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Paddling away from sh*t creek...!

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Paddling away from sh*t creek...!

126 replies 1.5K views
Hello all,
I am facing a bit of a pickle, so, like many others on here I am starting this new thread in the hopes of getting out of it via saving and other ways if I can. You are all most welcome to read along and give me the odd poke with a long stick, or just a comment to cheer me up along the way, to motivate me. Please be kind as it's taken me a long time to get the courage to do this, I want to put myself out there and be honest and accountable, and I don't want to be in my current situation, but it is how things are presently.

My situation is that it is highly likely I will lose my job soon. I am technically still employed at the moment, on sick leave though (not furloughed), but, not receiving any salary since February 2020. I became eligible for Universal Credit in March 2020, and receive £409.89 per month. I finally pulled my head out of the sand and dug out my bills. My bills are £360.42 per month. This leaves me with £12.36 approximately per week for food and nothing else (i.e. cannot buy clothes, going out, repairs or replacement of household items). It is my own fault that I have been in denial of the pending situation, still hanging on to the fact that I am not redundant yet, and stupidly not saving (I know, I know!), hoping for something to turn up, but it hasn't...  :s

On the negative side, I have no emergency fund, no savings, nada, nothing, nowt, zilch, Cash poor. On the positive side, the place I live in is paid for, so I will have a roof over my head regardless, and there is only me and the dog. I will be digging out stuff to sell because I have been clearing out and de-cluttering during these challenging times, though it will be a bit of a wrench. Finally, the mental health is still fragile, and I think that's why I haven't faced up to the situation. I think I am finally getting through the worst of the MH problems (PTSD, depression, anxiety) and coming out the other side of it but it's been a long haul. Thanks for reading this long post, I know it sounds like mission impossible wanting to save when the income is low, but, I think I need the challenge! Finding another job or going self-employed is the top priority, but, I realise I have to compete with a lot more people. Motivation is difficult, which is why I came on here, even if no-one comments I can set goals and aim to beat them... and maybe, just maybe, there are others out there facing similar issues who might feel they aren't alone in this....  

And now I am pushing that submit button (gulp)!








"...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
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Replies

  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    First thing is head over to the benefits board as the guys and girls are very helpful regarding entitlement and you may be able to claim PIP or something else which will give you more of an income.

    Have you written a statement of affairs as we may be as to see where you can save a quid or two to help boost your food budget.

    It may seem hard not being able to buy clothes, but have a think / look at what you do own already. Can you make up various outfits for the different seasons? If so, you can get away with only buying 'smalls' as necessary.

    1.  Are you up to date with your priority bills?
    2. Do you have any debts you are trying to pay from your UC?
    3. Do you rent or own?

    You have done the hard part by posting, now just need to get back on track and it can be done 😉
  • Skint_yet_AgainSkint_yet_Again Forumite
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    Well done on posting Irenadler. 🤗

    We are a friendly bunch and everyone pulls together whether your savings are big or small. I agree with MF about checking you are claiming everything you are entitled to. Hope your health continues to improve and good luck with your selling 😊
    0% credit card £1360 ~ paid in full
    0% Car Loan £7500 ~ paid in full
    JAN 2020 = NOW DEBT FREE
    Emergency fund £191 / £1000
  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
    225 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    First thing is head over to the benefits board as the guys and girls are very helpful regarding entitlement and you may be able to claim PIP or something else which will give you more of an income.

    Have you written a statement of affairs as we may be as to see where you can save a quid or two to help boost your food budget.

    It may seem hard not being able to buy clothes, but have a think / look at what you do own already. Can you make up various outfits for the different seasons? If so, you can get away with only buying 'smalls' as necessary.

    1.  Are you up to date with your priority bills?
    2. Do you have any debts you are trying to pay from your UC?
    3. Do you rent or own?

    You have done the hard part by posting, now just need to get back on track and it can be done 😉
    Hello MovingForwards,
    Thank you for you kind and thorough advice, it's much appreciated.

    I will go to the benefits thread (doh! Why didn't I think of that?), to double check, thank you. 

    On the clothes buying I don't do a lot of shopping until I need to. In this lock down, I have actually tried stuff on to see what fits, and organised it all, separated out stuff that's now too big (lost about 2 stone in weight). It's not the best quality, but, I can try and sell it on so someone can get good use of it. 

    1. Thankfully my bills are all paid - direct debits monthly and up to date.
    2. My debt is to my family - borrowed to stop going into my overdraft which will be set now at 39.9% as there was a delay receiving UC (as well as a delay in me reluctantly applying) . Owe them £1,000 and a heck of a lot of gratitude. I was scared witless I would be stuck in a debt spiral at those rates, and they are ok with me paying it off when I can. Challenge number one.
    3. I own my home, thank God, the mortgage is paid off. The only snag is I can't afford to maintain it and it's showing it's age (kind of like me, decrepit round the edges).

    I need to get my head around a SOA - there has got to be somewhere I can trim the fat....
    I felt so nervous posting, it took me about an hour to type up my post, and I kept faffing about on it...Thank you for your encouragement.  :)



    "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
    225 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    Well done on posting Irenadler. 🤗

    We are a friendly bunch and everyone pulls together whether your savings are big or small. I agree with MF about checking you are claiming everything you are entitled to. Hope your health continues to improve and good luck with your selling 😊
    Hello SkintyetAgain
    Thank you too, :) although my savings are zero, we all have to start somewhere (or should I say -£1,000 as I have a debt to pay?). I am going to head over to the benefits bunch now. I am feeling more hopeful about my MH situation than I have for a long time, despite my lack of cash, and I have family who care, which makes me rich in a different way. 
    "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
  • edited 26 June at 7:37PM
    Skint_yet_AgainSkint_yet_Again Forumite
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    edited 26 June at 7:37PM
    It’s great that you have family to  help and support you and have your dog for company. We have a crazy 3 yr old golden lab who thinks she’s still a puppy 😆 They rely on us for everything don’t they. No matter how down I feel I have to get up and feed her and take her out. 

    I’ve only just paid my debt off in January. I hope you can get some more income or cut your outgoings. You will get there ! 😊 In the meantime can your doctor refer you to a food bank ? 

    Have you thought about letting out a room ? Savingwannabe will be along soon with some advice I’m sure. She lets out a room and the money under the rent a room is tax free up to £7500 but may affect your benefits. 

    0% credit card £1360 ~ paid in full
    0% Car Loan £7500 ~ paid in full
    JAN 2020 = NOW DEBT FREE
    Emergency fund £191 / £1000
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
    6.2K posts
    1,000 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
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    Don't be nervous, we all had to make a first post once, held our breath and waited for comments.
    We are a supportive bunch and get one another through each day.

    I've a load of tips I can pass on, but at this stage will leave you with a very small one. You say you have no savings. That can change! Do you have a separate savings account? If not, open one up. Then every time your money comes in put 5p into your savings. It's not a lot, it will take a while to build up, but you know you are then saving something.

    If you can post up your SOA we can see where savings may be possible, we can assist with meal planning and making something out of not much, basically helping you feel better about your situation.
  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
    225 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    It’s great that you have family to  help and support you and have your dog for company. We have a crazy 3 yr old golden lab who thinks she’s still a puppy 😆 They rely on us for everything don’t they. No matter how down I feel I have to get up and feed her and take her out. 

    I’ve only just paid my debt off in January. I hope you can get some more income or cut your outgoings. You will get there ! 😊 In the meantime can your doctor refer you to a food bank ? 

    Have you thought about letting out a room ? Savingwannabe will be along soon with some advice I’m sure. She lets out a room and the money under the rent a room is tax free up to £7500 but may affect your benefits. 

    Hi SYA
    Aw, thanks, yes she is getting older and a bit shakier, but still full of character and keeps me company. Spoilt rotten.And is the best for getting me moving in the mornings too. Belated congratulations on paying off your debt, that must be a huge relief.

    I didn't know my GP could do that, I am due a review soon so will ask... Kind of feel like there are others that need it more like families with kids....
    I will look into that link, thank you, need to think about it and possible impacts it could have....?
    "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
    225 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    Don't be nervous, we all had to make a first post once, held our breath and waited for comments.
    We are a supportive bunch and get one another through each day.
    to 
    I've a load of tips I can pass on, but at this stage will leave you with a very small one. You say you have no savings. That can change! Do you have a separate savings account? If not, open one up. Then every time your money comes in put 5p into your savings. It's not a lot, it will take a while to build up, but you know you are then saving something.

    If you can post up your SOA we can see where savings may be possible, we can assist with meal planning and making something out of not much, basically helping you feel better about your situation.
    Hi again MF, 
    I took your advice, but, posted a very rough SOA on the benefits thread rather than here on the one I started. I don't even have a china piggy bank for spare change, that is a good tip to start something, and get a savings account, thank you. I will just copy it over to show you :
    SOA MONTHLY INCOME AND OUTGOINGS:
    No of adults - 1
    No of cars - 0
    Dependants - dog
    Income £409.89
    ---------------------------
    Total      £409.89
    Outgoings:
    No rent/mortgage
    Dual fuel                         £72.50 (12 month fixed) - just switched and got £25 cashback (BG)
    Water                              £58.72 (over 10 months not metered, did ask , but advised my usage would result in higher bills)
    CTax                             £109.00 (75% over 10 months, get single person discount)
    Vet                                   £15 (includes flea and worm treatment, annual vaccination, and one consultation per year)
    B/Band & Landline         £38.00 (Sky)
    Insurance (H&C)            £30.78
    TV licence                      £13.20
    PAYG Mobile                  £10.00
    Charity                              £7.00
    TOTAL =                        £354.20 (I think I can't add up...!)
    Left for food:                  £55.69 just working it out helps, I am a fiver better off than I thought....
    DEBT OWED (FAMILY) £1,000, No interest or deadline to pay back, but, has to be paid when I can.
    No other debts, no overdraft (yet!), no loans, no credit card owned, but, equally no savings, no emergency fund left as bills used up the family loan whilst waiting for UC claim. They have been stars and got me over the hurdle between having no income and receiving UC. As I understand it, UC is only a limited benefit, but I don't think I am eligible for other benefits since I feel I am hopefully improving health-wise at last.
    (Deep breath)
    So £55.69 gives me about £14 a week to eat....I am also newly vegetarian which has to be a plus cost wise. I am just a whisker away from being up sh*t creek without a paddle.
    "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
    6.2K posts
    1,000 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
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    As you need every penny the charity payment has to go, put in a pound or two xmas, but realistically you can't afford £7 every month.

    Spread your council tax and water over 12 months, it instantly frees a bit extra up each month.

    Can you get a cheaper package with sky or swap to Freeview and a cheap broadband package? I have Netflix and Plusnet which is £28 a month I think. I don't watch / record live TV / BBC / iPlayer I don't need a licence.

    You should be able to get your home insurance a little cheaper, shop around when renewal comes.

    PAYG, I'm sure you can get it a bit cheaper.

    Have you gone vegi to save money, because it's ethical or for health reasons? I've a vegetarian student cookbook and the recipes are cheap, cheerful and simple to make. I can message some ideas over to you tomorrow via the private messaging system here. That will help a lot with your food budget and keep you fed.

    A washed out tin, jar or even a cardboard box will work as a piggy bank.
    My piggy bank (well, it's my cats piggy bank) is an empty catering coffee tub, everything 50p and under goes into, occasionally £1 coins do. People often accidentally, or deliberately drop coppers on the floor, sometimes silver coins. I spot them, pick them up and put them in the tub. Again, it will mount up over time.
    I carry tissue and a little bank change bag on me to drop it into as they can be very muddy at times 🤫
  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
    225 posts
    100 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    Hello MF
    Yes, I have sadly come to the same conclusion, the charity will have to be on hold for now, until I get myself on more stable ground. And you are right about CT and Water - spread them out over 12 months. I am on Freeview, but have a landline and broadband with Sky. The issue with the landline is in case my mobile runs out of charge or credit I still have contact with family (overkill I know). Just when I thought I was finally on top of things, I realise I have let everything slide and not checked up or compared prices enough.

    On the vegetarian thing, my issues stopped me eating meat, but then it became an ethical reason when I researched into it. I did get my hands on a vegetarian cookbook called £1 meals and started using that. It's very kind of you to suggest some nice recipes. Student recipes have got to be cheap and filling! On the benefit thread, someone has posted a link to a cheap recipe site too 'Cooking on a bootstrap'. I am going to be too busy researching to worry about stuff at this rate...
    I remember my dad was always the first to pick up dropped change, or, roadkill as he called it. A little plastic baggie is a good point, I usually have dog pooh bags on my person, although I think I would draw the line at picking change out of a poop pile.... Thanks MF! I can stop the worry gnawing at me so much and sleep a bit better knowing I have more possibilities to reduce my bills than I thought. I honestly thought people would say 'Nope, you don't have any wriggle room to cut back'.... 


    "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
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