This month, thanks to a backdated pay rise lump sum which I got in December, I didn't get any Universal Credit at all.
It's a bit scary because as well as getting less UC, I'm getting about ⅓ of my former salary because my hours have changed. February is going to be VERY tight. We will manage, but the system is so stupid. How is a small amount extra I got before Christmas meant to last til the end of next month?
The car insurance is due in three weeks. I need to decide whether to put the whole year's cost on my credit card and hope I can clear it before the interest kicks in, or pay monthly but get charged more for the privilege. Not having a lot of money is expensive!
So my hopes and fears for 2023, for me and my daughter, hopefully things are now on track with our disabilities and our mental health, which is a good thing. My fears is the energy crisis. At the moment, I'm having remedial work done on an hour hour block of flat, and we're getting some EWI, which will make the buildings a lot cooler in the summer and a lot warmer in the winter. But we're not getting that till hopefully later this year, so that will help. But not quite yet. My fears only really are the energy prices, the gas prices. It's just ridiculous. I'm doing about 25, 30 pound a week just on gas on a prepaid meter, and I'm not even using my oven. I just can't afford to run the oven. It's just ridiculous. And I'm coming up a fixed plan on my electricity. So my electricity is going to double from about 60 to 70 a month to 120 to 140 a month, which definitely going to struggle on that one.
Seems to be on trend that Sunak wants to fix the cost of living crisis & the NHS by improving adult numeracy. When you live on a low income the problem is that you're too scared to look at your bank balance! It's not that you don't understand it.
When you live life on a low income it's takes great courage to scrutinise your spending habits or check your finances. At times it's far easier to remain in the dark about what's going on in your bank account & just hope for the best. Obviously something he's never had to think about before.
We have had a big clear out today and taken all the Christmas decorations down. Things look so bare now! It’s 14 days until we next get any money and we have £127 to last us. Our 6 year old could do with new school shoes but we are hoping they hold out until then. Electricity and gas is around £9 a day for us at the moment despite us really trying not to use it unless required. It’s crazy!
Our average cost of gas and electric has been £70 per week this winter. That is well over the "average cost" as stated by the government. I am not sure who the average cost applies to as we are 3 people who live in a tiny mid terrace house, have had the heating only 2 hours per day, thermostat set at 15C and are doing everything else to cut our energy use as much as possible. I am horrified that our energy now costs 30% of our total income. The price rise in April will be brutal.
Since the weather has been milder, I'm trying to understand how if I reduce the flow temperature of the central heating system I can afford to have the heating on for longer at a lower cost. Surely its as broad as its long? I'm not even certain we can tolerate the effects of reduction. Certainly, when we had the recent freezing temperatures we struggled to get warm no matter how long the heating was on for.
Last month I took full advantage of paying my bill by direct debit at an agreed monthly amount. I had no real choice but to do so. I hope to claw back costs over the summer months when we have a better idea of what help might be available. Previously I had been paying the full monthly cost on receipt of the bill but our usage has increased over the month & I saw it as a way to stall paying those bigger bills pronto. As to whether I can off set my winter bills over the summer months it's all 'swings & roundabouts' in my reckoning. Need a degree in mathematics to figure it all out or at least an interest in numbers & I hate all things numerical & I've only got a GCSEs grade!? Sigh!!!! So tired of this lark!!!
Cold snap means we've been using more heating oil... got worried we may run out, so ordered some using £180 payment for a bit of land my husband's family own between them (£180 twice a year) & Boiler Juice tank account fund we pay into each month - was being delivered Fri 30th Dec. Went to visit my parents 24th, came home Boxing Day as son wasn't sleeping as we changed room he stayed in now he's older/bigger (he has ASD & ADHD); got home to freezing house, with no hot water! Yep, heating oil had completely run out. Had to spend afternoon & night moving little heaters round the home to keep warm & filling bath with kettle about 15 times to wash. Put hot water bottle in son's bed for him, he cuddled it to sleep. We have electric blanket this year (given to us by my in-laws) which really helped. Heartbroken. Had to leave for in-laws early on 28th, meant to be going on 30th. Thank God we had somewhere else to go... sat in Spoons having a meal for 2.5 hrs on Tues 27th, so we could keep warm! We would have just bought the oil earlier, but we can never afford it until we have that land money, every Dec & June. Its ridiculous, we're both education professionals with 20 years experience each! We earn around 18k each a year.
During the very cold weather my currency has become 'Hours of Heating'. If I walk 2 miles to buy what I need for 50p less than at a closer shop then we can have the heating on for half an hour longer. So I walk.
How do you choose between getting your kids a birthday present or heating the home?
Or choosing between the food or the electric?
Or Christmas gifts or gas?
I save money when I can and even that never lasts. I don't understand how we're in a position where we have to choose again, we moved on a few hundred years.
At this rate we will be on rations as well.
Well today I’ve had a cry and made the decision to turn the heating off completely as there’s just no way I’m going to be able to afford the bill that’s going to be over £300 a month. Today I had the heating on at 16, cooked one meal and did 2 loads of washing early morning as well. The cost was £14.79 at 9pm, we went out for 4 hours too, I just can’t see a way through this.
We have quite a large extended family, and usually buy gifts for everyone. But this year we’ve done a secret Santa between the adults with a £50 limit. So we all get something we actually want rather than £20 little token gifts because everyone is skint. We will buy the kids gifts still.
My own kids are getting less than usual, normally £300 each roughly, there’s 3 of them. But this year they have £100 each.
We have bought a very small Christmas tree and will be doing a small Christmas dinner. Everything is still happening it’s just on a smaller scale. It’s hard to be festive when it’s costing £10-15 a day to have the heating and lights on.
Came home from work and I have £2 in my account, £2 on the electricity meter. What do you do? It’s a minimum of £5 top up on pay as you go! The £2 left is emergency credit… can’t sleep