Feel like I have a mountain to climb to rebuild my life from the bottom up. Literally starting again. One step at a time though. Feeling grateful for my lovely daughter and dog and my gorgeous new secure (and cheap!!) home.
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.
For people like us, the cost of living crisis is far from over. Just because inflation rates may have slowed slightly, this does not all of a sudden mean people who rely on in-work or out of work benefits can afford the basic costs of living. Again it is the media who are perpetuating this, and there are perhaps political reasons to do so. Surely if the crisis was over, then families like ours would not be paying a larger proportionate percentage of income for food, housing and energy.
This September has hit the hardest. I have had to make cuts to what I buy in terms of school uniform, eeking out last year’s tattered uniform and making do with items outgrown. The cost of childcare has increased too and that has put an enormous strain on my budget.
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.
Today, the Scottish Government released the latest homelessness statistics. The results are utterly shameful:
⬆️ A record number of children are living in temporary accommodation – 9,595
⬆️ A record number of households are living in temporary accommodation – 15,039
👨👩👧👦 45 children become homeless every day in Scotland
Scotland is in the grip of an unprecedented #HousingEmergency. We can’t wait a second longer for the Scottish Government to get its act together and commit to serious investment in delivering social homes.
Council Houses are such a mixed bag. Like as far as housing options go, council is the safest and cheapest generally, there's better tenancy security and free repairs. But the quality of said housing, the damp I have in my new place, the mould that keeps coming back no matter how often I scrub it off. The electric shower is older than I am and many of my neighbours report complaints with theirs, including one who said hers electrocuted her! Which was when council finally replaced it. My toilet leaks, my shower sometimes randomly doesn't work and the damp (all council say about the damp is that I should wash the mould away with mould killer, like duh, and I can paint it myself if I want to, but I'm physically unable to do so, plus it's their responsibility not mine) is only a matter of time 'til it affects my asthma. But it's still better than the private market, so councils can get away with not giving us safe homes cos what else can we do about it but make the best.
I've got a friend who therorises that councils deliberately want low level support to "undesirable persons" so we can die quicker and they don't have to pay our benefits anymore. Some days I can really see what she means.
I'm also having to do my own research and data collection, which is exhausting and will cost me quite a bit when I go to the library next week to print it off, cos the NHS mental health services don't want to acknowledge my diagnosis (they say that they don't like to give people labels but that's bull, what they don't want is liability) but I can't access the right services for my care needs because they keep saying one thing and doing another. So I'm having to fight for the care needs I need. It's so depressing, makes me feel unworthy of basic care support needs.
On a bright note, a friend gifted me a disabled toilet key and it's so helpful, made a huge difference. It's often the little things that make a big difference.
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.
So I'm definitely feeling the cost of living and the damage that was done by the Truss short period of time in office. My landlord is selling our home so we're having to find somewhere else to live – he told me Friday evening so not been able to get any help from any government or authority just yet, but I am blessed with a few good friends, who are already on the case and trying to help us, which has made me feel very emotional.
When we moved here, we thought it was for at least the next 10 years but because of the mortgage rises my landlord is selling up. He's a very good landlord and I'm very upset that we have to move, but I understand his situation and why he needs to sell – I just don't know what we're going to do. I don't have money to move, I don't have money for a deposit or anything and what's worrying me the most is everywhere I'm seeing online is £3000 and up per month. How is anyone able to afford this? I know my housing allowance won't. I can't work, I can't save, and I can't seem to find positivity from this. I'm scared we're going to be left homeless, or worse, in a damp mould filled property like last time.
It's scary and I don't know what the future holds for us or if we will have to relocate completely and uproot our entire lives or not. It's very upsetting. How is anyone meant to manage on the price increasing for absolutely everything? Housing isn't great where I am and £3000+ for a month to live in my town is so ridiculously overpriced. The government did this to us –why aren't they doing more to help?
Well, having both my kids off school, plus 1-yr old eating us out has been a nightmare. Don't get me wrong, love my kids to bits but all I hear is "I'm hungry, can I have a snack?" Any ideas, guys, plz? Anyway, we're still waiting on the house getting sorted – what a nightmare. Been here 5 months and still waiting for plasterers to come since we moved in.
Low income = financial insecurity
Cost of living = food insecurity
Interest rates rising = Home insecurity.
Increase in fuel costs= Further insecurity, cold winters, less travel in my car, less cooked meals .
All this creates serious anxiety for me when I begin to plan for my future.
We have the right to plan for our future, but when you are desperately trying to keep your head above the water on a daily basis its very hard to think ahead.
I am unable to plan for the future as my daughter with autism is 17 and she doesn't tick the boxes of the education or employment systems. Her support network pulled out after lockdowns and I'm left to care for her 24/7.
I have letters from DWP for reviews on disability benefits. The anxiety I go through when these letters come, is off the scale. How can I prove her and mine care needs? What if the benefits are reduced or withdrawn?
I'm muddling through paying rent and bills.
Citizens advice are overwhelmed and unable to see me for another 2 weeks to support me with review forms, past the date I need to supply the information.
For the last 5 years we have lived in 3 private rent homes. I have experienced the rug pulled from under us by landlords selling up or housing benefit cuts. Anxiety is now the norm. I'm heavily medicated with anti depressants. Constantly checking my bank acct. I've cut down our Sky package, and only pay rent, council tax and energy bills.
The atmosphere in the house is tense as my daughter is immature for her age and demands what I cannot give her. I'm mentally exhausted, worrying
Yeah, I struggle as well. Planning for the future, I'm lucky enough I'm in social housing, so I'm not affected by the mortgage rates going up or down, which is kind of a good thing, I guess, for me, although I would rather be a homeowner. But planning for the future I find very difficult. I'm disabled on benefits and just being able to save and stuff with all the bills I'm accumulating and the cost of living is a bit of a struggle right now.