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Facing a tight budget

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IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
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Hello all
I have got myself in a pickle, and, after gentle encouragement from Moving Forwards & Skintyetagain on another thread, they think the kind people on here can help.
This is nerve wracking but here is my situation:
Technically still employed, on sick, MH issues but likely to be let go from employment. No more sick pay or SSP available from employer.
Advised that I should apply for Universal Credit, which I reluctantly did,  and have been receiving from April 2020. £409.89 per month.
Here is the pickle:
Income £409.89
Bills       £360.42
-------------------------
Left        £  49.47 to feed me and dog. Or £12.36 a week. 

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.
Any advice, even a kick up the bottom, is welcomed. Thanks all..... :)

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

  • RobM99RobM99 Forumite
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    OK you can eat for £14 a week, especially as veggie. Might not be wonderful food though.    Baked potatoes, lentils, porridge. Can you get to a supermarket just before closing? Yellow Tickets are your friend.   4  huge courgettes for 8p? Oh yes!
  • MrsnMrsn Forumite
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    The charity donation in my opinion needs to go for now. £7 will make a difference going forward and it doesn’t have to be forever. 

    They might be able to extend your council tax over 12 months to free a little extra up monthly. It will mean obviously no “free” months in February and March though... that said for short term benefit would be worth considering. 

    £58.72 seems high for water, but I can see you’ve tried to sort it so unless you wish to ask them about 12 months instead of 10 to help lower your monthly payments for a while.

    Lastly have you had a shop around for both insurances?? They might be able to come down a little if possible.

    Due to your low income I would speak to your local council about their council tax reduction scheme which you might be eligible for and that will lower the council tax bill further.

    Have you had a look at one of the benefit entitlement calculators such as entitled to or turn2us as they might point out anything else relevant and make sure you’re getting all the help you need.
  • edited 26 June at 9:29PM
    Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    edited 26 June at 9:29PM
    EDIT to add: Have you applied for income-based council tax reduction? It's a separate thing from the single person discount. - Oops, cross-posted with Mrsn

    You can watch anything other than BBC programmes on catch-up without a licence, so it would be worth considering whether you really need the TV licence right now (if you can just cancel it, I don't actually know how it works).

    I'm not asking, but just mentioning that perhaps you could consider whether you could pause the charity donations while you get yourself back on your feet.

    [If you haven't already, worth looking around to make sure you are getting the best deal for your phone. Obviously you're not paying a huge amount anyway, but on PAYG you can be a lot more flexible presuming you own your phone outright.]

    Batch cooking, if you physically can and have room in your freezer, especially if you can get reduced veggies in bulk, should be quite economical.  https://cookingonabootstrap.com/ is an excellent resource.
  • edited 26 June at 9:27PM
    poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    edited 26 June at 9:27PM
    Mrsn said:

    Have you had a look at one of the benefit entitlement calculators such as entitled to or turn2us as they might point out anything else relevant and make sure you’re getting all the help you need.
    The only other benefit the OP maybe entitled to, other than council tax reduction is New style ESA BUT this won't make them financially better off because it's deducted £1 for £1 from the UC entitlement.
    OP are you sending in fit notes from your GP for your UC claim? You say you have mental health issues and are unable to work at the moment. If you're not sending in fit notes it maybe worth considering doing this.
    PIP maybe an option but it's not awarded based on a diagnosis, it's how those conditions affect your ability to carrry out daily activity based on the PIP descriptors. Evidence would be needed to support a claim. See link. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers/pip-assessment-guide-part-2-the-assessment-criteria
    I agree also that your water usage does seem rather high, especially as you live alone.
    You don't mention any rent.. I'm assuming you own your own home?
    Also just to adsd that your standard allowance rate for UC will reduce from April 2021 and will be approximately £80 per month less than what it is now, this is because it was increaded due to Covid19.




  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    poppy12345 said: 
    You don't mention any rent.. I'm assuming you own your own home?

    In the OP they said "No rent/mortgage"
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    I agree with others that the obvious missing benefit is Council Tax Reduction which can be claimed from your local authority to help with your Council Tax liability - the amount of help available differs between local authorities.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • NannytoneNannytone Forumite
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    You shouldn't be paying 75% of your council tax. You need to apply for council tax support
  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
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    RobM99 said:
    OK you can eat for £14 a week, especially as veggie. Might not be wonderful food though.    Baked potatoes, lentils, porridge. Can you get to a supermarket just before closing? Yellow Tickets are your friend.   4  huge courgettes for 8p? Oh yes!
    Hi RobM99
    That's what I am hoping, that I can scrape by, I used to yellow sticker at my local shop, but that's been closed for a while. Need to motivate myself to try the bigger stores a bit further away. I read that courgettes are great in cooking as they help thicken a soup or stew, so will look out for those. Thank you.
    "...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth..."
  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    What would your dog's annuaL vacs cost?
    I do not routinely treat my dogs for fleas. I have only had to  treat them twice in 40 years of dog ownership. Once when they picked them up from a visit to  friend's house and once when they picked them up in a holiday home.
    So I only treat them when needed.
    Worming tablets can be bought cheaper online than from a ver, unless you need a prescription one.
    An annual consultation is given as part of th vacs appointment

    So, is £15  worth it?






  • IrenadlerIrenadler Forumite
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    Mrsn said:
    The charity donation in my opinion needs to go for now. £7 will make a difference going forward and it doesn’t have to be forever. 

    They might be able to extend your council tax over 12 months to free a little extra up monthly. It will mean obviously no “free” months in February and March though... that said for short term benefit would be worth considering. 

    £58.72 seems high for water, but I can see you’ve tried to sort it so unless you wish to ask them about 12 months instead of 10 to help lower your monthly payments for a while.

    Lastly have you had a shop around for both insurances?? They might be able to come down a little if possible.

    Due to your low income I would speak to your local council about their council tax reduction scheme which you might be eligible for and that will lower the council tax bill further.

    Have you had a look at one of the benefit entitlement calculators such as entitled to or turn2us as they might point out anything else relevant and make sure you’re getting all the help you need.
    Hello Mrsn
    Thank you, even when I was typing it in the SOA I was thinking why am I donating that, when money is so tight? That could pay for dog food... 
    I am amazed at all the tips and knowledge that people have, and are kindly sharing, I wasn't aware you could change from 10 to 12 months for CT and Water. I think they have been set up for while so haven't thought about it. Although I did look into metering the water, I am too extravagant with it to reduce useage. I think I have cleaning issues from the MH....

    No and I need to shop around to check the house and contents insurance, can't remember when I last did that.

    Funny you should mention that about tax reduction as I finally did apply on-line, didn't want to go there, but feel like I don't have a choice now. Don't know if I am eligible but I have applied. I will definitely have a check on the benefit calculator just feeling there is a lot I should have done and haven't got my head around it. Denial and MH is definitely an obstacle to your financial health....


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