It is hard enough living below the poverty line, surviving on benefits, if they don't rise with inflation it is effectively an income cut to the poorest people in UK society. We would have to make more difficult decisions about how to spread the same amount of money even further. We are stretched thin enough already and have been for years. It affects our family's health but I believe that is Government's intention and desire.
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.
No, I don't honestly think the cost of living crisis is over, the price of food and slightly petrol seems to still be sort of raising. It's not very steady, it's not very stable and obviously my bank now has decided I've got an online bank, online only bank. And they used to pay interest each month, few pennies. But now they've changed their way they do things and you now have to have a set minimum amount of money in that account before they pay interest. It just seems everyone is trying to penny pinch, even the major corporations. So no, it's not over by far.
What a week. I had my American family over and it did nothing but rain after the heat wave a few weeks ago. It was so nice to see them all but I had to watch my money which was embarrassing and I felt bad I couldn’t treat them. I did however do free stuff with them like go to an Art gallery and walk around the Titanic. I also took them on a walking tour of the murals on both sides of the community and they loved it and they didn’t have to pay for a tour as I knew so much about the murals as I grew up in the Belfast troubles. It’s the little things in life and I’m glad they had a fun day which didn’t cost any money but was precious as we all spent time together.
The month is celebrated when I have worked enough hours. Each month I am in a constant state of worry as to whether I’ve been given enough hours to not be answerable or at mercy to the DWP. Each month’s earnings fluctuate working on a zero hours contract. The government’s reasoning is that they are helping. This is not help, being answerable is punishment for earning a low wage, this is punishment for the lack of power and choice.
Finished from my agency job with less than 24 hours notice. Absolutely worried sick about my surviving all summer and buying my daughters new school uniforms, shoes and PE kit for September with no income.
I want to ask my MPs, how the unpaid carers can deal for the future with this situation because prices increase every day and with out stability for us. How we can survive?
Dealing with life's problems, it's like living on a hamster wheel. Sometimes everything's fast, sometimes slow, but forever constant.
There's no beginning, no end.
For months now, I'm compelled to wake up in the early hours, 3 nights a week, in order to check the social housing list... It's become so habitual, so engrained in my heart & soul I don't seem to be able to let go of looking online through tired eyes.
But If we could find somewhere more suitable, somewhere cheaper then I could save enough spare money to at least think about a replacement for the old unreliable car we have.
As if we haven't cut back on tons of life's little luxuries already & continue to unplug electrical appliances where ever we can or wash less often or deny ourselves fancy foods or a full meal or go without where we can. All in the name of the cost of living crisis.
This week for instance, a property came up. Weighing up all the pros & cons is easy enough. All without being able to see inside the place is a different matter. I want to bid on the place... I remind myself we need a real good reason to turn it down if I do bid... can I take the risk of bidding on it then getting to view it only to find it doesn't have all the things on our wish list? After all "beggars can't be choosers"
It's hard being a 'beggar'.
It's hard having to compromise.
Trading off one thing against another. Some outside space, for a more energy efficiency property? Or the security of social housing that's only a fraction cheaper to rent, compared to the insecurity of a rent increase at any point?
I have aspirations, this wasn't the life I imagined I'd be living. Yet here I am. Stuck on the loop of property poverty.
I'd best sleep on things... If only I could.
Having to change circumstances is a scary process, you never know if they're gonna stop your benefits or not, especially PIP, I've heard loads of stories of people being forced to reapply when they report a change in circumstances.
I've got an upcoming change in circumstances at the end of the month, it'll mean changing address, probably twice cos I'll be homeless for a while, I hope not long, and a reduction in my benefits of nearly £500. I'm lucky to have support from a local charity who's going to handle those phone calls for me and help me set up bills because I'm gonna be emotionally strained at the time, my mental health won't handle being homeless very well (triggers flashbacks of being homeless as a teen and sharing rooms in hostels with people taking drugs, drinking alcohol and violent - not to misunderstand I meant some amazing people when I was homeless and most turned to drugs or alcohol to cope with being homeless, most also protected me in my youth from copying them and I was only homeless for a few months but it was still very scary experience to have). I have to go through that again as an adult through no fault of my own but cos I was put in temporary accommodation which isn't a real contract but a licence meaning they only have to give 24 hour notice but gave a months, I'm bidding on homes but there's been nothing to bid on since early May, it's scary. Anyway, so I know I'll be at risk of mental health decline, I have a housing officer at local council who's trying to help me find a home there, I've local charity supporting and trying to push getting me a place, but can't give what's not there to give. So right now I feel homelessness, I fear loosing my benefits and I fear the uncertainty I face. Benefits are seldom straightforward and they often look for excuses to screw us over and we can't trust benefits services to be there when we absolutely need them, that's when they're most likely to screw us.
Things are tough enough & we're plodding along best we can when suddenly a big white goods bill lands on my lap.
We've been trying to cut costs to our budget left right & centre, for well over a year now. If not longer. Talk about the straw that breaks the camels back.
The vacuum cleaner is on the brink of failure. So is the iron. They've become unsafe & unreliable to use. These are not luxury items.. They are basic things needed with which to live a basic life. Also it's a matter of hygiene & self esteem that we are able to clean our home or iron our clothes..
Doesn't seem to matter to the government that we already live on peanuts in order to get by, its compounding the situation but we need them operating in order to function at home.
Whilst they may need simple maintenance carrying out on each it's not something anyone on a lower income relishes. They weren't "buy cheap buy twice" products to being with.
Replacements are a necessity which makes my stomach sink...
In an ideal world, we would have buffer money for unexpected occurrences. I'm not expecting extravagance. Right now, I'm considering selling these old items as spares or repairs just to raise some extra towards replacements although I'm not confident we'll make much. Also buying second hand items isn't the answer either longer term.
Last time we had the malfunction of an electrical item, namely the washing machine, we were fortunate enough to have the local church provide us with a pot of funding so we were able to afford a new machine with what we were given. No loans needed from the council or the DWP to repay. I hate owing money for anything. I only hope it out lasts the 12 years service we had with the previous one.
Beggars belief what we are expected to do to with no rainy day money to pay for emergency situations.
Coincidentally an audience member on "question time" this week who's a single parent, asked the panel of MPs, "when will it end?" As there's no "fun money at the end of the week" for him & his children, he went on to say.
People need a steady secure income in order to be able to budget properly. Not the uncertainty of irregular payments, or stop start finances, that comes with the current benefits system.
Not to have to gamble or juggle when balancing the books... is pretty much priceless in my opinion. Rather than having to take risks with your wages or the pounds in your pocket.
It's just helpful to know where you stand week in week out. I just want the peace of mind...
How is it helpful to anyone let alone low income families.
For people who rely on benefits, a change of circumstances can be anxiety inducing.
The only positive change in my case, was when I started working.
Instead I only had to worry about upfront childcare costs and the cost of travel to and from work. At least now, the costs of childcare will be paid upfront.
Changes in other circumstances and notifying the DWP is the cause of anguish. Your account is often on hold until an appointment for paperwork checking is completed. When there is a rent increase, but no actual increase to your award because of no increase to the local housing allowance, then the account is still put on hold until further documentation is submitted.
Capped again this month. Tough living a hand to mouth existence, and then being called in at the Jobcentre to explain myself again. As if the cap is not enough punishment already.
Zero hours contract. No control over how many hours I can work per month and employers are benefiting from this.
There’s an improvement for next month, as I have more hours - well enough to be released from the cap… But only for the next month. Who knows past that?!