The one-off payments this month was a God send, but with the higher cost of living, it vanished as quickly out as it had come in.
I had originally planned to try to pay a bit of debt here and there with it, but could only put a mere £50 towards my rent arrears before the very last of it would disappear into thin air.
When you have kids that are growing all the time, new clothes need replacing, shoes do-not fit anymore and schools different upcoming Christmas activities keep taking further costs, like making jam jars, or like this week, buying either a wine, soft drink or bath bubbles to go to a competition at the Christmas fair.
Great they have announced more help in the New Year, but if it’s going to be delayed by a couple of months like the November payment which was originally meant to come in the start of the school term at the end of September, making it long awaited and difficult to cover all the outgoing costs you might not have been able to have paid the month prior.
Woke to thick frost on ground outside.
The cold in the house hurts my skin.
Leaving my daughter to sleep longer to keep warm under the duvet.
It went towards paying my rent. Still not even close to managing financially, and no way out of that.
Has anyone else been left out of parent groups or spoken at rather than an equal conversation due to being the only single parent or low income parent amongst others?
Crying at the smart meter past few days, walking out of supermarkets to cry in car after paying, don’t know how we’re going to make it through the winter.
It has been easy to find information about the payment, however, I work part time. With the cost of everything going up the way it is, it’s simply not enough. It went towards paying some arrears. I have the heating on 17 degrees, did two loads of washing and used the hob for around 30 minutes yesterday and the air fryer for 12 minutes so that was lunch and dinner. Obviously the kids had TV on, my cost for the day was £11.34. That’s a pretty standard day, and it’s not that cold yet that the heating's having to do much but my monthly bill is already more than the cost of living payment that’s one month and we haven’t hit the coldest months yet. I am so worried. I’m even more worried for next year where they make it sound like the £900 is much more, however, they have taken away the £400 energy help for everyone. Bills will rise by at least 30 percent again in April, they will rise again before winter, my monthly bills will soon be the same cost as my rent. I can not afford that and food and clothes for my child. I just can’t, it’s not possible. If I work more, I have to pay more in childcare, petrol etc. I’ve done the maths there’s no way out, single parents and people living alone will not be able to cope with one income coming in, it’s impossible.
Thanks for asking the question about the cost of living payment, problem is I have had to use it to help pay back things I have got behind with and also prioritise what's gonna happen to us as a family for Christmas. Simple things like presents for the children which I am struggling for as they are getting older and prioritising what bills are more important. Things like, 'can we afford the heating costs?', so on and so forth. It's very much living hand to mouth at times and I can see this happening for the foreseeable future.
I have received this and it’s gone straight to pay my water, electric and gas bill. That’s it gone. I’m grateful for it but when there is no more help and no where to turn what do I do next month?
This [information event] would be good to attend but is an hour's drive away. Or, for those like myself who do not drive, a 5 hour round trip on
2 buses and no guarantee the bus will turn up.
Let's not forget the Conservatives licenced £34,00,000,000 worth of arms to Qatar since 2010
A shower to clean your body has become a luxury in 2002
Woke coughing this morning. Put heating on for 10 minutes and fell asleep. I'm angry with myself for that.
Weather has cleared. Strong winds forecast again for the weekend and the towns Xmas light switch on has been postponed 'til Sunday.
Black Friday today. I'm feeling guilty as can't afford to buy Xmas gifts today.
The pressure to buy a gift to donate for the Cash For Kids charity and donate prizes to tombola and raffle for kids dancing class is getting to me.
We are nearing the end of November, 4 weeks until Christmas. I can't wait for it all to be over. I will be off for 2 weeks, I know my January wages are going to be very low and my December wage is already 1 week down from Halloween break.
We, in N Ireland, still don't know when or even if we will see the same energy support the rest of the UK is already getting - no matter how many times we have been told it's coming!
I am tired. So tired.
...I just need work that pays that pulls us out of poverty! Is that so hard to ask.
I received my second payment and it's gone already. We still have not got the energy support here in N Ireland so money that I could be spending elsewhere is going into electric! I've had a few debts to pay that accumulated when I didn't get paid for nearly 3 months.
I'm tired of watching the pennies and just want to feel like my work is giving. Value to my life not just working to exist.
It's Carer's Rights Day.
Sadly council have no budgets to support the vulnerable and give carers a break.
If teachers who are on £30,000 per year think they are hard done by, they should try Carers Allowance at £69 a week, no breaks, no staffroom, no work colleagues.
I feel like I’m managing ok at the moment and I think that is thanks to the extra help I have received towards my energy bill and also the cost of living payment. I also received a letter confirming I will receive the warmer home payment of £150 in the new year.
It has really taken the pressure off me and with Christmas coming up this is another worry, especially when my kids are asking for electronics.
My car is making a noise which I’m having to ignore at the moment… hopefully it won’t be anything big 😊
I feel lucky that I’ve been able to use this one off payment to buy my children Christmas presents. Without it I really would have struggled to get them anything much for Christmas. Without it I would have had to sacrifice some of the weekly food shop bill. I feel a lot of pressure around Christmas so this has helped me loads.
It's a bit of breath in this difficult situation.
With all the prices up extremely, this payment gives me and my family a little relief with our bills.
I wasn't eligible for the first payment, even though I should have been, so this will be the first one I get. I definitely appreciate the help, but it's so confusing having multiple different schemes and different amounts of money coming at different times. I'm actually a benefits adviser and I still can't keep track of who gets what, how much and when. It seems like it would make a lot more sense just to increase the existing benefits. Personally I'd find it more useful to have the childcare benefits increased. It's wild to think that they're still capped at the amounts you could get when today's new university students were at nursery!
I haven't thought as far ahead as the next cost of living payment.
I feel I cannot plan or look forward to anything. I'm bumbling day to day checking what's in the bank account and buying what we need for a couple of days.
I rather this cost of greed nonsense would just stop.
The additional payment is certainly very welcome in my household. It was unexpected as I hadn’t been aware of the exact time it was due and Sod’s Law my fridge broke so at least I had the funds to replace this necessary item.
As appreciative as I am of the extra money, I am aware more than ever of my “poverty status” by being entitled to this. It’s another reminder that I live month to month (pay day to pay day) and that there is a lot of anxiety around affording life. I’m unable to focus on long term and short term, it's frightening.
Just a bit of positivity.
These times will pass and we grow to be stronger. You're all truly amazing and awesome even when you feel deflated.
The government have recognised people's financial circumstances and that's why they're paying this living cost and can continue after April 2023 which is good for us. I am very happy to get this payment as it is really needed in this tough time to survive, especially for families with children. People's hands are tight now and this little cash boost, boosts their morals as well as helping them buy their essential items, such as grocery shopping. I haven't checked my bank yet, whether it deposited or not, but I'm hoping so and looking forward to getting the next payment as well as other supports such as a food bank card and the provision of free school meals for all school age children.
This extra second one-off payment will help me to manage my family finance a little which is better than nothing. Currently, we are on a very tight family budget and always looking for the best bargain. This payment will help me to do extra grocery shopping as well as meeting energy cost. Thanks to the government for paying this amount.
I feel so silly, I put my emergency gas on, and left the heating on 19c overnight. Of course the temperature outside that night dropped, and I ended up wasting £6 in less then 24hrs on gas. I felt so silly and cross with my self, that £6 I can make last two to three days, if am careful and don't use my gas cooker.
Yes. I've not really heard much about a second payment. I'm assuming it's the second payment of the 650 pound energy payment of which I had mine last month, that I managed to pay for a lot of my Christmas this year. So I haven't been struggling on that. Although kind of semi regretting that now, because my gas I put my heating on has just gone up the roof. I'm on a prepayment meter with my gas and I really wish I put some money on that now instead of everything on Christmas. But if there is a second or third payment, I'm not quite sure. I need to look into what's happening. But, yeah, if I am lucky enough I'm due to get another payment or winter fuel payment, then that will all be on my gas, so I can have the heating on a lot longer. My heating goes on for about 20 minutes, half an hour approximately, takes a chill off and then we turn it back off again. I cannot afford to run it constantly. It goes off at night, we're sleeping, we don't need to heat at night, just stay warm in bed and it just goes in the evening when it gets colder, but not for terribly long. The other day, I accidentally left it on overnight and I did not have £6 of the day on my gas, which was an emergency, which I had just literally put on the day before. So, that was all part of stations to master some money together to pay that. But, yes, if I get another payment, it will just go on my heating, it will be on the gas so I can heat my property.
Another week of struggles but I'm trying not to be negative. The extra bit of government help I have enables me to heat the home. I have managed to get a few reduced pieces of meat which has helped with meals this week.
'One off cost of living payments'.
I had to search online that we would be eligible for the payment as the letters we received said we 'may' be, and when a payment 'may' be made. But until the money went into our account there was nothing definite, and it was not guaranteed. I wonder if this was deliberate?
Yes, receiving a one off payment is a help. It all has been or will be spent on the gas and electric meters so we can afford to put the heating on for an hour each evening, which we could not afford to do otherwise. I have also encouraged our daughter to put on the small heater in her room when she is studying there. She has been staying after school every evening to work where it is warm.
Although it is better than nothing, even with the cost of living support payments, our family is financially worse off than last year. The one off payments amount to less than the official rate of inflation, and with such a large proportion of our income spent on gas, electric and food, poorer families are disproportionately worse affected.
I think that if the government really wanted to tackle fuel poverty then they would be investing in UK renewable power, reinstating the home insulation schemes, close tax loop holes, stop subsidies for fossil fuels and invest in the green economy for a more certain future.
The one off payments are in no way a long term solution, they are not even an effective quick fix.
I appreciate the payments, but still haven't put heating on. Even though I have a disability. More concerned about rising food charges and feeding the kids.
My daughter and I are really starting to struggle with the cold weather that has now arrived. As we were struggling before the cost of living crisis I have no choice but to leave the heating switched off completely for the winter. We will instead try to keep as warm as possible with warm clothes and blankets. We were already struggling with gas and electric costs previously, despite being as frugal as possible. Last year, I barely switched on the heating, washed dishes with cold water and only used lights occasionally. I have now cut back to the bare minimum including a reduction in cooking meals, but I am still concerned that I will not be able to afford the bills when they arrive. This is going to be a tough winter which I should not have to expect my daughter to go through at such an important time in her life.
Whilst I'm most grateful to receive the next cost of living payment (as I've just learnt that I do qualify to receive it), I do think (after having received the first cost of living payment) it still isn't quite enough to help with the cost of my energy bills which are extremely expensive.
The second one-off payment has been a huge help to my family. Not just financially but emotionally. I know that I don't need to be stressed as much about paying my bills. I am very grateful. Thank you.
I was not aware that people on legacy benefits were going to get a cost of living payment! I was not given one the first time despite only receiving disability benefit as a single person and child benefit for my daughter. So this is going to be a long, hard and cold winter for the two of us. If we are awarded a payment after April this would make a huge difference to our lives, however, I won't think about that too much until I actually receive it.
This is awful news. Scotland has the resources to be independent.
I despise the idea of being controlled by the Eton lot down in Westminster.
The coldness in the house is hurting my hands. Sitting with duvets over us.
The rain is heavy and it's windy again.
The overflow exits for the multimillion pound flood defence project are closed, defeating the point.
A bit of a crazy week and it’s only Wednesday. Very cold in Belfast. I refuse to put the heating on because I need to keep it for the children. I used to get 36 units of gas for £20 and now I get only 11. It’s horrendous the way we are all living. I’m struggling with drying clothes as they all have to be dried over the radiators and with a very active son I wash nearly every day. There’s the task of turning the heating on simply to dry clothes. With Christmas round the corner and no changes in the gas hikes it’s looking very cold and bleak. I worry about when the children are off school as I’ll need to put the heating on more.
I’m glad they’re raising benefits and the £900 payment is welcome too, but I’m still worried about how much energy is going to cost in Winter 23/24, and there’s no cap on private renting increases. If our landlord massively increases our rent we are screwed!
What a week! Both my daughters school trainers and school shoes have fallen apart, which is brilliant when it’s raining every day! The false economy of cheaper shoes (they were from Marks and Spencer’s) is that they only last 3 months! Can’t afford super expensive ones, so I’ll probably be replacing the two new pairs I’ve bought today in the New Year.
I don't think it is enough to help people. Even if the increase was a lot more, by then people will already be over their heads in more debt trying to just about keep their heads above water.
I only received my UC yesterday which includes Limited Work Capability due to my fibromyalgia and I only have £100 left and I haven't even gotten groceries yet to provide for my two children, my cat and myself as well as having to keep a car going, heating in the house and electric.
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
Done my first big workshop with Changing Realities today, what an amazing group. One women said it's like a family and it honestly is such a good vibe and I feel like I learnt a lot.
It is so out of touch with reality. We are struggling daily with the costs rising how can we afford to continue living like this? People on the cusp of poverty and going to find themselves in poverty pretty quickly!
My 2 youngest children were exposed to COVID, at a birthday party 10 days ago. We've been testing the whole family since. As of yesterday, my other half and son, have shown up positive. In addition to the costs of illness, and isolating, we're now nearly out of the old free test kits. No way can we afford to buy more, not for our size of family. Too expensive, to keep ourselves, and others, safe? It shouldn't be like this.
Rubbish sleep last night. Cold and sore stomach. I'm eating high fat foods and drinking hot tea and coffee to warm up and my digestive system is sluggish.
Blue sky out there and sunshine. It makes a difference to my mood.
The Tories are bumbling and back tracking on decisions they have made, to allow energy companies to raise the prices, now realising that the UK are not amused and people will suffer.
I liken the statement from the chancellor to token gestures and promises from someone who wronged their partner and is trying to keep the bit on the side happy (energy companies) and the partner sweet.
Tories, just stop and leave, take responsibility and go.
There's been an upsetting story about the dangers of black mould in the news recently.
The dreadful consequences of this incident have sparked concerns for conditions in rented accommodation. We rent. Low-income family goes hand in hand with substandard housing and heating poverty. We have only lived in the property 8 months. We have discovered mould. Not just a small amount, treatable in unoccupied part of the house we live in. In fact, an alarming growth appeared growing over the contents of a built-in bedroom cupboard.
In fact, it would be more accurate to say a seaweed looking substance had completely engulfed several loose items of clothing and footwear that lay on the shoe rack or hung over the footwear. I was obviously concerned for our health as well as disturbed by the cost involved to replace spoiled garments. I removed all the offending articles cleaned what I felt was worthwhile or necessary and emailed my landlord's agent for their help.
It's not as though I was ignorant or oblivious to the signs. I had been on the lookout for damp spots since the end of the summer, like a night watchman at the sound of breaking glass.
Firstly, the regular draft sweeping in from underneath the cupboard door was enough to alert me to the reality that all was not right within the cupboard space. Unable to detect damp in the walls or carpet I considered lagging the walls with spare reflective sheeting sent to me free of charge courtesy of a local energy efficiency scheme. I wasn't really sure how to attach the sheeting to the walls without creating further damp, condensation or damage to the paintwork, so I had abandoned the idea, and opted for a wait and see what developed approach.
The property is probably 70 years old after all so these things are to be expected. In the summer, I even applied for grants and funding on offer to increase the energy rating of the property. However, I haven't heard back anything more about the wonderful possibilities of cavity wall insulation or installation of extra downstairs radiators or replacement of badly fitted double glazed units, because this could only take place if my landlord was prepared to pay one third of the overall cost. I can only guess he wasn't willing or able to do this.
To my further annoyance and concern there is also mould spreading rapidly in another room at the rear of the property. It's very obviously black mould on whitewashed brick walls. I can't pretend to be an expert at these matters, but I happen to understand enough to know the problem in one area can be managed, however, the second area is likely to require extensive treatments to put things right and make this room safe. No amount of leaving a back door open as ventilation at the risk of rats and mice taking up residence inside or heating the room would be enough to halt the growth of spores on my part. I believe the brick needs proper damp proofing for a start.
The following day, to my horror, I read an article, suggesting how landlords might well lay the blame for damp issues in rented accommodation on their tenants. For instance, not opening windows or utilising adequate heating, in addition, where there was substantial condensation using dehumidifiers.
In my mind, to lay blame on the tenants would be complete nonsense in light of the current cost of living crisis. Blame Mr Putin instead. Even the energy saving gurus currently advise, turn off radiators in rooms you don't use to save precious pennies on high-cost energy bills.
I can't speak for the living habits of everyone but, as far as my own situation goes, to the best of my knowledge, I've been doing all the right things. For instance, upstairs I've been keeping the cupboard doors open to allow the air to circulate more, the bedroom window has been left slightly open occasionally too. The bedroom is large and airy enough already. So far, so good, although, on inspection of the exterior wall to the room there is a small patch of exposed brick work which will definitely need attention. I'd say a very likely root cause of the issue there.
As for the rear room, there is no ventilation brick or otherwise. There is no heating appliance in there unless I resort to using a small electric fan heater which, whilst giving out great amounts of heat, also incurs great cost for what it's worth, because I might as well heat the whole shed and garden with the thing whilst I'm at it. As soon as the heat source is switched off its an igloo in there again. Not to mention, the amount of condensation that is produced in the walls floor and concreate ceiling creates a vicious circle of events.
All I can say is, in my humble opinion, the makeshift storeroom is poorly constructed to sad standards unsuitable for winter living.
Since the whole cost of living crisis kicked off, I can wholeheartedly say I totally welcome any government incentives to improve housing standards. A heavy-handed approach was needed to tackle issues before the energy crisis but more so now double quick. All part of the joys of living life on a low income.
Meanwhile still waiting for the agent to respond to my original email. Also, the boilers unexpectedly packed in on me 3 times this week which I've notified them of too. Ideal for me just as I'm starting to develop familiar symptoms associated with a reoccurring health problem too.
I’m personally relieved about benefits and the benefit cap being raised in line with inflation, although it’s a drop in the ocean for most families already struggling. And I was happy to hear about the £900 payment because I will be able to pay off a debt caused by a flaw in the Universal Credit which means you end up with zero income for a month when your maternity allowance ends. So personally I am just relieved it’s not worse. I am lucky that I’m on a fixed price energy contract until October 2023. But after that - I have no idea how I’ll afford heating next year. I’m glad I’m having a baby this winter and not next year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the precarity of renting lately. A couple of weeks ago I started painting my daughter’s room with anti-mould paint, because last year there was a damp problem in my rented flat. I run a dehumidifier every night and open the windows during the day to reduce humidity, but the problem is the poor quality of the building. Last winter I was constantly cleaning off mould with bleach, having to be vigilant to stay on top of it developing all the time. So this year I have repainted with an anti-mould additive.
As I was working in my daughter’s room I noticed the lining paper was peeling off and when I peeled it back I discovered a serious mould problem underneath it. She hasn’t been sleeping in here because she’s only 1 and still sleeps in my room, but we play in here every day. I felt so sick upon seeing it, knowing that she’d been exposed to it. For so many people mould and damp are a battle every day. The reporting around the devastating case of Awaab Ishak hasn’t left my mind. I spoke to my daughter’s dad about it and he told me that when he complained about mould in a previous housing association flat, they said he must be causing it by cooking lots of rice in open pots, because he’s Caribbean. The assumption from landlords is always that it’s the tenant’s fault - of course, it was not him cooking rice, it was a leak in the ceiling which was eventually discovered and fixed. Landlords - who are lucky enough to live in bigger, better ventilated homes, who can afford heating and to run extractor fans, and who can afford to pay someone to fix any issues that arise promptly, associate poverty with dirtiness, ineptness, stupidity. It’s always the tenant’s fault in their eyes, and in his case as in the case of Awaab, the disdain they show for tenants is often racist, ablist and misogynist.
My mum asked me why I don’t get the landlord to fix the damp problem but the truth is I’m too scared to. I felt so lucky to find a landlord who’d take me on without referencing checks, as I’d taken out a debt relief order when I got divorced and so my credit score is awful, and as a single parent on benefits. I don’t want to do anything that would make me a “difficult” tenant. I know it’s wrong, and if we don’t stand up to landlords and request that they fulfil their duties, we are not addressing the problem. But I don’t feel safe enough to do it. And with a toddler and another baby on the way, I can’t risk being evicted. So I deal with things myself. A friend came over to strip the wallpaper with me, to kill the mould and re-paint in the anti-mould paint. The dehumidifier is on every night. I think about Awaab Ishak’s parents all the time.
Reading the news, the outrage about the “squeezed middle” suffering from higher inflation and higher mortgage payments, is making me very angry. it seems as though only care about poverty and quality of life when it starts affecting middle class people. It’s ok for the “scroungers”, the foreigners, the disabled, the “lazy” and “work-shy”, the single mums, to be struggle every day of their life - they deserve it. But when a middle class person has to switch from Waitrose to Aldi, well that's unacceptable. I’m a PhD student and do some lecturing work, and spend a lot of time in middle-class spaces, but my family is working class and poor, and my mum was only 14 when she had me. I was the first person in my extended family, both sides, to go to university. I feel as though I’ve spent my life on a different side of an invisible divide from my university friends and colleagues who are all middle-class, from comfortably well-off families, who had parental help with house deposits and university fees. They’re kind people but they’re oblivious at best and judgmental at worst of those of us on benefits. Poverty affects every aspect of how you see and experience the world and it’s amazing how so many people ignore it, or just cannot see its structural causes and assume that it is the individual’s fault and failing.
I'm absolutely freezing. I have two jumpers and a dressing gown and a blanket. The thermostat says 12 degrees. I am too scared to put the heating on even though people with multiple sclerosis should ideally be at 18/9 degrees all the time. I have to save the money given from the government for when it gets really cold. No chance I would use heating without kids at home.
The Chancellor's Autum budget statement last week seems a generous gesture on the surface. I'm glad they appear to have listened, but when I think about it, there is a general election in 2 years, it would be counterproductive for them not to help. From experience, I have no faith in government. I've no trust in them. You don't get something for nothing.
Although I'm grateful benefits are rising in line with inflation and cost of living payments are increasing for disabled people and there will be further payments for lower income folk.
For most people, it will at least take some of the sting out of spending which might go some way to remove the fear the cost-of-living crisis has created.
However, it's a double-edged sword as we aren't due to receive this financial assistance until spring 2023 at the earliest. In truth, life on a low income means constant compromise as we don't know what might happen next week never mind next year. The fridge may pack in, or you could be subject to a rent increase, or you could encounter any other unpredictable event.
A long cold challenging winter lies ahead of us.
Energy bills are already on the increase whilst temperatures are on the decrease.
Vulnerable and low-income families need a more permanent solution now. Last week's announcements need to be followed up to protect people this winter as well as winters to come. We need more robust long-term action to reassure people fast. To my mind this budget does next to nothing to address the insane over inflated costs to the public or company profits, gained from a war.
I'm on the way to work for a shocking 10 pound and hour I'm currently worse off by nearly 50 pound a week by working. But it is good for my mental health, if I didn't go to work I would lose the plot.
It's too little too late if you ask me we can't just survive until April on the support we're currently getting when everything is rising how will we cope? I just don't know. I've recently downloaded an app called 'look energy', it tells you how much electricity I'm using and it's showing nearly ten pound a day.
Very cold 2° this morning.
News today emerges that people are paying £175 per night to stay in a tent in the fans village to watch the 'World Cup' football in Qatar.
Yet immigrants, fleeing wars are staying in tent villages for free as they are caught at borders.
The financial statement was as telling in what was not mentioned as what was said. Huge tax loop holes left wide open for exploitation by the biggest corporations, the super wealthy and the energy companies that have massively profited from war. Yet our government choose to focus on squeezing every last penny from the lowest and middle income workers of the UK by freezing tax allowance brackets. Yes, benefits and pensions will rise by 10% but the rate of inflation is still rising and the increase to payments will not begin until next April. Who knows what inflation will be by then! We will still be worse off in real terms and any future increase will not help us get through this winter.
Working families, low and middle earners are being squeezed too tightly, wages are not rising with inflation, and the tax allowance bracket freezes mean any wage increase will disappear into the Tory black hole before they ever reach workers' bank accounts.
Living standards have fallen, life expectancy has reduced and the tax burden on the working class is the greatest in living memory alongside a huge increase in the wealth and number of billionaires who live (tax free) in the UK.
It struck me that none of the MPs themselves will be affected by any of the harsh measures they have just implemented. Yet again, our government protects their own interests and investments at the expense of the survival, health and wellbeing of the general public. I am appalled but not at all surprised.
Revolution is the only solution.
I am a single parent of 12 year old boy.
His birthday was last week and for the first time I was not able to give him a gift just a cake and a card.
He said, 'mum I know you are struggling and gave me a hug'.
I cried that night. It hurts.
I am working for the NHS and still don't have money to have a gift for my son?
Life is not about struggling and suffering.
I am not happy with the statement, it makes me angry.
How I am going to manage and how I am going to pay energy bills?
I have no clue.
Why there is no permanent solution?
I have a comment regarding Benefits part of J Hunt's statement: UC and meeting up with job coaches. In my experience, coaches tend to put pressure on those who are unemployed rather than empowering them. As a government, we need to look at the root causes of unemployment and deal with those first. For example, take single parents on benefits and unemployed. Single parents are vulnerable: financially, emotionally and physically. Having a job that interferes with your parenting hours is stressful and is not good for your own and your children's welfare. Parenting for single parents is extra challenging. We need to take these factors into account and create opportunities/jobs that suit single parents. At the same time, nurturing a culture of responsibility for your own life is also important. Consumerism/materialism needs to be dethroned. But we all need a little bit of help at some points in our lives.
The good thing is that minimum wages will be increased and downside is tax will be increase as well. So, what is the point of these increases then? If we can't keep extra cash in our hand then how can we manage our household expenditure? There will be benefits cut also in the future and government spending cuts brings this living cost worse. Together we can overcome this crisis soon hopefully.
The budget - I haven't really caught up with fully and properly yet myself, although it is good news that the benefit rates are going up. Unfortunately I am on PIP and my youngest daughter is on disability living allowance and I'm her way to care, even though we both might love and care for each other. So from my point of view the benefits going up is good. Although we have more than enough to live off, we are very fortunate and very lucky. The energy costs are worrying me slightly. I've noticed my gas isn't lasting as long as it used to. I'm no longer using my cooker to save gas and just use it for heating. I am using an air fryer and my microwave a lot more due to the cost of gas and electricity. I have smart bulbs and smart plugs all around my house. If somebody's not in a room, they get turned off. So I make sure we're not wasting energy on my TV and everything else gets turned off at night at the plug to save energy. But my major concern is the gas. Although I do worry about the energy costs going up, I feel that is where we are going to struggle a lot more. I can't really cut my food bill down much more than I already have. I try and feed two of us between 40 to 50 pound a week. I cannot really cut that down anymore. So I am worried about my energy bills on especially gas.
I am bit hopeful that benefits will increase in line with inflation which helps us to run our family in this very hard time. Extra cash in hand can give us morale as well as financial support. But the government should think of long term help for people on low income as they are suffering the most from this living cost crisis and energy bill hike.
Money given again to each household feels like another sticking plaster. Nationalise utilities again. Stop feeding the energy companies coffers. More and more people are struggling. So many living in fear of not being able to afford things. It's miserable living in the UK at the moment. Let's get some real long term solutions such as our own renewable energy.
Ooh! Where to begin? Firstly, as alluded to in a previous diary entry, the current Energy Price Guarantee aka energy cap nor any future price cap has no effect on me because I don't use the average amount of energy a "normal" household uses - I use much less. My annual energy review came back that I only spent £1132 per year to the end of October. However, even if I don't use any more my gas & electric charges will still rise - gas will double & electricity will rise by over 30%, which is a big blow. What's helping at the moment is the £66 per month fuel discount, but that ends in February. Thankfully the Chancellor has finally decided to increase the "Windfall Tax" energy providers from 25% to with a 35% levy on oil and gas company profits & until March 2028. But nonsensically, he is also levying the low carbon emitting producers too, which is ludicrous!
Thankfully I will still qualify for this years Warm Home Discount & any Cold Weather Payments that fall due. BUT wouldn't it be a better system if Social Security was sufficient enough for everyone to be able to pay their bills without piecemeal applications of extra funding here, there & everywhere? Better still, I think the energy companies should be renationalised (yes - I'm old enough to remember when they were nationalised!)so they benefit the people, not the shareholders & fat cat CEO's.
Secondly, quite frankly I was shocked that Jeremy Hunt will be increasing benefits by 10.1% - based in Septembers inflation rate. It means approximately an extra £30 per week to someone like me, which coincidentally (ironically?) makes up for the deduction from my Employment Support Allowance because I receive Carers Allowance for caring for my 17 yo. BUT - READ THE FINE PRINT - 1. it won't kick in till next April's new financial year, which is too late to cope with the demands this oncoming winter may bring. 2. Inflation has already reached 11.1% so we're worse off by 1 % already. 3. Due to longstanding benefit caps & freezes over the years previously it only brings social security level up to what they should have been for years. Furthermore, it's noted that the Chancellor said the DWP will receive £280 million to tackle fraud and error. So there's the old stereotype raising it's ugly head that we in receipt of Social Security are liars & cheat the system when it is well documented that when tax evasion by the wealthy is much more of a problem. Yet that doesn't get discussed at all.
And this raises another problem for us in receipt of Social Security - the "squeezed middle" income earners of the UK - already I've seen social media posts claiming how unfair the budget is to them, especially if we claimants are getting uplifts. So we are starting to suffer a fresh wave of hate & discrimination. The sad thing is that it needn't be that way there's plenty of money to go around - it's just whosoever is in power is deciding on the wrong priorities, which, for this Tory Government is ensuring they & their wealthy donors are becoming even richer.
Hit rock bottom today. Over limit charge on one of my credit cards that I hadn't anticipated and not enough cash in the bank to pay it off. Had already withdrawn what was left of my ISA so I'd have cash but that takes several days to come through. Just found out this after argument with 17 year old about lack of money - normally we borrow off each other till payday but today I now daren't ask. It was more a me listening, him venting his spleen sort of moment. What he says is right. The lack of money impacts on his hopes and dreams too. It's "only" £15 I need to find, but I just can't do it. Normally I'd be in floods of tears, but I'm just numb to it all. At least living with chronic depression has that benefit; you don't feel happy but you don't feel sad either.
The governments autumn statement seems like it will make things more challenging for people who work, especially if taxes will be rising.
I think the chancellor has tried to do his very best to balance things, and to be as fair as possible, especially against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis.
I think Jeremy Hunt is also trying his best to reverse the measures that were made during and after the mini budget.
Smart meters are very enlightening;
My baseline electricity usage when it's just the fridge and freezer switched on, the landline phone, landing light, anything on standby or charging and my 17yo's LED lighting and fan (white noise) which helps him to sleep better is 4 pence per hour.
As I don't usually have the gas central heating on it is usually zero - but like today it was 36 pence per hour just to warm the house up to 18 degrees so it is a little more comfortable. Electricity to run the boiler and pump etc is 11p per hour on top.
Oven cooking a meal on gas mark 6 is 15p per hour. And when I do, I don't put the heating on as I let the cooker warm the house up.
Other electricity expenses I've noticed include:
Kettle - 75p per hour
Dishwasher - 49p per hour
Washer - 18p per hour on eco mode
Electric Fire (not that I ever use it) - 71 p per hour
As per my recent energy review, my bill for the year totalled as follows
Gas = £350 for 5712 KW Hours which was approximately half the UK average. Next year because there are no decent tariffs to switch to my energy provider is suggesting my usage will cost £689 per year if I use the same amount - so my bill is projected to double in spite of the same usage.
Electricity £824 for 2880 KW Hours - which was about the national average. Next year as above, my bill is projected to be £1132 - over a third more!
It feels like we are being held to ransom by the energy companies. I, for one am grateful for the help the Government has given with the extra cost of living payments, but we need a more permanent sustained solution to solve the cost of energy crisis.
Starting to feel vulnerable. Nobody has been in touch to check our safety and wellbeing during this storm.
Actor Brian Cox is on TV with his program 'How the Other Half Live'. Exploring the wealth divide, a documentary that looks at how money changes people and how it brings people together, whether it is good or bad.
He spoke to a billionaire who pays his taxes and also says that the law allows him not to pay more, even though he could. He didn't say if he gave to charity.
An interesting watch.
I think Jeremy Hunt was pressured into the decisions he made but in saying that I am happy to hear help with energy cost will be more targeted. Sadly by the time April comes I worry the 10.1% will pale in comparison to where inflation will be.
I’ve came on to talk about how I felt about the letter to the Prime Minister. Gave me all kinds of emotions. Had my arms prickling with goosebumps. Definitely think it did what it was aimed at doing. Sad that this is the world we’re living in but well done to all involved. Amazing. Be proud of yourselves because I’m proud of you all.
I watched some of it. All the amounts and percentages they talk about confuses me. I heard we’re getting an increase in line with inflation and that’s good. The benefit cap doesn’t affect me and as far as I know it isn’t being applied in Northern Ireland as of yet. Overall what I took from it though and what has me miserable is how he hammered it home how crap the next few years are going to be.
It really means more misery, there isn’t really a means to an end. How will we ever get out of this black hole that we are in now? Will life ever be affordable just to live?
I can't believe how prices are skyrocketing. I bought a particular fish barely three weeks ago at 4 pounds per kg and went back today to buy same fish from same shop only to see that its now 10pounds per kg. This cost of living issue is getting out of hand.
I was pretty energy conscious before the energy crisis were in now. I was already using the bare minimum, however, when the energy support was added I noticed my energy consumption was nearly quadruple what I had been using daily. I check my usage daily and it charged my 20 pound for 3 days I rang the company Scottish power and told them they can't charge me extra because I have extra on my meter. I use between £2.79 and £3.05 a day and have been since the price rise and before that it was even less so. Because I've been given money to help are you taking more? The company looked into it and it is now consuming my money at a lower rate but everyone should watch their meters and check daily as several people I know are being charged through the roof with the energy price support being given and it's only lasting them a week. I've already gone round and made their energy consumption a lot lower and gave them tips to reduce their energy consumption but theirs is lasting a week and mine is lasting for nearly 3 because I rang and complained they took more. My mother is still waiting for her October payment and now this month's on top of that. I've rang every 4 days and made them aware but they are saying they have sent it to the office it will be on in 5 days and it's not on. They're saying that another company is responsible for adding the government support to the meters but we're getting no where. She's only spending £2.15 per day as I do her energy footprint myself and everything in her flat is energy efficient and she uses the very minimum she can but she admitted to me that she is skipping hot meals because she's scared the cooker will cost too much. I try to convince her this won't happen and I will help her with her electric but she doesn't like asking me for money as I am not on very much myself but I would help if she asked me to. I'm thinking of moving her in with me til the winter is over because of how badly she is struggling the energy support from the government. It will help her a lot but they still are withholding it for no reason and it's starting to get completely stressful. Normally I would move to the energy company SSE but they are pushing my buttons now they are saying my mum's electric per day will rise to £5.16 in April. That's a mad crazy 74% rise in everyone's tariffs as of April for SSE customers. I asked them flat out, 'do you have no humanity?' No one will be able to keep the lights on for that price. Do the CEOs know they will see so many people die. Can they live with that? They should be ashamed, Scottish Power was awful at first but they are taking notice of what the people are facing and are quite reasonable to me anyways but SSE are shockingly terrible and even worst since they joined the OVO group.
Kids having tuna pasta for tea when home I think as easy quick and not cost a lot so it's a win win and my 4 year old loves it x
Just make sure my kids turn things of like TV, lights, etc., as they forget a lot.
We're eating through electricity. Turning off all lights and plugs not in use. Have also resorted to using lights that we can put rechargeable batteries in. Still using in excess of £20 a week.
Gas isn't so bad. So glad that we've got multiple walls on other properties and upstairs as it helps keep the warmth in. Dreading it getting colder though.
So a busy hectic week is almost over. I'm so thankful my child is in school! This week started with a pest problem. Weevils everywhere.
Spoke to the housing association who said we had to deal with it and then they'll come in to fix everything that needs done.
So pest exterminator has been in and we're £140 out of pocket. Alongside that we had to stay out of the house because it needed to be clear for 6 hours after the treatment had been put down. Went out for dinner at Pizza Express because I had offers for it. But that's put paid to doing anything out at the weekend.
Roll on next week and more money coming in. I've now to get through the weekend without spending anything.... this could be fun.
I'm wondering how on earth we are all going to survive this crisis? I'm tired of fighting the power struggles required for people to take notice of what really needs to change. Why do people of a more deprived area not have their voice heard? People higher up only care if it affects them.
Genuinely super annoyed at how Covid has made so many places less accessible and impossible to navigate. I don't understand why services are struggling. Why are more people not employed to tackle it all? The crisis for mental health is massive and the kids mental health is extensive. There is no care for those who are at risk and vulnerable because the case load is too large. Can't get a GP appointment and no one cares what happens.
Thanks to the warm weather we've had in November, I didn't actually start to put my central heating on until November 4th. So I've managed not to use it until after the clocks went back an hour in October. When I do put it on, the house temperature has usually dropped to 13.5 degrees Celsius. At this point, even if I'm wearing my Oodie, my hands and feet have become painfully cold and I stiffen up considerably due to arthritic changes. Either that or I start to fall asleep. If I have things to do, I put the heating on; if not - I go to bed to warm up. I currently pay £115 per month via direct debit for my gas and electricity. I have a smart meter, so I am well aware of what we are using. I am thankful for the £400 Energy rebate, which is being applied to my energy account at £66 per month until next year - it is helping a lot. I also qualify for Cold Weather Payments plus Warm Home Discount (England & Wales) which, unlike previous years, I've had to apply for, but it's being rolled out to those eligible automatically this year. That's now £150 on top of all the help we are receiving already. And quite right too. BUT I am very conscious that I am lucky - there are still people nationwide falling through the gaps. Yet even though my annual energy statement has come in at a total of £1174; £350 for gas - half the national average and £824 for electricity - similar to average UK consumption. It still does not explain why the energy company wants to increase my direct debit to £191! Before my review it was as high as £270. I continue to resist any changes to my direct debit payment as it is so unnecessary and would plunge me into additional hardship, so I continue to ration my energy use too - I heat our home up to 18 degrees Celsius then the heating is off until the next day.
Home shopping delivery did not have milk as it's out of stock.
Walked to Co-Op for milk, a large container that costs £1.00 last year is now £1.65.
Bleach that was 45p is now £1.30.
I am now being more careful of what groceries I pick up.
Also the difference from major supermarkets out of town to the one local store in a small rural town is a lot.
I’m worried. I’ve not put the heating on yet and our energy usage is down. But the energy company sent our estimated bill and next time it will be almost double, despite using less.
Managed to find a group that gives free food every Monday morning. I felt kind of awkward and embarrassed but the people were great. I came away with a bag of veg and fruit, and some bread for my son. There were lots of things that would have been great but I didn’t want to be cheeky. It’ll be such a useful resource and help me get more veg and fruit into my diet. Even buying basics from the supermarket, fresh fruit and veg is really pricey and I’ve had to cut back on it.
I can use the mushier fruit to make smoothies for the kids. It feels like a treat for them and it’s a useful snack.
Cold cold cold
Temperatures reduced dramatically in the weather recently
House is so cold
I can see my breath
I have my coat on
Sitting in the house freezing until children come home when I will only put my hearing on for an hour
Can’t believe this is my life
My 13 year old daughter hates getting up in the morning as she’s so so cold
My son doesn’t really notice it because I change him in bed when he is wrapped in blankets
This is a terrible way to live
The hike and energy cost has greatly affected me and my family. I'm not really putting on the gas very much and my children are often really cold. I'm cold during the day when they're at school. It was really hard there on the Halloween half term break, what I would normally get for £10 now on gas, I have to pay £30 to get the same amount. I don't ever know when it's going to stop. I do believe that Northern Ireland is hit more than any other part of the UK, mainly as well, because we're not getting any help or support towards these prices. Electric has gone up dramatically and the children and I are more conscious about turning off lights, just really trying to conserve energy. It really does feel like you're in poverty. What's really concerning is that things are not a luxury. Your electric is a luxury, your heating is a luxury. And on top of that, the Christmas holiday is coming up and the children will be off for longer and the pressures that are on parents is unreal. I would be very interested in the mental health of children and adults. It is concerning that this will have a domino effect on people's mental health, the rise in energy cost, because people simply cannot and will not be able to afford it. And there is not enough resources out there to help struggling families. And I do feel that there could possibly be fatalities because people just can't cope with what life is helping them with. And that is so sad in the 21st century and it is so appalling that as a society, this is what happened.
What a week.
My son faces suspension and he is only 9 - he has wee anger issues and no one seems to be able to help. I can’t home school again if he is suspended as it was tough the last time. It’s a challenge, his behaviour, but it appears there aren’t enough resources out there. Nightmare and now I’m worried about Christmas and with the cost of living I haven’t even started preparing and it’s causing me immense anxiety.
HARD TIMES EH!
Very happy today as I have managed to find that will help me with my daughter. She has been struggling with what we think is Autism, we've been on a waiting list for her to be diagnosed officially for years. The charity has counselling and even though they have a four month waiting list, I feel I have made some progress. The waiting lists for help are so long, I am worried about her, especially as she has GCSEs this year.
Flooding, trees down, at least power is still on at present.
After each storm the council bow to be prepared for future ones. Prepared to do what? Nothing has changed.
It is the autumn budget tomorrow.
Many charities have appealed for common sense and to support the lowest income earners.
Many are demanding to tax wealthy companies.
I don't feel hopeful.
Energy prices are what everyone one is talking about presently. I see it, I read about it and it’s sent my anxiety skyrocketing. Our energy bill has increased and it has taken a huge chunk from essential expenditure. We’ve been without heating before and this year will be no better. Except, I seem to be paying more for still no heating. At least in London it’s still pretty warm for this time of the year. Not quite hot water bottle weather.
Here comes the rain again.
Thank goodness for grocery delivery drivers who are the unsung heroes out in all weather's.
Why does life have to be so hard! Electricity is costing me the earth, food prices are pushing me closer and closer to the brink! Having to listen to my children tell me they are cold and/or hungry is running on a loop. I am sick of seeing the PREFECT Christmas adverts on TV knowing my boys are not going to get anything like that. In fact, this year is worse than last year. Prices are spiralling that badly I’m not even sure I will be able to provide anything for them. It’s crushing me.
I’m not coping well with the energy costs. It’s now costing a minimum of £50 a week for electric and I cannot keep up, I have many electrical adaptations to the house to help me live a normal a life as possible that cannot be turned off.
Universal credit sucks but the people who work there aren't inhumane. My work coach is always kind and empathetic, even if their hands are often tied by the system. This week I applied for an advance to cover Christmas costs, they told me they can't help with Christmas costs, so we went back and forth a while on what I can and can't use advance for, carefully phased to find things I can get it for that I do genuinely need but we both knew I'd use the money for Christmas. So, I got an advance to cover Christmas because the person helped me find the right request to ask for. It shouldn't be so hard to get a loan when you literally have nowhere else to get loans from on benefits. But got it, so Christmas is sorted now, it'll be a fun but simple Christmas. I'm pulling out as many stops as I can, by DIYing most of it, but it'll be special to kids all the same.
I read the letter for the PM that was written by the group. It’s excellent. Incredibly heartfelt and honest. I don’t expect anything significant to come from it. I don’t think politicians care. And if a reply is given, it’ll be something standard and robotic. But well done to everyone who contributed.
A very pleasant surprise for a change. I have for a long time struggled with the cost of school meals as I do not qualify for free school meals due to receiving legacy benefits. I was advised to contact the school directly who were not aware of the struggles we are facing. They have very kindly given my daughter a bursary payable to her directly each month of term times to help with the cost of schools meals and books required for her studies. This is a huge help and has taken some worry away from the struggles of feeding my daughter. I think it should be far easier to find out what help is available to struggling families, all in one place and easy to access.
This past week has been horrendous, I spent 4 days in hospital and need an operation, which has been declined by the NHS for the past 3 years. My only option is to go private with a cost of 8,000+ to gain a quality of life and hopefully get back into full time work. I come home to a leak in the bathroom. With no spare money to repair the damages caused in the bathroom. I'm hoping it will make do until after Christmas.
Been a really hard day today again, thinking about where the next lot of money is going to come from and how to get through to the next day and what cheap tea can I think of again that is still filling and satisfying. That’s if I can get enough money so I can eat tomorrow. As long as the kids have everything they need then that’s ok, but what I wouldn’t give to have a meal everyday. It would be nice for just one day not to have the constant feeling of panic and horror about the next day and then the feeling of guilt for not being able to cope properly when other people do.
Just off a zoom after speaking to ITV about the issues N Ireland are experiencing with receiving in terms of equality in the energy support. There is a sense we are being used as collateral damage but that can cost lives. Funny how the cap could work but they cant get the £400 OUT.
Thankfully the energy cap has kicked in here, in N Ireland, as well as the rest of the UK. Unfortunately, the energy support hasn't and many are struggling as they had budgeted this into their winter bills. I am thankful that my landlord put solar panels in so I benefit a little bit but only when we have good daylight and i'm at work most of the day so only get the benefit at the weekends. But it means I can cook and get housework done and it won't cost me as much.
After two weeks of agony with a tooth, which developed into an abscess then swollen glands etc., I had no choice but to take an emergency private appointment at a local dentist. Next emergency on NHS was January 2023! I felt pretty close to collapse and feeling really ill. The bill total was £220 for tooth removal and antibiotics - sad to say I had to pay on a credit card. Today I feel so bereft and sad about the state of this country, luckily I had a credit card but the other option was being extremely unwell and ending up in hospital with sepsis - where is the logic? How many others are experiencing these kind of issues - 6 months and still waiting for document to say I can have free NHS dental care - I am self employed.
Finally I am working and have two jobs to ensure I can at least pay rent, nursery and put food on the table. UC don't help much and will take any little bit from you and leave you penniless. I wish I was at a point where I didn't need them at all... My taxes are what is the greatest killer... Nearly £13000 😔 over and above all of that I have to pay an umbrella company, my own NI and the companies NI and a £25pw fee to the company for their service and an apprenticeship fee... Goodness how is anyone meant to survive.
Only just! I calculate my bills every month so I can pay for all bills, rent, council tax, etc.
Leaves not a lot left for food. Can’t take kids out anywhere and can’t afford clothes for them.
Panicking on how I can afford Christmas! I have three children and I just don’t want to upset them. I’m avoiding eating much as to give food to my kids. Just done another food shop and price of food has gone up again! It’s getting crazy!
Need to dry the tears from my eyes before my son comes home from school. I don't want him to worry about me. I've spent the day crying on and off. At breaking point with it all. Catch 22 situation. It all stems from the impact of one thing though whichever way I look at it. I need a way out of this stinking situation though. Can't help but wonder "what did I do wrong to deserve this much misfortune"?
It seems things are continually stacked against us disabled people. I've postponed appointments we both needed to attend. With appointment waiting times long, too, it's a decision I wasn't happy to make. I can't access transport to hospital for a patient study day. I can't afford the cost in a taxi, that would be madness. I can't get a lift from family or friends. Public transport takes too long with 3 separate bus journeys I couldn't manage with or without help. The hospital budgets probably can't cover my expenses either. I was looking forward to connecting in person with other patients and medical experts. I went to the effort of chasing up an invitation to attend. So it's really frustrating for me. There's plainly nothing to tap into for me to help me get out and about at all because I can't even get to a photobooth for a passport style photo to apply for a disabled bus service. Everything I need to do takes great effort and costs more money than I can spare to get there and back.
It's definitely a sign of the times when everywhere you turn there's people feeling the pinch. My own car taking 5 weeks so far to do simple repairs, because more people are looking to have their cars repaired on the cheap. If I thought I could pay the mechanic more, I would just tell him to stop putting me to the back of the queue.
To add insult to injury, having just finished another supermarket shop, I'm astonished at the cost of basic online groceries. The last driver to deliver here told me most customers are stocking up for Christmas. The mere mention of 'that' word is depressing me. There's no chance I will order fresh fruit veg or alike online because you more often than not get rubbish sent out. I had to bin all the bananas they sent me last time I bothered to order them. Put me off ordering anymore. Its diabolical enough throwing any of our unused food in the bin but I often have to. More recently I've simply not had the appetite to eat much or just don't seem to notice when I do feel hungry.
I was due to hear back from the local MPs case worker about the cost-of-living email I sent, but that's not happened. The reply was originally promising. I was asked permission to read my letter out in parliament. Last week I was able to feedback to the charity who fund the befriending lady to call me. I so hope the service doesn't get withdrawn. Quite simply my days don't get much more exciting than this. All bar the chair yoga classes I started recently the isolation is astoundingly surreal. Even the small cost of the class leaves me debating whether to pay it each week or give it a miss.
At home, I've exhausted every avenue on the cost cutting exercises there is, so nowt' more I can do there. I'm anticipating the upcoming budget to deliver more unwelcome news for us all. I already fight a daily battle other people can't see. I wonder what new hell awaits us next.
Feeling really depressed. I'm feeling restricted and so strained. I'm feeling more depressed when I think about how much money I use on food. I can't tell my kids we can't afford to eat so much so I'm going to have to try to cut money somewhere else but my son soils himself and always needs new boxers and I can't afford them. Soon I'm gonna have to say we can't have any snacks or nice food so he can have underwear. I don't suppose it will change anytime soon but it's really getting to me right now.
Things are ok at the moment. I have redundancy looming which is very stressful for me but I’m trying not to let it get to me too much. I have noticed a huge difference with the cost of my weekly shop, I feel like prices have risen so much, I have to be really careful what I buy now and I have even had to stop buying certain products. I did order a 'Hello Fresh' box this week that was on offer for £11 for 6 meals, that helps bring the cost of my weekly shop down but this was just a one off as the full price is £30 plus.
I feel at the moment I am coping alright. I don’t have a direct debit anymore as it was too much so at the moment I pay for what I use. Currently I wait for the £66 from the government to go on and then I pay the remainder which for the past 2 months has been £40. I have started using the heating more so I am expecting it to go up but the money from the government is a huge help to me. I have also had a letter confirming I will receive £150 warmer home discount so hopefully I will be able to stay on top of my bills and avoid getting into debt which is what I was expecting.
A celebrity? No a politician who made deliberate decisions that impacted the lives of millions of people.
Today I did my mandatory reconsideration form for PIP for a second time, with the help of a charity writing it. I feel they may use better words. All my friends with PIP have high level. I don't understand why I don't. The symptoms I have can be awful. Unable to leave my bed. Passing out. Relying on my 72 year old mum to take kids to school. I need extra help and I'm worried what will happen when my mum can't help me. I really hope they listen this time. I feel desperate.
Can’t sleep, so worried about money. It will be Christmas soon. How can I afford food and heating. Can’t even think about presents for the children.
Recently I've been feeling more miserable as well as cold. It's been 5 long weeks we've been waiting for our car to be repaired. Its getting me down. In fact, it's been 6 weeks since it actually broke down but no sign of its return yet which is outrageous, but hands are tied now. I'm totally stuck without it for getting out especially for medical appointments. Juggling appointments with school, it's pointless my son attending one or the other by the time it takes to get there and back. Consequently, we've had to postpone several appointments already. It's too challenging to navigate the journeys. The car has been problematic since I bought it which speaks volumes about my life. Obviously bought it second hand on good faith a few years ago. I did consider getting a car on the mobility scheme but didn't wish to be held to ransom by the DWP when they decide to re-assess me again. The process for assessment is stressful and difficult enough to endure. Having to prove how disabled people actually are is lengthy complicated despicable and demoralising.
For the majority of the time, I've been stuck at home, cold - isolated as well as skint due to not knowing how much the car repairs will cost. More worryingly, not knowing how much any of our future energy or shopping bills will cost is a huge worry. It's the absolute uncertainty I find most difficult to deal with.
Speaking of difficulties, I wonder whether when the chancellor speaks of making difficult decisions, he means difficult for low-income people and the vulnerable not for him, not difficult for the super wealthy either it seems. They've benefitted for over a decade already.
What will they be sacrificing for the sake of their children over the remainder of the year. Heating a second home perhaps?
We recently received the second cost of living payment, the same day my son brings home from school, a letter about next year's trip abroad he's longing to go on. Some of the pupils he's at school with have regular foreign holidays several times a year. Delighted for them, but for comparison, one of his friends was on a 5-week world cruise throughout the summer. No competing with that in my shoes.
The distribution of wealth in this country is so wrong. I can no longer accept that working families are having to subsidise their incomes with a visit to a foodbank. From the moment they were first needed things ought to have changed course there and then. I wish we lived in a world where not a single one of them was needed. It's absolutely disgraceful that here in 21st century working people need to depend on charity to feed themselves and their children. Whilst others have more money than they are able to spend in 100 years or more.
Millionaire and billionaire are not legitimate job descriptions. They are a description of a person who hoards more wealth and resources than they need. There is a term for this in native American language. "Wetiko" or greed is considered a serious psychological malfunction, an illness.
Speaking of malfunction, to the best of my knowledge, it seems nobody in government is willing to discuss what caused the recession even to the point where news reporters no longer refer to the cost-of-living crisis as such but are re branding it a "current tough trading environment". Tactical move I suspect to shake off the psychological associations we ordinary folk face up to day to day.
There are plenty of tax options to raise this money we need. Cutting services and tax rises on ordinary people is totally unnecessary and so very wrong.
For a start, Germany has introduced unlimited train travel for £1.40 per day.
Spain is offering users, free train travel until the end of 2023.
Why are we not embracing similar ideas here? What about taking public transport into public ownership? Double whammy to cut fares and emissions at the same time.
On a more positive note, we've recently made some savings of our own.
We've actually managed to keep our energy usage down to the bear minimum last week with the help of milder weather. Kidding myself this budgeting method will suffice when we have such a long colder way to go. Also took the plunge and purchased a multi cooking pot /air fry with the money we've saved on petrol since not been using the car, every cloud has a silver lining. Unbelievably it has proved so worthwhile having bought it, despite taking a gamble it doesn't end up cheaper in upcoming sales, as it cooks in far less time than your traditional oven and cooker top, if for no other reason than it doesn't take half a lifetime to heat up first.
Also, I've been proactive, chasing up a couple of outstanding payments I was due. One of which, a missing payment from over 2 years ago but when you live hand to mouth with Christmas on the horizon, chasing a few pounds here or there, it becomes necessary for survival. If survival is all there is to look forward to, think I'll be extinct from hyperthermia before too long. There's only so much feeling cold day to day I can take when pain levels are through the roof. Not as though I can hibernate till spring. My body is aching from the prolonged cold, and I'm constantly fatigued. So much so I'm taking more medication to counteract the unpleasant symptoms and not getting up so easily to see my son off to school. I really need to increase the time the heating is switched on for. Holding off, isn't good for my health, the alternative isn't good for my wealth.
I am not coping, I have not yet turned the heating on. We sit at night with blankets and slippers. It’s pretty miserable to be honest. My electricity is the same, we try not to have too many lights on and go to bed early. I’m always worried as I am on pre payment and have to have the money first. So we go without to make sure we have enough electricity.
Most important to me is my family and my children. Life on a low income as a single parent is very hard and the way things are at the moment things are extremely difficult. It can be very lonely with no help and not wanting to put the heating on in case you can’t afford to pay the bill.
Asking for help 7 or 8 times and we don't receive any and then social work are called for welfare concerns. I'm having mental breakdowns daily.
Not well at all. Struggling to feed the kids with the rising costs. There's no treats for us at the moment as it's all on food and electricity.
Luckily we are in front as of the government payment otherwise, we'd probably be in more debt. But, we just try to keep reminding the kids to turn lights off, etc.
Today I had my two older children help make tea. My daughter loves to cook but as things go up it's becoming a lot harder to cook things. My son only helped about 1 min.
A day spent doing housework and chores. I'm glad £3 spent on sweets and a couple of drinks was well received by my daughter and her friend. At least it kept them busy and out if the house for a bit and meant she was happy.
Dinner was leftovers, not the best option but at least everyone is happy and I've not thrown out too much food this week.
Been fortunate to have a spell of unusually mild weather for November so able to keep the heating off.
I don't want to think about bills. The whole situation is depressing me.
Other countries in the EU have reduced public transport fares to support the environment and lessen the need to use a car.
Yet the UK have not done so.
Let's talk about food and the change in supermarkets law.
Not only is inflation so high we cannot keep up but the change in what promotional foods can be and where within the shop is surely having a massive impact for these in poverty.
I agree that non-healthy foods should be kept away from impulse area's within the shop and this new law states that healthy foods should be in these places and thus on promotions. My understooding on this is that the price will drop overall, so become more accessible for these who stuggle financially. This is not what I have seen. Food considered as heathly or balanced is still expensive. For example, I have seen the top quality bacon on offer where this is still to expensive for people to buy. So it is possible these new laws and promotions have been implemented for the right reasons but only help these who are already affording the "right dietary" foods?
And then there's people with intolerances and allergies?
Despite all the hardships my daughter and I are going through, I was so proud this morning when she stood in front of our local church congregation to read a poem for the remembrance service. Unfortunately, I do not posses any clothes suitable to wear to church on a day like this but thanks to the internet I was able to watch on their internet live feed. I am so proud and know that my daughter will grow to be strong and kind in life and to others and hopefully makes a real differnce to her own and others lives.
Hi. The energy price increase hasn't really affected the way I do anything because I've always done things this way. So the case that we don't have the heating on until it hits about eleven degrees in the house, and therefore I only have it on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening at the absolute max. All my switches are off. That's not used. Anything down to a minimum. The lights only go on when it's dark or we use LED lights, so the outage is really low anyway. Yeah, so it is what it is, I think. The government's help with the help of the energy crisis has helped me dramatically. I've not seen this help yet, shall we say, because I haven't really had the heating on or anything. So really lucky so far. It's an incredibly mild winter autumn. This may change as soon as the years become quite warm anyway, so we don't tend to see the harsh weather to back end of December into February. Bit further on now, so I see how it goes. It is what it is and you can only do what you can do, and I am trying to do the absolute bare minimum of a cold. We're cold. We just put layers on if needs be, coat on. So, yeah, that's it. See you.
Today we're 2 weeks post-covid, we're still struggling to go out and about and paying far more into heating and electricity than we would normally because of it. On the plus side we cant smell or taste properly so not eating as much so saving money there.
Our meltdown of the day has been about wanting to go out. But if we go out in the car we won't have the petrol for school runs by the end of the week.
The rising cost of energy is getting difficult. We had to wait for the £66 from October until this week, due to our supplier mucking us around, it's difficult to know when to put on the heating with the children getting up for school and moaning about how cold it is and thinking about how much it's gonna cost to turn it on. It's getting difficult to know what to do for the best at times when the children run in and out the door and don't always close it behind them and trying to make them understand that costs are going up is not easy as they really don't understand. I hope the government will do more to help families but I won't hold my breath.
With the energy cost prices at the moment, I'm on pre-payment for my gas which I'm happy about... The only thing I've noticed is my electric bill, due to the government's monthly payments, is I'm actually in credit by £4 on my electric. I pay monthly by the bill due to medical conditions. I can't have that prepaid because I use medical equipment even though I have a debt on the account with them or by the three figures which I've got arrangement plan for my normal monthly gas bill. So my normal monthly electric bill, I'm actually in credit with by £4 due to the government payment mainly because I have a Smart Bug Smart plugs and if things aren't in use, they will get turned off at the TV or the lights so that's my big way of saving electricity.
Struggled to get out of bed today.
Weather is unusually warm for this time of year but my home is cold.
Drafts from windows and down the chimney.
I am beyond furious that Matt Hancock has entered the jungle on 'I'm a Celebrity.' He is not a celebrity. He is a Member of Parliament that should be at home working for the people he is supposed to represent. What was once a program I could watch to escape reality has now turned into yet another reminder of how little respect our government has for the electorate.
Is very difficult to cope with this situation, the prices are increasing a lot. I cant work because I am the main carer for my mother (she's 79 years old with dementia) and my son (6 years old with special needs). Our income is very low in the family which generates a lot stress and worry about our lives.
I have become more conscious and maybe a bit paranoid with how much we use energy at home. I have started encouraging all my children sit in the same room (in the evenings) rather than having lights on all over the house. I will feel stressed if we received high energy bills.
I was charged £240 for October's gas and electric. This is the most I've ever paid and I only turned the heating on a couple of times for about 30 minutes. My daily rate in October was around £8 but this week every day has cost less around £10 in gas and electric.... I still haven't used the heating this week.
I'm really scared. Prices just keep going up and I don't have enough money. I already know I need to top up at least another £80 to get me through November before I get paid.
I don't understand how I've spent so much. Some mornings I wake up at 6am and the daily use is already at £1.70, other mornings I can wake at 6am and it's at £2.70 and I haven't used anything over night. I just don't get where the money is going. I'm so worried about what happens when it actually gets cold and I need to put the heating on. My youngest child has asthma and cold weather has caused him to have breathing troubles before, he's often admitted to hospital in winter and I know this winter will be bad.
The worry is affecting my mental health. I've so much financial pressure and I've no way out, it's just getting worse. It's affecting my children too, you can see they are getting depressed as we scale back in everything.
The whole state of everything going up in price week by week is destroying families like me. We're on our knees broken.
Had multiple appointments at different places which means several transportation fairs. I had a limited amount to spare so I had to trek several miles. Got home so tired and unable to do much for the rest of the day. Such is our world right now. Dying in silence.
Nowadays, it's very hard to cope with energy bills. It is completely going opposite direction between our income and energy prices. Recently, I have to stopped boiling water for our daily drink which I have been having since 20 years after coming to the UK. Energy price rise forced me to stop my habit. Anyway, now I am more conscious about saving energy and coping with these high bills by cutting other non essential spending such as outing, eat out, clothing etc. which affecting our mental health being. Hoping for good days to come soon.
Especially with kids, you know, how they always mess up their clothing and so on. Because the energy cost is very high, you have to try to calculate when to wash and when not to wash to ensure you don't have to pay too much. It's really a big challenge right now, but hopefully we will manage.
Hi, coping with energy prices is very challenging, especially when my children are home, like during the holidays. This is because they tend to use more energy when they are home and the library is closed and they can't study there, so have to study at home instead.
Having the electric on most of the day is very expensive for me, and so is the gas especially if its a cold day outside.
In order to help combat this, we try to wear extra layers on around the house, so that we are not as cold when we are home.
Energy prices are too high and we cautiously use energy nowadays. Switch off the light most of the time when not needed or when no one is in the room. Energy costs are higher for families with children as children are using energy more for their education such as on laptop or mobile devices and occupy more rooms with light on. We switch everything off when the children are not at home. I put all the children in a same room to save electricity. Children are getting frustrated by following this new house rule and I am getting frustrated also for the same reason by telling to save energy or save money.
This year has opened my eyes somewhat, I went through a relationship breakdown and found myself a single mum for the first time of 5 children 4 of whom have additional needs. The 6 week wait for Universal Credit was tough and not once asked, "are you ok? How are you managing with finances?" The not knowing when I was going to get a payment was stressful and not knowing what I would get was equally an anxious thought. But I've managed as I have good family and friends to support me but I do feel for people who have no one to help them whilst they wait the 6 weeks. They must be beside themselves. Yeah, you can ask for an advanced payment - creating a debt before you’re even paid. The system needs to change, people need help quicker.
What am I doing to save on my energy bills? What am I not doing. Switching everything off at the plugs. Not putting my lamps on or the lights under the kitchen cupboards. Boiling the kettle then putting what is left in a flask for the rest of the day. Putting a blanket round my legs instead of putting the heat on.
It’s only the past few weeks needing the heating on that I’ve realised the raised cost, I have a card meter and it’s costing double what it did a year ago. There is no way we can go without heating so are forced to pay more on the card. Who would of thought the cold weather could make those struggling already be more in the poverty line due to the high costs? It’s shocking that in 2022 people are having to chose between heating or eating.
This is causing a big problem for us. Having four children it is costing us a fortune to keep the electric on and we are finding ourselves short each week now. The heating is on for very little time if on at all and we are telling the children to add more clothes.
Energy costs are higher for families with children, especially babies and younger children. More laundry, showers and baths, heating, cooking.
School uniform and sports kit have to be washed and dried at the end of each week which is two loads of laundry extra in our house. I am wearing clothes for longer than I would like, to help limit the amount of laundry and clothes are washed cold now. We are not able to have our heating on as it is too expensive, we wear dressing gowns or extra clothing indoors instead. I shower as quickly as possible (2-3 minutes) to keep the cost down, I only boil the kettle if someone else wants a hot drink too. I batch cook and put several things in the oven whenever I turn it on and cook meals in the slow cooker as much as possible.
These measures mean that our house is cold, we no longer invite friends over. Every action is carefully considered and costed, nothing is done that would waste energy and we use only what is strictly necessary.
Scrimping like this does have a negative effect on us all. We are more isolated, spend less time with our friends and family. We feel scruffy and self conscious when our clothes are not as fresh and clean as we would like them to feel. I spend more time in bed just keeping warm when our house should be warm enough for us to move about comfortably. I wake up in the night worrying about money and know how much it costs to use every single appliance. My standard of self care and wellbeing has declined but I am trying to ensure that our daughter's does not. We are surviving but not really living, let alone thriving.
I have only just received my £66 payment for November from the energy support payment, however, the October payment never came and the wait on the phone to speak to my energy supplier is over 2 hours.
We still haven’t switched on our heating, and the weather feels much colder today. I have instead bought my children hot water bottles to take to bed instead.
In answer to big question of the week, I think we are just about coping with energy prices. It certainly doesn't fill me with pride joy or relief to say so. More like fear. It's largely down to the fact we're being extremely frugal with usage recently. It's not always the case and I doubt families with younger children would find it easy to live like this with all the washing and cleaning up that goes hand in hand with babies and children. They generate tons of the stuff. They need nurture not, neglect.
For instance, this week the milder weather provided an opportunity to do without switching any heating on at all for one night at least. I've sat in a cold house each day, whilst my son was at school, determined to do without heating for as long as I could tolerate it. There comes a point in the day where the air inside feels so chilly my hair reacts uncontrollably to it which is most unusual. You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd been out for a walk in the frosty weather in a woolly hat and yanked it off. Also, I didn't bother to shower or bathe at all last week unashamed as I am but there you go.
I really can't see how we've got a lot of choice when it comes to saving what and when we can on energy usage, and I begrudge having to do so. It's totally unsustainable long term not to mention depressing and frustrating.
Although, personally, I'd rather go without using any energy than get into debt for it. Call me old fashioned but I'm loathed to be in debt to anyone. I simply wouldn't sleep at night if I owed money to someone.
As for whether energy prices are higher for families with children, my answer would have to be a resounding yes.
In 2022 it's not unreasonable to expect a basic standard of living. We certainly didn't even consider setting off fireworks this year. Although I dare say plenty of families with younger children did do and I hope they were enjoyed as all the free local council displays were cancelled around here.
The impact it's all having on our lives feels "Dickensian", "Victorian" and practically "prehistoric". After all who would think here in 2022 we could be sitting in homes we couldn't even afford to heat? Whatever next? Had we best brace ourselves for life on the streets in a tent? I doubt our early ancestors would be impressed by our progress as a species. Having to second guess everything we spend is getting tedious now. Don't even mention Christmas around the corner. I'm completely puzzled at how some folks are all stocked up on alcohol presents and food already.
At least from that perspective it's good for unintentional weight loss.
I can't recall the last time we went out anywhere for pleasure or did anything for fun.
When I think about it, we've been living like this for months if not years already. I hate to think I'm a charity case but if it weren't for the kindness of others, we'd have been far worse off now than we are. Reaching out is hard I'm no beggar.
My own child likes to engage in the online gaming community in some of his downtime. How or why should he be denied of that? Children both young and old are individuals with their own social emotional and physical needs yet here we are as parents, scrimping and saving to make ends meet in any way we can. It's creating unpleasant tension at home between us.
For example, one morning I came down to discover the TV and streaming box had been left plugged in overnight. I completely flipped my lid about it. My son had been last person downstairs before bedtime. "Why did he forget to unplug?" I thought to myself. Imagine freaking out at him about it though. They say, "what you give attention to you get more of". My son certainly isn't forgetful or careless or stupid or wasteful or inconsiderate or any of those things. He's a fantastic, intelligent teenager still learning about life, and I love him with all my heart. How could I possibly yell at him for it in a split second of anger? Is this what we're being pushed to do feel or think as we try so desperately to avoid excessive bills? I'd like to think in our house at least, we've moved on from the days where a full-scale family row used to break out for such things.
Its only common-sense stuff we're doing to combat the costs of excess bills. For example, I'm currently waiting on my energy provider to email back with information I requested about switching to cheaper tariffs, although I may be kidding myself, we'll save money due to switching to them. Also, because we haven't been out hardly anywhere in weeks we've saved on petrol costs, So I took the plunge and bought a multi cooker/air fryer. It's all a question of balance. The time it takes to cook coupled with its lower energy usage ought to mean we save plenty over time on using the oven and stove top. I'm totally contemplating cooking Christmas dinner in it.
Speaking of balance and common sense, it's a shame the government doesn't seem to have any. Our MPs are paid to govern the country and they all seem so incapable of doing anything, they certainly seem out of touch with real people living real lives through all this endless austerity.
Anyhow, war can't go on forever there has to be an end in sight soon. For now, I'll continue to fight the good fight in the name of prosperity - good things come to those who wait and wait and wait and wait.
Free school meals do make a difference to some degree. My youngest is in year 6 and at his school there is no choice menu so he has to eat what he is given. Sometimes there are things he doesn't like. He says the portion sizes in year 6 are no bigger than those provided to pupils in year 1, so often comes home hungry. The only alternative is to send him with a packed lunch, which ends up costing more than a school dinner would. My eldest is in secondary school but refuses to eat school meals. He is autistic and has lots of sensory issues when it comes to food. So I have to send him with a packed lunch every day. However, I am grateful for the free school meals.
They definitely do, this would save us £50 a month, which would pay our higher heating oil charge. Where we live 'Free School Meals for all primary age children' is being phased in by 2024. I work in a College in another part of UK, there students can apply for Free College Meals if their household income is round 7.5k or less. As we are on 36k, I cannot work out how free meals wouldn't help if you were on 7.5k a year. I don't understand how anyone can live on that. To me it seems like that would be the child's only hot meal of the day on 7.5k household income... So free school/college meals definitely help because those who receive them are children in extreme poverty, literally starving, here in the UK - a wealthy country!
It makes a huge difference as a substitute to the weekly, and rising, shopping bill.
How do you cope when your own family treat you like dirt?
When they say you are a benefit scrounger. You use and abuse the system?
Call you lazy and worthless?
They are never there to support you through the difficult times.
They kick you like a dog when you're down.
What do you do? When it hurts?
Mood very low today. I phoned Carers Support. She told me I needed to speak to a counsellor. I need someone today, not 6 months later, after a waiting list.
Daughter finally has a job, now she is deemed a non dependent.
Still waiting for a form so I can get to see a dentist, now have an abscess and cannot see a dentist until I have the form to say I am poor. I never realised at 54 years old that I would be living hand to mouth in some sort of Victorian era where my teeth are going to cost thousands to sort out. It did not help that during Covid-19 times my teeth decided to play up and there were no appointments, of course.
The community fridge is proving to be a lifeline for so many and helps me detract from my day to day life, helping others during these times is so important.
I don’t receive them but if I did it would save me money for definite as I wouldn’t need to buy all the food and drinks for packed lunches each day.
I think free school meals absolutely make a big difference. I used to receive them for my son and now my husband earns around £300 per year over the threshold for them. I really, really notice a difference in having to pay them now. At £13 per week this works out considerably more than that £300. On Sundays I have actually sat and cried because I’ve only had pence in the bank and had to ask family members to borrow the money for school meals until I get Child Benefit the next day because they can’t be booked any later than a Sunday.
It feels like I am always making decisions with money at the forefront. There's what could be a really good opportunity for work, but trying to balance the logistics of childcare, pet care, train travel, and cost is making my head hurt. If I could know that it will cost £X to travel from place A to B, I could work it out. But the different prices at different times, and variables of where and when, plus the fact that a single error would mean all my carefully calculated costs would collapse and I'd end up paying twice as much, mean that I'm probably going to have to skip it. I know that this was the choice I made when I moved North so I could afford housing - getting to London is not as easy any more. But the system sucks. The cost of transporting a train passenger surely doesn't vary so much!
If our total household's income is divided into the days of the week, here is how each day is spent:
MONDAY - Electric.
WEDNESDAY - Food.
FRIDAY- Food, Other Groceries & Toiletries.
SUNDAY - Water, Internet, TV Licence, Phones, Clothing & School Uniform, Boiler Cover & Service, House repairs, Vet Bills, School Supplies & Trips, EVERYTHING ELSE.
Free school meals make a huge difference. I've no idea how I'd manage feeding kids lunch on top of everything. Our school is £12 something per week for hot meals per child, packed lunches would probably work out similarly. The vouchers they send during the school holidays make a huge difference to cover that grocery shop difference from not paying for lunch to paying for lunch in the holidays. I already struggle to make ends meet with free school meals, I'd dread to see how to manage without school meals.
I also think all children should get free meals, especially if the family gets Child Benefit, because it's not cheap.
Alas, the quality of food kids are getting in school has reduced but it's still better than what I'd be able to provide without free school meals.
Saw the cost of living payment pending, it'll come into my account tomorrow, I was crying with relief. How crazy is this world where our monthly payments are so little that one £324 payment can reduce people to tears (I find it hard to think I'm the only one who had this reaction). I'm grateful for the payment but I do wish they'd just pay us enough each month that every month wasn't such a mental mathematic gymnastic.
Gavin Williamson has now resigned from his post.
I'm sure he won't be struggling without this job.
I am a single mum working part time in a primary school office.
Not only seeing first hand, via work, the difficulties parents and children are facing but I am living it with them.
Life is difficult enough without the added worry and pressure of the cost of living.
To provide for my child is my only goal along with keeping her safe, happy and healthy. This is proving more difficult every single day.
It makes a massive difference, knowing that my daughter is getting a warm meal in school when I am struggling gives me peace of mind. It helps save on money buying school lunches every single day when the cost of living is horrendous.
I'm really passionate about making a difference and addressing child poverty. I earn what I think is a really good salary but I'm still classed as someone living in poverty and I still watch every penny. I have quite a bit of debt and I don't know how to get out the cycle.
I no longer receive free school meals for my son, although I did until he turned a certain age.
Access to free school meals makes a huge difference, it reduces my weekly shopping amount, I know my son is having a HOT meal not cold sandwiches as let's be honest that's the cheapest option.
I'm roughly spending £40pm on school meals and my weekly shop is the same price so it's not like they're really expensive but it adds up when you're counting the pennies.
News from head teachers in England is they are running out of budgets to run schools. Classroom assistants are leaving their jobs to work in a coffee shop for higher wages. Class sizes will increase as less staff to teach and support. The cost of heating schools have increased.
Thanks to the Tories.
Thank goodness its warmer today. Yesterday I spent 12 hours sat in a cold house without any heating appliances switched on (trying to recoup the excessive energy costs from over the weekend). 'How proud I feel that there was only £2.20 spent on the meter by 5pm', said no one, ever!
I'm sick to death of austerity! Record energy bills verses record energy company profits, it seems a simple fix. This stiff upper lip mentality I hear politicians preaching at us needs ditching too. I don't suppose for one moment Boris, Truss or Sunak sit and shiver in their own homes. Why did it take 4 months for Conservatives to introduce windfall tax?
When they eventually did introduce the levy Sunak allowed energy giants to shield 91p in every £1 of profit from the new tax if they invested in UK oil and gas extraction. As usual, more smoke and mirrors from the government when it comes to making businesses pay tax.
Why is it that people in France only pay 4% on their electric bills?
Today I had my first shower in a week. I already struggle mobilising. The prospect of hanging around wet in a cold house, let alone being deterred by the cost of electric was enough to put me off bothering any sooner. I discovered earlier that my son has been wearing his pyjama bottoms under his trousers to walk to school again. He gets dressed underneath the duvet. Dread to think how long he's kept the same underwear on for. Think he believes he's saving me having to wash them.
We've reached a point where we simply can't cut back anymore. It's completely unsustainable. Also, what happened to me could literally happen to anyone. I was working in my dream job. I trained long and hard to get it, then a mundane accident at home 8 years ago put an end to all that. The days where all I can do, due to severe pain, is lay underneath a blanket trying to sleep not shiver and tense up from the cold, are no laughing matter. It's important to my sanity to feel my day actually has a beginning and an end to it. For that reason, I prefer to make use of my whole house rather than just 1 room. It's important to be able to heat all the rooms we use not just some. I can't help but wonder where it will all end. It's not as though the disabled, low-income households, pensioners, etc. can actually take strike action, is it?
I read recently, "Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult, you may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it". We're thinking about becoming a different country to the rest of the UK - not come up with a suitable name for our country yet. Print our own currency, have border patrol out on the front lawn, pass our own laws and legislation, make my son head of state, controversial but even rejoin the EU, seems a realistic proposition compared to this government's nonsense.
I managed to find some marked down veg and made an amazing soup. I've made enough for roughly about 10 decent size bowlfuls. I don't have any Tupperware so I got some sweet tubs off my neighbour and used those!
I think free school meals have a huge impact on children. This doesn't apply to my children because they are home educated. When I buy my food shop I only really buy cereal, bread, cheese, ham and food to make an evening meal. Meaning that, for dinners, we will eat a sandwich (or a soup if I can snag some cheap veg). I can imagine that some families don't even have the luxury to make a sandwich at lunchtime or can spare the energy usage to warm up/prepare soup.
Therefore, for some children this will be their only chance to have something to eat in the daytime. For some, it's their only meal of the whole day. I also think the income threshold for free school meals is too high and the government should provide food vouchers for children who are home educated.
Last night I put the heating on for one hour. I lay on the floor pressed against the radiator to soak in all the warmth and imagined I was lay in the sun on holiday. It eased my backache and gave me a my mood a much needed boost. Heating is essential for physical and mental health, it should not have to be a rare treat.
Our council has set up 'warm spaces' across the borough, where anyone can go and take shelter. As the weather gets colder I will be making use of them, even if just taking a book and a flask and being somewhere heated for a couple of hours a day. They have not promoted the scheme sufficiently though and I think a lot of vulnerable people won't be aware or able to access it.
We've received free school meals for as long as I care to remember. It's a case of every penny helps, however, my youngest has never bothered with them on the whole. I'd prefer it so much more if he did bother with them. Would be able to save on grocery shopping due to cost, time and effort it takes to pick things for him. It would also save him the effort of carrying the extra weight around in his backpack, but he won't change his preferences.
The reasons he doesn't bother with free school meals is firstly because he doesn't like the food on offer. Secondly, the canteen tends to run out of the food he does like by the time he's queued up for it. Thirdly, it takes up too much time queuing for food and the whole process is overwhelming for him, for example, there's too much unsupervised commotion in the canteen, jostling about in the crowds isn't his idea of fun. He's a smaller build than most his age so tends to stay clear of all the typical boisterous boy behaviour. He typically spends his lunch times at organised school clubs which he would miss out on waiting for school meals.
I won't compromise on his wellbeing by forcing him to endure something he's unhappy to do. He's already working hard for exams. He doesn't need the emotional stress it would cause to switch routines. Given the way lunchtimes are run the likelihood is he would end up missing out on having anything to eat at all. He has simple tastes so for the wellbeing of my son I stomach the cost of sending him in to school with a selection of bits from home to tide him over for the day. I stress to him, he has the option to buy something hot etc, if need be. I don't want him to worry about us being in poverty. I think in all the time he's been there he's only done this a handful of times in 5 years.
Also, I think the stigma attached to being in receipt of free school meals still lurks in the air of many a school canteen. Schools using cashless systems may well disguise this issue for pupils now but I'm certain there are other ways of kids being able to spot disadvantaged classmates. I know my son has a reasonable amount of self-esteem and maturity, he is aware we are "poor" compared to most working families with 2 parents, but I think he has a good grasp of our finances and how we are continually budgeting for things.
Hi, I am here to document how things are for us right now, they are not good.
I have had issue after issue and it is now so difficult to balance the things that are happening. My resilience is so tested that I felt like there is no point carrying on.
I am afraid to send my meter readings to British Gas, I am so devastated financially, I have had to pay out hundreds to repair my car, without which I would not be able to get my son to his education programme, I am alone.
I spend massive amounts of time alone. I can’t afford to go out to do nice things, and right now, I don’t have the emotional capacity to do anything anymore anyway and my son is suffering too.
I can no longer find the energy to be social. My health is at an all time low, I can’t feed us properly and I am selling my home because I can no longer afford to complete work on it, I have an horrible neighbour and I need to leave. The process of trying to buy another home has been awful. I’ve been refused any mortgages and have to port the one I have which means I am now borrowing money to pay costs as I have to use the equity in my home to buy another.
If I simply sell my home and try to rent a property, I will lose any social security support. Besides, the three companies I spoke to about renting will not even take me on their books as I have no work. I can’t work because there is only me to take my son to the different places for his education provisions. I don’t feel that I can carry on.
I now have a leak (again) in my home after completing decorating to sell the property. I paid for a tradesman to fit a laminate floor (it cost hundreds of pounds which I borrowed), he didn’t fit it correctly so I am now having to lift parts of the floor to try to save it…
It isn’t just a question of heating or eating. With every additional expense, my ability to pay my bills and everything else is reducing. I have maxed every bit of credit to try to make our home liveable and saleable and no bank or institutions would help. I’ve ended up paying over the odds in interest and straining friendships to continually borrow.
My son is a witness to all of this. He no longer wants to be around me. I am truly lost. I don’t know where to turn as nobody answers my calls and emails. There is no hope today.
I wish I knew when the cost of living payment would actually hit my account, not a loose, rough idea but a specific day. The wait makes it harder. Will it arrive before my bills date so it could free up some money for Christmas? Will it arrive in time for me to take advantage of upcoming sales? Knowing my luck it'll arrive on 23rd and I'll have time to panic shop. Due to personal circumstances I have to get everything done and wrapped for Christmas by end of November and this payment is what I'm relying on to get bits for my kids who need wellies and gifts. My hope is to use it to pay what's left of my Universal Credit advance then take another advance out to cover Christmas and winter bills. The sooner it arrives the better but a two week 'could be any day' period is just so unfair and not great for peoples mental health. I rely heavily on planning to manage my mental health, especially around big events and public outings, such as shopping, not being able to plan for when I'll go shopping and mentally prepare myself is making me even more stressed. Never mind the 'what if they forgot us' fears. It's stressful and I'm not ignorant to think I'm the only one stressed out by this.
Yeah, for us, free school meals make a difference. If I can get vegetables and stuff with my daughter that she doesn't normally eat at home, which is a good sign there. And I also know that she's got a decent hot meal with her sometimes when she comes home from school. So, she doesn't actually want sort of a full blown dinner, which saves me a few pennies, a few pounds, which is always handy. So, obviously, my food bill for the next week will be lower, which then means I've got more money to go on bills and my gas, which is prepaid.
The latest jump in interest rate to 3% means my mortgage going up again - I have a part tracker and part fixed rate which ends next year. I’m still waiting for the letter to tell me exactly how much but this news cements the fact that my only option to keep my head above water, financially is to sell up and downsize to a smaller property. My 2 biggest outgoings by far are my mortgage payment and energy costs. Seeing these rise at an alarming rate this last year is causing me so much anxiety. I’m studying part-time in order to change career and work 3.5 days a week. I can’t fit in any more hours to potentially increase my income. I’m exhausted as it is. What keeps me going is the hope that this situation is just temporary and that once I have gained my qualification, in 2 years time, my earning potential will improve. I had hoped that when I set out on this path, that I would be able to survive financially for the duration of my course but unfortunately I have no choice but to go through the upheaval of moving and making my son leave the only home he has known. I appreciate that, I’m in a more fortunate position than most, due to equity in my home, that I have this option available to me. I’m a hard working single mum just trying to make a better life for me and my boy.
Absolutely! I don’t know where I’d find the money to pay for school lunches or find the time to make a pack lunch. I get £15 per week during school holidays too and this really helps ease the additional cost of those weeks.
We used to receive free school meals vouchers during the holidays which was very helpful. Since January this year our council has stopped doing it and there is no alternative options given to cope with the rise of prices.
There goes another 45 minutes with the electric fire on. It'll have to do us for now. I dare not leave it on longer. I'm already wearing layers. Trying to keep mobile is difficult enough for me. Least if I were able to move around more, I could generate more body heat.
I recall when we first moved in here the standing charge on the smart meter was at 60p when we first got up each morning. Those were the days, sigh! By July it went up to 90p overnight. For a week, I was looking around checking and unplugging all the electric devices to see what was making the difference. I'm starting to question in my own mind whether the so-called average amount of £2500 is "another" arbitrary figure to stop everyone freaking out about the cost of our energy bills. Really no surprise there, with this government. Nudge psychology already widely used in many different sectors.
From recent discussions with people from across the community, some are unaware of the difference in their bills. Lucky for them. Those who managed to secure fixed rates before the crisis are raking it in now. For instance, a friend of mine has locked in prices on their energy bills until Dec 2023.
Tragic for the rest of us subjected to the worry of paying or going without.
I've been thinking about buying an air fryer. Not really got the cash to splash out on an expensive item but having done my homework - checking reviews, it seems false economy to buy anything too small. The larger models are costly! In the region of £200 upwards. Would it be cheaper to buy a cooked chicken from the shops each week instead? The idea of a burger meal for Christmas dinner is beginning to sound more appealing. My son would be horrified at the idea. He loves a roast dinner.
He's actually full of cold today, not dressed even, so really feeling the drafts in the house as it is. Might have to forgo the cost to get him well enough for school tomorrow.
Earlier today, I had a friend offer to help me switch to a different energy provider. What is the point? I seriously doubt they could offer me anything that much cheaper? Least not without a catch...
Besides, I begrudge paying these insane amounts for energy and we simply don't know how long this situation will last for. The government may well come to the aid of everyone by next year, hooray! Then again, they might not.
I did consider asking my neighbours to turn their heating up more in the hope we would benefit. Maybe we could draw up a rota of their schedule for the week so we could all feel warmer. I'm looking forward to warming up in my friend's car later this evening.
Controversial but the saddest thing I heard and thought about recently was the idea of going to some drafty old council building or church hall (Used to work in one, so know how cold they can be in summer months never mind winter) the government are helping to fund to keep us warm, supposedly. I'm questioning whether these so-called warm banks are likely to be making money from people's misery. I'd rather be able to stay warm in my own home to be honest. What's the point in going out in the cold and wet to travel on public transport or otherwise to have to go back out in the cold and wet to get home again. Seems illogical thinking to me. Surely share out the funding between people instead.
Opinions on the purchase of an air fryer appreciated
Yours truly...freezing cold... nose is cold... house feels damp. Can't sit here shivering any longer.
The price of gas and electric has dropped. Hallelujah. It’s taken such a weight off my mind. In Northern Ireland we’re not going to get the £400 payment to after Christmas as far as I’ve heard lately so the drop in unit price has came as such a relief. Our second cost of living payment is due to come this week and as much as I convinced myself I was going to put it all in my gas and electric metres as Christmas is creeping closer I'm finding myself online shopping and adding stuff to my basket for the kids thinking, 'if I just leave them there when the payment comes in I could get them'.
School meals definitely make a difference as far as I’m concerned. Especially at the minute. They take away the guilt of not getting a warm meal. The feeling your kids aren’t getting enough nourishment. That even if you’re not able to give them a good healthy meal at night at least during the day they’ve got something.
I don’t receive them but my kids eat the same packed lunches every day so I suppose without variety there is as fixed cost as possible?
My son is not school aged but I won't receive them due to the "wage cut off". Not only will it stop me getting meals but I also wont get a school uniform allowance. I struggle financially and to be able to receive these would be a huge help to me and my son.
Free school meals are essential for children from low income families. It gives them hot food as well as healthy food. If we're left out from free school meals, then it gives us financial pressure to supply packed lunches. I have 3 children and it costs me more to provide all of them pack lunch. So, the government should provide free school meals for all children in primary and secondary school.
I am a single parent with 5 children. Free school meals have been such a saviour to our family. Saving money on school meals means we can spend the extra money on other essentials.
The temperature here has really dropped this evening. My daughter and I are feeling the cold but despite the complaining I just can't justify the cost of using the heating. With colder weather yet to come with winter I just don't know what to expect. I have not had a hot drink or meal this week so it is looking like a few miserable months ahead. I will try to keep smiling thinking of how hard my daughter studies for her school work so hopefully she can make a better life for herself in the future.
I'm very happy it's Friday.
I earn too much to claim them so it's extra money to find to feed my daughter in school. I'm lucky she will eat the same thing every day for a week so it's not too bad, but I worry she will get bullied for eating like that.
Food has gone up so much this week. Thank god for Asda Essentials range or I don't know what we'd have done this week.
Gardening is my hobby and I am always finding ways to keep growing on very low budget. It is an extra challenge to grow crops as cheaply as possible. I save seeds, take cuttings, and share plants with friends and neighbours. We don't have a large garden but I have grown tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, beans, peas, corn, garlic, rhubarb, carrots, beetroot and herbs which have helped supplement our diet. I think that growing food is an important and valuable skill that is at risk of being lost to many people, especially in urban areas. It can help save a bit of money to grow some of your own veg even if you only have room for herbs on a windowsill and it gives me a sense of achievement.
Hi, I am on Universal Credit at present, and don't work at the moment. I have a 7 year old son, who currently receives Free School meals.
He has his breakfast at around 7am, and then his school dinner at around 11.30am, which means that after his breakfast, he doesn't get to eat for 4 and a half hours. Within this nearly 5 hour window, my son is burning off loads of energy at school both mentally and physically, and hence, when it comes to lunch time he is usually really hungry.
However, whilst I am grateful that my son does get free school meals, he often tells me that the meal he received was in no way filling, and that the portion sizes of the food are fairly small, hence he is still hungry after the meal, because it is not fulfilling enough.
Because of this, what I have started doing is making sure that I arrive at the school gate at home time with a homemade sandwich, a piece of fruit, and anything else I can pack for him in my handbag which is compact enough for me to take with me to the school-run, because he is usually still very hungry at this point. The food I bring tends to satisfy his hunger enough until we reach home.
My son really appreciates my new strategy, and is always super excited to see me at home time because he knows that I'll be armed with food for him.
The only downside, is that throughout the day, I often worry about how hungry he is, and wished I could do more to help him during the school day, like provide him with some extra food to take with him in the morning, which he can also eat alongside his free school meal, but currently the school do not allow this. Children are either on a packed lunch because their parents work, or they get free school meals because their parents don't work, or can also get them if their parents work but, they have to pay £15 per week per child, which I think is quite expensive, especially if the parents are on a low income.
There is no in-between. Hence, I think that Free School meals do make a difference because at least our children don't starve whilst they are at school, but, I think that parents should be given more choices regarding what their children eat at school lunch time, whether they are working or not.
Frustrated. Angry. Far too many things going on, so overwhelmed I can't think about anything I'm just shutting down.
I just wanted to add, that when we first came to look at the property we currently live in, I took the opportunity to "sus" out the area here. The neighbour was outside their front door, so I grasped the nettles by the hand and asked for their opinions. As well as telling me horror stories about the previous tenant they did forewarn me the property was cold. They mentioned the previous tenant spent winter months living upstairs because downstairs was too difficult to heat. They emphasised how they "knew" this was due to the property no longer having a separate hallway. In fact, whilst the kitchen remains closed off to the front to the house the lounge/dining area stairs and front entrance are open plan.
The layout here isn't too dissimilar from the previous property we lived in which is why it appealed to me. Not deterred by what I was told I went ahead with renting the place anyway. Also, there wasn't a great deal else on offer nor time to look elsewhere. "It can't be that different to the larger open plan home we were used to living in surely"? I told myself.
We've spent 7 or 8 months here now and I can't be certain whether I regret my decision or not. I've done everything beforehand in the summer months to seal up drafts block dodgy, poorly fitted window and door frames and generally make the house feel warm and cosy. I've purchased sticky insulating tape for the gaps in the double-glazed units and become an expert with a sealant gun expanding foam and readymade cement. (My brother thinks I've become obsessed with the stuff) I've stuffed the bubble wrap left over from the house move underneath the skirting boards to block up the huge gap between the floor and walls, that run the entire perimeter of the external walls just to avoid the cold getting in and any heat escaping.
I've secured up windows with missing screws in the hinges. I've made pretend privacy screen room dividers from the 2-meter-long cardboard box my bed was delivered in as an attempt to keep the drafty feeling from disturbing us in the living room. My son literally thinks I'm mad for doing that. I also re-used the polystyrene packaging to block off gaps in the fittings and fixtures, There's a door curtain hung up on shower curtain pole and I even managed to persuade the landlord to part with some of the rent I pay to re-install a rear door between the kitchen and the pretend "utility" room (technically the only running water in there is the downspout from the bathroom to the main drains). Thank goodness they did so. When its cold it's like being in an igloo the other side of that door. There is mould starting to show up on the painted ceiling in there now too. I lovingly gloss painted the door and fitted a brush draft excluder to the bottom which was really difficult to do. This morning I discover to my horror and dismay the draft excluder doesn't work nearly as much as I need it too. I could cry. More money wasted. More disappointment. It just doesn't seem fair. Why is it 2 steps forward, 1 back?
The main issue being here is it's too far away for me to access shops, doctors and transport links independently. It's difficult for my son too. For instance, he came home from school like a drowned rat twice last week needing to dry off and warm up. Don't even get me started on the cost and trouble it took to get his suits dry cleaned during half term holidays.
Hopefully one day I will have the spare funds to buy a real room divider. Not likely anytime soon I suspect.
We don't qualify for free school meals, as my daughters are in preschool. I pack lunches for them every day and the cost of my food shop is now sky high. If the prices go up any further, I'm not sure how we will manage. I would try to cost effectively pack a lunch for them by giving them pesto pasta but now they have gone off it and will only eat certain things. I look forward to when they start school so that some of the financial burden of paying for lunches will subside.
I've officially given my notice at work. Unexpectedly there's a possibility of one day a week doing related work on the project, which would be ideal - it's few enough hours that childcare would be under the cap for Universal Credit. Lately, all my career decisions have revolved around the question of whether I'd still make any money after nursery fees. The break even point is three days. More than that and I'm working for pennies. Still, I'm excited about more time with my son and more freedom to focus on my fledgling business. Very glad of the start up year for Universal Credit purposes.
It's the first frost today and I'm extremely grateful that I'm still living with family, who locked in a two year fixed rate for energy just before the prices took off. For now, we are warm enough. Soon I'll be paying my own bills and it'll be much harder to justify having the heating on when it costs three times as much.
Free School Meals. I feel very strongly about this, I think that all children (and the staff) attending school should be given a healthy, mid day, hot meal free of charge. Healthy eating, eating together and sharing food build vital social skills and relationships. Children can not concentrate and study well if they are hungry, cold or have only eaten junk food. If it is free then everybody eats the same, there is no stigma, and no excuses. I wish they would provide vegetarian meals that would meet many dietary and religious requirements, be healthy and possibly an opportunity to try new foods.
Personally our family have had a 4 year nightmare getting our entitlement to FSM recognised. Our daughter won a scholarship to the grammar school of her choice but we paid nearly £1000 per year (10% of our annual household income) for her school dinners as the school only provided free lunches to Universal Credit claimants. As we are on legacy benefits they said we were not entitled and non payment was grounds for removal from the school! Our local council accepts that she would be eligible if she attended a state school but because she goes to a private school we are not. We do not get any of the holiday food help or linked help for costs with uniform. This year I had to make a case with the school that she should be given FSM and fortunately they agreed. The relief I felt was incredible.
Free school meals provide healthy food to children as well as saving my pocket. Otherwise, I have to provide school lunch made out of ingredients available at home that are not healthy at all times. It is always helpful for me to get free school meals as I am not getting free school meals for all of my children. It's free in primary school but not in secondary school.
So, here's my energy saving tip! I took the decision to unplug the "smart" meter last night. How liberating it feels! To begin with, as someone who has used prepayment meters for years and years, who in heavens name decided it would be a good idea to see how much we spend minute by minute using energy in our own homes? No matter how well off or not we are, how thrilling to watch it tot up costs. NOT! As a fixed low-income household, surely, I'm not alone here when I say it's depressing and anxiety provoking at the very least. Not to mention the anger issues caused, as it serves as a reminder of the current energy crisis.
When we live in a world where it can be easy to blame others for our predicament is there any form of compensation for the distress it causes in our lives?
The ridicules contraption was blipping and bleeping intermittently whilst we were trying to relax. I gave it its marching orders! Its lying there looking redundant underneath the TV now. I've never felt so glad to see the back of the thing in all my days. I'm pretty certain I'm not likely to get a fine or punishment from disconnecting it. The amount of energy we use daily simply doesn't need scrutinising in this way. It certainly isn't going to vary that much either! The general gist is if it heats up it costs more. We know already we are trying desperately to save on energy consumption. We know we are going to have to pay up for whatever we use. We realise the costs are outrageously disproportionate to what they typically were pre-April 2022.
I think Big Question of the week ought to be "shall I bin the thing off altogether" Or "Is returning it to the provider, a step too far"? Maybe too controversial but being unshackled from the responsibility of knowing where every penny is spent, is rather freeing for my mind.
Maybe this rant is a little over dramatic but what exactly is the purpose of having a smart meter installed? I understand enough about energy consumption, I get the drift already, the more you use the more you pay... its a simple equation. Is it to gain more control over our spending? Is it to become aware of the impact of our need for energy and the consequences of its overuse? If you check, the little multicoloured clock all singing all dancing dial isn't exactly for our benefit - It's for theirs, the energy giants in case we can't wont or don't pay up. A very subtle tactic to make us believe we are in control when we are not. Otherwise try fitting prepayment meters in every household, then when you don't top up credit, it disconnects - end of.
It feels the world already hates disabled low-income people. We subscribe to this system, it's a given, if we wish to live warm and healthy with our families. Can we unsubscribe? Is there an off switch? The answer I hear myself say is "not really unless I go off grid in a tin tent somewhere." The closest I can get to this is to switch off at the mains supply! Ha! See me pay extortionate prices then to line the pockets of the billionaire bosses!
On a more positive note, I do actually like my energy provider. I appreciate there are human beings on the other end of a computer or phone line just the same as me, I totally believe they are trying to do their very best to help us all. I have applied for everything they are offering us low paid disabled customers. Miraculously, yesterday, a representative actually called me to discuss options. I took the time to fill out a budgeting form last week. On the strength of what I submitted I've been offered a discretionary payment of £150 towards my payments. Hallelujah for that! I've also requested hire of a thermal imaging camera to detect drafts. As if I need a camera to indicate that for goodness sakes?! Unfortunately, the free electric blankets were no longer available, but I did make a point of asking the nice young lady for the "standing charge" holiday which is worth 2 months of only paying for usage. So the story does have a happier ending. All do please take note! There is help available out there. I've applied for whatever I'm eligible for to help us get by. Longer term though I really hope for the best for all our sakes. Keep the faith people!
Difficult. With 3 young children to keep entertained it’s hard. Been struggling with my mental health too which does make me feel like not wanting to do anything. Hard for me to get out as I don’t drive and with having twins it’s very difficult on public transport.
Finding everything hard at the minute. My nearly 2 year old twins are testing me. My five year old is gaining an attitude. On top of all that, I have hardly any money to do anything with my kids. Upside, I actually got all bills paid this month which hasn’t happened in years.
I live approximately 100 meters away from this café and I rarely have been in.
It's a cost off living crisis and they are advertising pudding nights.
I'm drooling at the menu but at £30 a head I won't be going.
Just thought I’d give a brief summary of me/us. I’m a single parent (39) to two children, boy (10) and girl (8).
I’ve never really struggled financially as a single parent, I work part time 19 hours and claim tax credits. I’ve always felt I’ve had enough money to live on.
Recently though I have definitely noticed a difference, I’ve had to cut back on our food shopping and although I’m spending not much less I definitely don’t get as much as I used to… the main thing I’ve had to sacrifice is things like fish and meat.
I’ve had to cancel my direct debit for my energy bill as it was too much and I now just pay for what I use… the £400 help from the government is great as it covers a lot of my bill, I then just pay the rest myself and my balance is £0 which I’m happy with.
I use the heating sparingly and it’s mainly for the children, when they go to their dads I have an electric blanket that I got for free from my energy company and that keeps me warm if I’m sat.
I’m expecting to be made redundant from my job in the new year so that’s a worry but I know something will come up. All in all life is good 😊
This half term seemed harder than previous school holidays. My MOT was due and I had to pay out over £100 so this meant we couldn't do much, we did go to the Wildlife Park one day as I got a 40% off Voucher. I used Zilch to pay for this which is an app I use which lets me spread the payments, it works quite well for me.
I work from home and in the holidays I have childcare for 1 day, the other 2 days are difficult as I can’t afford the childcare so my children are home with me, we do get out for a walk on my lunch break.
The shopping bill wasn’t so bad as I didn’t need to buy packed lunch things so my shopping was lower.
All in all it wasn’t too bad but it wouldn’t have been nice not to have to worry about money and to have done more with the children.
Big news of Matt Hancock entering the jungle on 'I'm a Celebrity'. Usually it's desperate celebrities past their sell-by date that go on to gain media work.
I would like to dump the whole Tory party in that jungle without support and let them struggle.
Been worrying about money this week, feeding kids over the weekend as half term wiped me out. Waiting for a payment to come through but they're always late and I was stressed today as wanted to go shopping tomorrow.
Then I get email with vouchers from Changing Realities and I could breathe again. I can get food this weekend.
I laugh now when I look back and remember I used to use these vouchers for takeaways, now they subsidise my grocery shop. The world's gone crazy.
The local council have stopped food vouchers for kids on school meals so it was more of a pinch this half term. The kids spent a lot of time at home this week as the weather was bad and we can't afford to take them anywhere. Just about recovered from the constant mess they made 😆
Few moments I reflected on today, having to add potato to my curry because there wasn't enough chicken to feed six. Kids weren't pleased but it was okay we made do. Had to plan all my meals this month so I could make the ingredients stretch far enough. Had to take several items off my shopping list for bonfire night because I can't afford it. Hotdogs for everyone as I can't do party food. Counting down the days till payday.
It really pisses me off that we can't get a general election now. It should be law when two PMs of the same party loose no faith or resign, then general election should be called. Not as a third in less than a year, not voted by the people, but by those within the PMs party. How can they say we're a democracy if we can't even call a general election as a nation? How can the PM claim to work 'for the people' if he cares more about keeping his party in power than actually listening to the people? According to a news article I read today two thirds of the nation want a general election. I've even registered to vote again because I think we need one and I need to be ready with my vote when the time comes.
The Tories are cowards and they're more likely to get back into power in the future if they heed the people now then if they ignore us.
I work part time so paid a childminder, however, we both came down with Covid-19. So, I still had to pay the childminder, but lost 3 days pay before sick pay. For a single parent that works part time it really highlights how harsh the first 3 days of sick are but I still also had to pay for the childcare. Shopping has risen so much again and the extra use of gas and electricity over the week really made me worry for the colder months coming.
I have my eldest daughter down from university. I've managed to pay off one of my credit cards, but now am having to use this, to cover the food costs while she's down, I am worried I won't ever be able to clear the debt.
Hard! Desperately wanted to take the kids out and quickly ran through the free activities. Even the free ones aren’t really free, because they’re held in a café or similar and the kids want a drink or a snack. It’s hard to constantly say no. My kids know we don’t have much money right now but they also see others who are better off and they compare. They want to be able to eat out or go to fun activities. Or even just to buy something yummy for tea that isn’t the most basic option.
My eldest lives away at university and I forever feel guilty that I should be supporting her as well as my younger two children living at home. She has a part time job but after paying a house deposit for next year she is skint and needed food. I've just ordered her some food shopping to be delivered but this means that we will need to be extra careful this month.
Calm after last night's storm. Blue sky and peaceful. If only it was as warm as the sun looks.
Draining. I've taken part is as many free activities in my town as possible and saved since the summer for things not free. I only found out about free travel for children under 11 in our area on Saturday because it wasn't well advertised and bus drivers didn't inform me, so money I could have saved I wasn't able too. Our council is nice, put on loads of free and low priced events which was nice for kids, including free and safe trick and treating in the town centre shops and businesses. There was character meet ups and holiday clubs with free meals for kids. And I got vouchers for food for kids from school/household support fund, which helped a little. Mostly just constant mental maths, "can we afford this? How can I give them a good time on this amount? Where can I save money?" I've defaulted on two payments because I panicked about Christmas and did a little Christmas shopping. Fear and stress are not conductive to rational thought.
The government have let a lot of us down with their supposed £400 energy rebate. They should have sent the money directly to the person, rather than leave it to corrupt energy corporations or dirty landlords.
I'm one of many around the country who won't see a penny of it.
My family currently lives in temporary supported accommodation, I pay utilities to my landlord/support staff. They have reminded me many times that if I complain about anything where we live, especially staff treatment, I'll be kicked out making my family homeless. They were talking about raising our utilities and I mentioned to them that they shouldn't need to because of the rebate or would they be raising utilities as well as passing the rebate onto us. They shut me down very quickly. Upped our utilities in October and say they've not received the rebate when I know for fact they are entitled. I tried signposting them to local advice for getting the rebate, they fobbed me off. I asked for details on my utilities usage (third time I've asked since the summer by the way) they shut me down. Now I'm scared to ask anymore, I know I've already angered them with my questions but it's unfair. I'm paying more and getting none of the "support" I'm entitled too. I'm merely one of thousands, maybe millions.
And there is no legal framework to either hold landlords safely to account or to force landlords to pass on the rebate to tenants. Landlords can pocket money intended for us and the government doesn't care.
If the government cared the money would have come out through council tax or vouchers to each address in the UK. Not through energy companies and landlords. It's unfair. How many families suffer because of this?
It's crisis after crisis and extremely worrying times... I've never had so many conversations with family, friends and neighbours over when we are putting the heating on. Anxieties are running high as we know its going to get colder and my 16 year old daughter is staying over at her friends more than usual as she is worried about my fuel bills. She is mindful of the extra energy that will be used if her friends stay over. Cooking, showers, heating and the washing machine/dryer.
This is the first half term that we haven't received a voucher from school, which was continued during the pandemic. Children are at home and then obviously spending will be more. We have to provide food to children by cutting down all other recreation like outings, eating out or buying clothes etc. WORRIED.
I have gone beyond the ability to cry, I am angry and cross as yet again the people of Northern Ireland have been let down by not only our own failed executive but also Westminster. No surprises at all, it was inevitable. Westminster knew months ago that getting the energy support to people here wasn't going to be easy and yet, did they do anything? One wonders how long they have sat on their hands waiting! People may not see their winter support until next year! I myself anticipate February, those who manage to weather the worst of the winter will see it after the fact. There could be many who may not see themselves through the cold, dark days and nights. Isolation and poor mental health will be rife if we ever emerge from this political disaster.
All it took was one failure of a PM and the rest of us will pay for her mistakes for many months, she won't though. They really don't have a clue and if they tell us they get it, they understand, they have lived experience, well I am sorry, THEY DONT. They are not enabling this failure to protect our children, to give us hope a ray of sunlight.
Went to the shops today to get some food. Funny enough, everything has tripled. I cannot believe it. What I had at hand could I not afford all I needed. How awful.
Really looking forward the Big Ideas Meeting tonight! Also, it was great to read people's experiences published online. There were some really thought-provoking points raised. They say home is where the heart is? I'm doing all that I can to support our well-being in these horrid times. I'm grateful for all that I have managed to learn, save, and take part in to create change. I recently took advantage of social broadband tariffs so have cut my bill in half there. Why wasn't I aware of this scheme sooner?! I've also received a reply to a letter about the cost-of-living crisis from my MP asking me to call the office for help. Not so sure they can offer me the support I really need. It was also wonderful to receive 2 packs from the project this week which I want to say thank you for. They have made me feel loved, valued and appreciated. I'm determined to make a difference to my own life along with the lives of all who are suffering as a result of the costs charged by energy companies who are ultimately benefiting because of war.
So frustrating when you need to be employed but the government screws you over every chance they get. As a single mum with literally no assistance from family or the father I need to stay employed and have my children in day care and school and be able to finance everything from council tax, vehicle tax, electricity. Good god, I can't carry this weight. Rent and food, water and clothing. Just everything's getting too much now, honestly. How do people survive without family and friends in the UK is what I want to know. We moved here for a better life but its only gotten worse.
I'm unwell with painful sinuses around cheeks and forehead. Shivering can't get a heat. In bed with a hat on.
Its 3° outside. Heavy rain and and wind.
I've taken 10 Ibuprofen and paracetamol.
I feel sick. Spaced out.
I want my mum.
Felt really bad pressure to make things happen this half term. Needed to make it fun and full of memories but with that comes a cost!
Today was a sponsored obstacle course at school, I have already asked family to sponsor a penalty shoot out this year and I felt bad enough doing that. I wasn’t sure who/what the sponsor was even for, another parent at the event said the same. The amount of trips, money each day for tuck shop toast, replacing damaged or lost uniform and coats, then there is a disco tonight which will be £2. The pressure to afford your kids to keep up in school is bad, there shouldn’t feel this financial pressure for school!
Poverty in the UK is so, so, so inescapable. I've been trapped in poverty ever since I had my first child - 22 years ago. It hasn't mattered what I've tried, unemployed, working full time, working part time, studying, continuous side-hustles, living in private rent homes, living in social housing - always poor. Any new money gets clawed back, by benefit loss. But right now, it's the worst it's ever been - there's no hope whatsoever of future improvements.
The best two days were when the local community centre held a Make and Play Group and a Street Dance Class - at just £1.50 a child and 50p for juice/biscuit it was manageable. The rest of the days varied from okay to tough - thankfully the forecast of rain didn’t materialise so we could hang out in the park a lot. I definitely noticed the increase in the cost of food this week though - things that I’m used to being under a pound have now gone up to £1.25 or £1.50!
Awoke with another blocked nose and sneezing.
Had more colds and minor illnesses since my Covid-19 vaccinations.
Got an email offering another Covid-19 and flu vaccine.
I'm not having them.
I used to take my boys to Jolleys and Pets at Home to look at the animals for a cheap day out. Still doing it with my 17 year old lol. Here's some of the parrots we got to see during half term. Such beautiful birds and only approximately 15 weeks old. The small one on my 17 year old's shoulder is called a Caique or Monkey Parrot, the larger are African Greys. It's my 17 year old's dream to have an African Grey parrot, but at £2500 for the parrot alone they are a pipedream. And they can live for approx 80 years...
Half term has been much of a muchness for us. Tedious, banal and plain boring. Nothing to look forward to. No money to go and do anything apart from the local shops when we needed things and then because of the cost of living increases it doesn't buy much - you can't do a "full shop" like you could in "the good old days". Housework- never ending as I struggle to keep on top of it all, dog walking when I've felt able to and because psychologically I've not been feeling my best (not that I ever do) so actually leaving the house has been feeling very difficult for me lately so I tend to withdraw from the world. However, we did manage a trip to a pet shop in Lancashire that my 17 year old wanted to visit to see some parrots he was interested in, which was a lovely change. But overall, same as the Summer Holidays - no day trips with my 17 year old like we use to do, although thanks to some free tickets my 17 year old had won, he managed a rare trip to Alton Towers with his friends and oldest brother. I didn't go. Because of my spinal issues I can't go on the roller coasters any more. Gutted - I love rollercoasters. But these days the only roller coaster I go on is this life. I'm hanging on as best I can but even some days I feel so hollow and empty, I think "What's the point?". So that is definitely a changing reality for me - the interminable pressure on my mental health. Despite taking medication, despite knowing what I need to do re self care and to reframe my thinking, because life is no better and the Pandemic ongoing - which people keep forgetting about, it's like reliving Groundhog Day, every day. I need some Bill Murray sass to break out, but both spirit and flesh are unable, not unwilling.