It will bring serious and multiple issues if benefit rates don't increase next April. We have already been rationing since early 2022. We are still no better off for doing so.
Every household bill has increased beyond a reasonable rate, not just energy bills.
I was forced to replace my vehicle this summer. Paying for it, insuring and taxing it has taken a bigger dent out of my bank balance than anyone on a low income would like.
The money in my bank account is literally the only source of money I have to my name, no pension to think about, no savings to speak of.
This wasn't the way I ever imagined I would be living my life at my age, trying to raise a family single handedly all these years has been incredibly difficult on every level.
It's a depressing prospect. I'm not sure how much more of this cost of living crisis we can take. It's embarrassing to ask for charity, we aren't in debt yet, but that could change overnight at this rate.
I already have an empty fridge freezer. I can't face buying a trolly full of food that will end up going off and in the bin because I forgot to freeze it or our appetites change over the course of the week, or I'm unwell and can't manage to cook or eat anything.
I live with the dread of the landlord selling up or increasing our rent. It's a constant worry.
Nobody can be certain whether there will be funding to help with winter fuel costs, I'm already disgusted by the mould growth on our belongings since we moved here 18 months ago, because the house is difficult to heat aside from rationing the heating bills. I can see us still trying to claw our way out of the shortage in our budget after Christmas.
As it currently is, I've never felt so skint as this, in years.
I am looking forward to going back to work and for Christmas. I am looking to try and pay off my debts and face my fears.
So to manage my mental health and provide for my children, I plan, I plan and plan and plan. I plan for summer holidays, I play for Christmas, I plan for back to school, etc. I get bits n bobs for those goals whenever I can. But that's is all I can plan, a month in advance. I plan until Christmas, them the planning for birthdays and Easter and summer and Christmas start all over again.
But I can plan outside of that, that is for the kids and I prep and plan for them. But for myself or for other things like holidays, personal aspirations, etc. Those just don't exist for me. Morbid as it sounds the only things in my future I can guarantee is that I'll never be comfortable money wise and that eventually I'll die and not need to worry anymore about paying bills or if something breaks and I can't replace it. Real life planning doesn't exist for me. Maybe college, maybe work one day, but hard to imagine when I'm so much pain now that can't hardly get out of bed.
Well Christmas and new year are done, I no longer have to fake all the happiness and cheer to appease people who don’t understand life on a broken shoe string. We certainly didn’t have the “Traditional Perfect” Christmas that is shoved down our throats via tv, social media etc, but we were together and made sure the kids had as much fun as possible. We played board games, I searched new games we could play without it costing us anything, we snuggled in blankets and watched movies and scraped together some semblance of a Christmas dinner. I went to bed and sobbed out desperation. Knowing my kids had the best day I could manage for them but knowing they were going to be asked by their friends what they got and did while being told what the friends all got. My kids no longer have the magic of Christmas, even worse when we’re having to ration heat as well as food, gifts really do become an unnecessary burden.
My hopes are to get out of my consumer debt, I owe about 4k to credit cards and my goal is to get out of this by 2023. I managed to not add to this over Christmas which is a massive win for me. Another hope is getting a new job with a higher salary to try and help me not be so reliant on benefits. My fear - that the cost of living crisis means that I need to add to my debt and that we are unable to feed ourselves.
Finally pay day after Christmas - but it all seems to disappear already.
I have absolute zero motivation at the moment… the silly season is over and I’m already tired, I think last year’s tired could have come with…
A lovely time to spend with the people you love but also a time for hassle and stress, family arguments. Have I got enough? Where will my children spend it?
It's the most overrated commercialised time of year.
The support services close down for 2 weeks when they are needed most.
Benefits are paid at different times due to bank holidays and its easy to get caught up in the flurry of shoppers then overspend.
It's mentally exhausting calculating food costs and bills and the guilt of being unable to buy that extra treat. People will say they understand money worries and not to buy gifts, but will not invite you to their home to celebrate. I can only think because they are not honest and everything comes at a price, not unconditional love.
It's a huge relief when this time of year passes. It's lonely. There is no escape. It's cold. Nothing romantic about cleaning out the fireplace and not enough money to purchase bulk buy logs. Having to access food from a food bank and watch The King on TV Xmas Day congratulating volunteers who work in foodbanks for those in poverty. A man who dodged inheritance tax from his mother the late Queen. Who will have staff clean fireplaces and present top quality food and fine wines.
What will it take to change this unfair system of inequalities?
Considering the concerning times ahead, I have managed to put me worries aside for Christmas and all though the kids didn't get a huge hall like some of there friends they where so happy with the toys and clothes they received. It has been a lovely Christmas spent with family.
Seasons greetings to one & all. It's Thursday 29th of December and I've spent some quiet time reflecting on my finances over the Christmas period. Two words; Skinto Maxima! (Apologies to Harry Potter fans!) I managed to stick to budget with my boys, more of less. BUT in order to do so, I had to take out a Budgeting Loan with the DWP. I borrowed £812 - the maximum allowable & I've already started paying it back at a rate of £21 per week from my ESA. At least it's interest free. And to help my youngest son realise his dream to update his 10 year old near obsolete PC so it could keep pace with current gaming technology, I had to take out a loan over four years at 14.9% APR - which he will pay me back via his PIP allowance. Those were expected costs. They came as no surprise. Where the costs became less certain was due to spending our Christmas in Scotland. We had the most wonderful time with my eldest son and his partner. We had snow, we had presents & we spotted seals. But my son's girlfriend's family had spent a fortune on me & my son with their beautiful gifts & we couldn't reciprocate in kind - I felt ashamed of being poor & very much a cheapskate. I'm not used to being spoiled like that so I actually cried. In addition, when your family live so far away, the cost of getting there is very expensive - it's a round trip of 800 miles. I was glad that the diesel prices had dropped. The cost to go via train is unimaginable. But then on the way home because of snow, we had to detour 80 miles via Aberdeen - extra fuel we did not budget for. But we made it home safe & sound & overall, I needed the change of scenery so very much. It was worth it for the boost to mine & my youngest son's mental health. I'll get to grips with the finances in January.
So Christmas has been and gone. A bit hectic because my 9 year old son who is on the spectrum was suspended again for the second time in less that a month. I do believe schools aren’t equipped to deal with children who are trauma affected or who don’t fit inside a box. I’m afraid I may get in trouble with UC as I’m supposed to be actively looking for work and I don’t enjoy home schooling as I’m thick at Maths. I did stuff my child is doing now for GCSE so how times have changed. I feel utterly stupid when I’m teaching him as I had to re-educate myself with how to do angles, etc. I didn’t even know about factors etc. and I thought my home schooling days were well gone. I hate it. Yet I have no choice. During the pandemic we were all doing the same thing but this time round it’s a different type of force. We feel singled out as a family and pushed to the side. My son is a bright boy but his behaviour gets in the way and because he has no diagnosis although tested for ASD he doesn’t have a label and can’t gain assistance. It’s all very bizarre and the staff and I are arguing because I’m my sons voice and they aren’t listening. They aren’t listening to the fact that he doesn’t like being shoved inside a tent and told to sit there so other kids can learn. He doesn’t like being told he has a calm corner when no one else has one. He feels excluded rather than included and the suspension is a further exclusion and he is unable to not only each his full potential but to access the curriculum.