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.
If benefits didn't increase in line with inflation it would bring a very significant negative impact on me and my family.
We are already trying to make ends meet, scrimp and save. It would squeeze us further, there would be no money for social activities, health and exercise based activities, leisure /holidays just wouldn't be affordable.
The ripple effect of this would be a strain on our mental health and also, in the long run, our physical health and wellbeing will feel the detriment of this unfair economic situation.
I want to start by saying that I’m managing, that I’m not broken, but, that I know I can’t keep things going as the situation stands, without significant impacts.
That’s what I want to speak about, the impact of poverty on my physical and mental health. How, if I track my life from 2019 to now, I can see just how messed up things have become.
It wouldn’t matter how much money I had right now in a way, the damage is done.
Poverty, slowly but steadily, removes your true voice. It takes away the strength to fight, to believe that we are worthy.
Over time, our friends have stopped asking us to attend events, stopped inviting us to places because we cannot afford to join them. Our circle has reduced so much and as a single parent to a child with additional needs, that has slowly destroyed my sense of self worth and my ability to get out and try to enjoy life.
My body ‘feels’ broken. I am experiencing a very difficult menopause and despite multiple attempts to garner healthcare support, I am unable to due to a family history of cancer. I’ve given up asking. So I just suffer and I don’t use that word lightly.
I can’t properly care for myself any longer, and that is so very sad to me. I gave up smoking and drinking alcohol, I tried to eat healthily but it’s so expensive now.
I recently had a minor accident and really hurt my foot. I absorbed the pain and carried on because there is only me to take care of things. I found out from my doctor when I could finally get in, that I have a suspected hairline fracture on my foot. I’ve just carried on, because although rationally I know I need to rest, realistically, I can’t. I can’t afford to get help to do jobs in my home and I have no one to help with my son.
I absorb the pain and I think well this is all you can do, but it makes me so so sad that I even matter so little to myself now.
I am not the person I was in September 2019. When I finally had help with my son, I had a part time job, I had possibilities and a bit of hope. I was building back up after difficult times and honestly thought we can do this, things will get better, they haven’t.
Recently, my stepfather died and the devastating effects of that have hit me hard. I come from a fractured family and have no support at all from them. They hid his death and I found out by accident. I cannot tell you how that felt and as I add that to the mountain of suffocating beliefs that I don’t deserve better, I know that getting out of this dark place has become something I just cannot see.
Whilst I keep telling myself you aren’t broken, the reality is a very different story…
I’m trying hard to keep the faith and I support others through voluntary work and a listening ear, so it isn’t over, yet.
I wanted so much more for my son, how sad that so much greed and apathy to the lives of people on low incomes has rendered any dreams that I had, void.
I do think that we have survived a lot, and maybe we can get through. But the crisis in the actual ‘cost’ of living this way is far from over for so many of us.
Not even started to become over – how on earth are people saying that it is? If anything, for me, it's getting harder. I am trying to find a new place to live because my landlord is selling and like half of my town we're struggling. I don't earn or know anyone who earns 35x the rent!
Food is still massively over priced and still not able to buy a decent amount, just barely scraping by. Energy may have gone down but is still going to be extremely hard after the snow starts to come and its causing anxiety and panic, clothes are still so expensive that school uniform is still being brought due to how expensive it is and the fact we don't have enough to get it because we have no help.
Bills are still rising and debts still are outstanding for everyone I know! It's nowhere near over, if anything, it's got a small bit worse because not enough help has been given in the first place, and if the media is saying it's over then there's no way we will be ok. Inflation may be dropping but interest rates are still constantly going up and up, yet benefits are going down or being made harder to acquire when in need. We're all still skipping meals and going without so how is it over? The media should be ashamed and the government need to help not slip it under the rug.
The cost of living crisis is far from over. Just because the media portrays what it wants to does not mean it's true. The cost of petrol is going up to more than what it was at the peak. Gas and electric hasn't come down. No bills have come down. Everything's going up. My mobile phone bill, they went up 10%. That's not come down. Nothing's come down. Food shopping hasn't come down. Nothing. We're just having to survive any way we can. It's definitely not getting any better, if not worse. Nothing's changed.
Well. That went well. Further to my last diary entry about renewing my child benefit & tax credit claims online because my now 18 year old is staying in full time education, I didn't receive my child tax credit payment last Friday. I was expecting £180 - but received nothing. I was expecting to be able to pay my bills, but left floundering. I tried to access my Tax account online but was unable to. So I've just spent 50 minutes in total - most of that on hold to apprise HMRC of my situation. In order to do that I had to top up my phone. Oh! The irony! Turns out that my claim for Child Benefit had been updated, but the info somehow hadn't gone through for the Child Tax Credit department, even though it asks you if you want to inform them at the same time. Technology can be the bane of a benefit claimant's life. One mistake can upend your bank account & it takes up to 14 working days to put it right. Meanwhile, you're left adrift until the money comes through. Of course any arrears will be paid, but when you are in need, it feels like an eternity. It's a good job my 18 year old has received his PIP today - I'll have to borrow from him until it's all sorted. I shouldn't have to, but that's what you're reduced to. And you feel a constant failure as a parent as it's not my son's responsibility to keep us afloat.
4 years of not knowing how. Going through ups and downs of a breakdown of a marriage, shared parenting and downhill projection of what I would be financially capable of, and finally it was here - my first abroad holiday post divorce. Although I would have loved it with my kids, having that ‘Pray, Eat, Love’ movie moment was also necessary. I might not have had the endless pocket money to spend on things, putting presents to bring back for my kids the main priority, the experience of feeling refreshed was souvenir enough.
Finally what I wasn’t expecting, was that in Britain we might be complaining of the cost of living, but in the Mediterranean it is something they have come to terms with and just knuckle down and work as hard as they possibly can. Their restlessness inspires me that however my year will end, I will not give up on dreaming of getting to my end goal too and that is to be on the road back to work as well. Sometimes fresh inspiration is all you need to spark the innovative ways, in order to create your own opportunities in life. Cost of living will not continue to define the goals I haven’t achieved, anymore.
I've saved and saved to treat the kids this school holidays but with everything going up there was no chance I could afford the extortionate prices most places are charging and the fuel to get there.
I discovered vinted recently and although it's a lot of effort and hard work I've uploaded loads of the kids old clothes and shoes and my current clothes and shoes and made enough to take them on a treat day.
Honestly hope my kids never have to sell their own belongings when they are adults to treat their kids. But for now that's where I'm at
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.
How do I cope planning for the future?
I try not to think about the future too much. Financially it doesn't hold any hope for me at all right now. As a family we live from week to week and I financially plan each month as best I can. Any extra or unexpected costs have to be met from our already stretched budget.
If we stick to our routine, we can survive another month. Anything different that life throws at us is a real challenge and I worry.
This is really hard at the moment. Our mortgage is up for renewal in October, so that's a worry. Our weekly shop is incredibly expensive. Just for basics, we barely eat meat, and no exciting treats. No going out. We both work full-time and are looking at ways at increasing our income. Life shouldn't be this hard.
It sounds extreme but adequate income would be £3500. That includes rent, bills, food,car payments. No added extras