Been an interesting few days, my last 3 weeks have been busy, going to Disney Paris with my partner and her children, attending court regards my children and no professionals turning up because the court forgot to send the order. My partner has a colonoscopy that went wrong and now I am in trepidation with regards Monday coming as I am back in court. Life if very on edge for me, I am struggling to know what to do for the best sometimes when though I think things will be better soon. Life definitely is throwing me some curve balls at the moment and I hope it will get easier soon.
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.
There’s a sadness to the end of the summer holidays approaching - which is odd really because I haven’t loved them. In fact, the sadness comes from my guilt at not having facilitated non-stop fun and activities throughout. We’ve managed a couple of days away (to a soggy coast) but generally we’ve been at home, whilst I’ve worked and the kids have entertained themselves. The pretty rubbish weather hasn’t forced me to spend on expensive activities inside so we have endured “pandemic, stay at home vibes” and done what we do best. Now in reflection I’m questioning if I should have done more…but I’m one person and I’m so tired!!! Maybe next summer will be different?
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.
As a single parent I’m reliant on my parents for childcare over the summer holidays. I cannot afford childcare for the extra time during the days. On top of the usual beginning of the school year expenses (uniform, school shoes and stationery), I have the additional cost of childcare for September.
Summertime is already an expensive time in general, the children do need the odd trip out, and this incurs further expenses. I am looking forward to the children returning to school.
Can another Bank holiday weekend get any more depressing. There is only so much you can do with a 17 year old that does not require money, even activities that are free? Require money for travel, etc. So for us, it's been another quiet weekend at home. I just want this to end so we can live some sort of normal meaningful life.
It's been a while since I've added another entry to my diary.
I'm too scared to check my bank balance these days. It takes real courage to face up to your finances when there's not enough to cover costs. It's easier to be ignorant in the hope it will all sort itself out on its own.
I've been unable to sleep ... I gave up trying to & have made a cuppa. The early morning stillness is just as restfully so I can think more clearly which has allowed me to reflect on the past few months. I've been so preoccupied during that time.
In July I eventually received the dreaded dwp envelope with instructions to complete another assessment form.
It's a much shorter form this time. Still I'm not attempting to fill it in myself no matter how knowledgeable I've become regarding these processes. Following a recommendation from my MP, I called the professionals in to help me with it. The appointment date to see someone was well after the return date for the form so I immediately needed to call up the dwp to request a return extension.
To begin with it was ridiculous that the form had a date which showed it took 2 weeks in the post to receive it which left me 2 weeks to return the darn thing ordinarily.
At least on this occasion I was ready to go to all out war with them if I wasn't given what I'm perfectly entitled to. Once the call handler told me I could have the usual 2 week extension I immediately informed her I couldn't even get an appointment to have help completing it until well after that date. She then told me she needed to speak to a manager & as quick as that she came back with a date to return the form some 6 weeks later.. Technically I've had about 2 months grace to complete & return it, which is incredibly long. Although I guess it's due to the fact that in some parts of the country the dwp have backlogs of work to process. In some regions people are waiting 12 to 18 months for their applications to even go through before further assessment.
This form, has meant I have had to dig long & deep into my mountains of medical records, past applications, new medical information about my health conditions, etc., in order to evidence proof & facts. Not simply a case of "innocent until proven guilty" more "guilty of fraud until proven otherwise".
Alongside all the effort to get my medical notes in order ready for scrutiny by the dwp - who are by no means medical experts, for if they had all the answers about my condition they'd be earning millions in medical research sharing their findings, not working as civil servants, (medical assessors earn £46,000 p/a alone, possibly before bonuses), we also had to hide from the bailiffs who turned up at my door for my middle son. So that wasn't very pleasant.
He uses the house as a care of address but hasn't made that clear to his creditors. So my youngest & I have been virtually like prisoners in our home until he eventually called up a debt helpline. (Only after nagging him to do so for months on end.)
After seeking advice on the issue myself, I only need to show any bailiffs a council tax bill - to prove he has never lived here - through a window rather than opening a door to them. I've found out bailiffs are supposed to exercise more understanding to vulnerable people. Nevertheless I still remain weary of unexpected visitors ready to point out the facts as they are.
Also I was in a dilemma with my car last month. It needed major repairs. It had to go. I had to look for another used car. Amazing that I found something suitable & managed to sell the old car too. This took a big chunk of my money to fund the change over. Still trying to recoup the costs. It will take a while for that to happen, obviously.
About the same time I also received a parking charge notice. Forgot to display my blue badge in a disabled parking bay. I was horrified. I immediately panicked & sent in my appeal to the agents ... which got knocked back. Next tried to call the landowners but no joy there either.
It was only in a casual chat with the MP's caseworker that they offered to chase it up for me & managed to get the charge dropped! I was over the moon. Could well do without paying £60 - £100 in fines! Told the case worker that's easily 2 weeks shopping!!
With all these things going on weighing heavy on my mind as well as family issues to help out with, it feels like there's hardly been any time to enjoy the school summer holidays.
We did manage a week away in a caravan. However I was wrapped up fighting the dvla to reclaim car tax exemption for the new used vehicle I recently purchased. Along with family demands we were expected to sort out even though we were on holiday, my son & I were left feeling harrassed & upset with everything that went on during the week.
So much so my son has recently suffered nightmares about another ongoing issue we face. We've been trying to find suitable alternative accommodation with social housing. Decent homes are few & far between.
This summer has felt like our worst year by far. As much as there is to be grateful for, there's equally as much I'd rather forget or not have to deal with.
I hope we can try to enjoy what time is still left before the return to school in a few weeks but given the friction between my immediate family, it's not likely to be easy going over a bank holiday weekend unless we hide or switch off the phone.
Hi, I just wanted to share a lovely story about how it feels to be supported, and, what happens when you are given a break and the money to enjoy that break.
We have just returned from a week away at a friend's caravan in Wales.
The weather was mostly fantastic, that made such a difference! That, and the money my friend also gave us to go away with. It changed everything so noticeably that I had to share it here.
We set off after some really difficult days of unexpected expense, pet illness and an issue with my car that cost me more than it should have done. I really do struggle to work out why people overcharge for services. It seems where you don’t understand the workings of something there is always room for tradespeople to overcharge you after scaring you half to death about what will happen if you don’t pay them to fix it! Anyway, that’s another story!
Our break began with a very easy drive to the caravan and a day of torrential rain which almost led to us returning home. My son has additional needs which impact any transition if it is difficult or happy, so handling that first, we then managed to smooth things out and begin one of the best holidays we have ever had!
Not having to worry about money meant that we could do more or less what we wanted! That meant I wasn’t uptight and worried for the whole time, it was an astonishing difference! So much that my son even noticed it.
We walked on the beach daily, we went to the market, we bought the food we wanted, we laughed we hugged and we snuggled down watching tv and spending unfettered time together.
He played out with friends and was an unworried child for the week.
We are so so lucky to have the friends we do, without whom we really would be totally isolated. Not having supportive family has been exhausting and led to some very low times.
I can’t say that everything is fixed because of the break, but I can say that my son and my relationship was given space and it was so fulfilling. I feel rested, positive and as though I can face life with less stress for a bit.
I’m grateful, on every level, and especially uplifted because my boy and I got to experience what life is like when you don’t have to worry about money all of the time. It was beautiful and it made me realise just how impactful it is living hand to mouth with a child.
You have to do a lot of budgeting both for summer holidays and new academic year.
Holidays/break from normal routines and environment is good for everyone's mental health - particularly if you are a single parent with low income, etc.
You want your children to have fun during holidays too and so you plan a holiday getaway (a budget one with almost no meals out). After you are back from your summer break, you make a list of things for the new academic year - uniforms, shoes, etc. Yes, all this can make you stressed and worried.
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
We have just broken up this weekend...and its raining!
In a way that is a relief because you do not need to go out anywhere and spend money. An ice-cream from the supermarket is much cheaper than from the kiosk at the coast. Not as much fun but at least I made good on my promise for an ice-cream.
Rainy days are not so bad - they are cheaper as I have things to keep the girls occupied.
Its when its sunny that I know this cost me more. They are of an age where they will go out with their mates and how can I refuse them the money to do this, especially as their friend's parents are not on benefits and money is less of a concern for them. I suppose they may also be being hit by the mortgage increases but I don't think that hits as hard if you are earning enough not to be on benefits.
I have tried planning all year for this break - we are not going away - but to save to buy treats. However, the cost of living crisis just eats away at a lot of what I intended to save. So there is less to go around.
Due to living cost rises people spend more money on their food as well as heating and able to save less for their family. So am I. This summer, I will not spend more on family holiday or activities rather than stay home with children and play indoor games.