.53/£1860. Now on £96.08 for 2024
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