In financial pickle while on maternity, advice and tips needed!

(69 Posts)
AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 10:47:29

I could really do with some help with sorting out my finances (even writing it down I expect will help).

I'd really appreciate any advice, or tips on how to make a bit of quick cash!

DP has recently graduated, been signing on for about 10 weeks now. He's been looking for the work he's qualified to do but very few jobs going at the moment. He's applied for everything he can find in his industry, including jobs with 3 hour commute each way. He's now widening his search to include any old job. Problem is the job he did before uni involved lifting (as well as highly skilled aspects). He has injured his back and so can't fall back on his old job anymore. Not sure what kind of work he can get really.

I get only child tax credit and child benefit, I am not entitled to any benefits. (I am an intermitting student atm, I get no grant nor benefits. I don't get any maternity pay: no SMP or maternity allowance.)

We have 2 DCs including a baby. I just realised I forgot to renew bloody CTC. I had a small baby at the time of renewal, I called to say she'd been born but totally forgot I needed to renew. CTC has just been stopped this week, I have reinstated but may not get anything till Sept 3rd. CTC had been covering credit card interest & some bills. Totally my fault but not sure what we're going to do without it!

These are my plans for dealing with it, so far:

- This week: start ebaying stuff. I can think of: stretchy sling, carrycot from buggy, evening dress.

- Send off old savings book (have about £150 in it).

- Help DP job hunt

- Longer term, I'll get a job too when DD is old enough. We'll be fine then, I'm very employable. Then pay off debts.

I should state categorically I'm not after offers of actual money, just advice please!

Also I am a regular but have NCed as plenty of people here know me in RL and I don't want them to worry about us.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 11:11:06

Any advice on what sells well on ebay would be great too.

Pootles2010 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:14:33

Work out your budget, then go from there. You're not on maternity from what you say so could you work now? If DP can't find work, could you get a part time job to fit around your studies?

CockyFox Tue 20-Aug-13 11:17:39

Are your parents in a position to help you out just until you get your tax credits?
Otherwise I think one of you needs to get a job as soon as possible if you are more employable would it be possible for you to work while DH stays at home in the short term? I know your baby is tiny but needs must sometimes.
Most things sell on ebay, we have sold all sorts of weird things, offer collection if you can as high postage puts people off.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 11:26:14

Thanks for the replies smile

DD is 3 months old. It would break my heart to leave her now, it's a last resort, I'm not there yet. I want DP to get a job. I would rent our study out before returning to work when she's so young.

I can ask my parents to help. I really don't want to, and they won't be pleased to be asked, but I am lucky that they will lend me money to cover tax credits if I ask. I'd rather not, my mother has already leant me money. I am nearly 40, it feels wrong to ask them for money.

I tried to sell some baby clothes on ebay last week and it took ages to list them but they didn't sell at all (nice stuff too, named brands like Baby Gap). I also sold a maternity dress and that flew away! (Got £6 more than I paid for it!) I was just wondering what usually does well?

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 11:33:33

Renting the study could be an option. The problem with that is that our house isn't really up to scratch for renting. We moved in earlier this year, and did what we could at the time, but the bathroom isn't finished. The study is big enough to be a small bedroom, but has bare floorboards (unvarnished, unsanded wood, rather than beautiful wooden floors!) as does the rest of the house. The only person I could see renting it is a student, and we wouldn't get much. If things haven't improved by mid September (before the new academic year) we'll do it.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 11:35:01

If we rented it to a student we'd need to get a bed. (I can rustle up other furniture from the rest of the house.) Maybe I'll start looking on freecycle for a bed.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 11:35:54

If we rent a room out and DP is still on JSA how would that work, does anyone know?

Pootles2010 Tue 20-Aug-13 11:59:55

Could you work whilst she's asleep, if she's a good sleeper? Bar work, that sort of thing? Babysittings always a good short-term option, or ironing/cleaning for people you know?

You can't really rent the room if the bathroom isn't finished, and that would cost. As its short time problem I wouldn't bother tbh.

Have you sat down & done your budget? You might be able to cut corners with food budgets etc and work your way through it.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:06:06

A good plumber friend of ours has offered to finish off the basics in the bathroom, as a favour, but is very busy at the moment and so I have no idea when this will actually happen. (We have done lots of favours for plumber friend in the past so it's kind of a nice way to repay us!)

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:09:08

I do need to do a budget but I can't concentrate with 2 kids here, will have a go tonight.

DD does wake at night. I'm absolutely not comfortable leaving her so young, even at night.

Thanks for the suggestion though smile New ideas are what I need!

lagoonhaze Tue 20-Aug-13 12:14:11

Sell stuff on Facebook sites.

Which jsa is dp getting income or contribution based. Will you get mortgage interest help soon?

Look at renting room out to include a prepared meal. Disregards much more generous on jsa that way. prepared meal could be a sandwich or breakfast.

Pootles2010 Tue 20-Aug-13 12:14:45

Ironing then? You can do that at your house. With the budget - try using something like money saving expert's budget maker, because you'll find you'll forget loads of stuff, which will then blow your budget.

What are you food shops like at the moment? Could try going to aldi/lidl maybe?

I do understand re your dd - my ds wouldnt' take a bottle, or sleep for more than 2 hours - very tying!

newmumsuchfun Tue 20-Aug-13 12:18:38

Hello! I am a new mum and in a 'I need to make money' situation too. I started ebaying stuff a month or two ago and I have made over 200 pounds. I find dresses sell the best. Write a really good title / description - Lots of pics. Baby clothes people are only going to buy used if they are REALLY cheap - or they may as well get new so the money, in my experience arent good for making money. Start it at 0.99 and give it 7 days ending on sat or sun (so obvs put it on the previous sat/sun). I sold an old ring for £60 today. I had an idea the other day that I could trawl charity shops for good quality dresses and then sell on ebay to make a profit.
You could do a spot of leaflet dropping in your local area. Gets you out of the house for an hour or two and take the little ones with you in buggy.
You could advertise yourself as an after school childminder / weekend babysitter.

newmumsuchfun Tue 20-Aug-13 12:22:08

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/money/521794/best-ways-to-make-money

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:25:48

DP is getting income based. We own our house outright so no mortgage payments.

I feel awful saying that as I know we're in a very lucky position to own our house, and I feel embarrassed we're in this position. It's a little more complicated than my OP, I wasn't going to mention this but just so you can see we did try to plan for now! We have a friend staying with us also in our spare room. Our backup plan was that we were going to rely on the rent from that room to tide us over. However she became jobless just after she moved in, at the same time as finding out she's seriously ill. She's not able to work at the moment, but for complicated reasons I won't go into, can't get housing benefit right now, and she has no money to contribute. I'm not going to chuck her out when she's so sick, that's simply not an option for me. And anyway she lives with us in a way a stranger wouldn't, she doesn't (as far as I can tell) mind the lack of carpets or bathroom sink.

Interesting about the prepared meal, I'll look into that, thanks.

antimatter Tue 20-Aug-13 12:26:14

how much money do you have at the moment for the next 3 weeks?
how much stuff (and what) do you have in the cupboards you can use?

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:30:39

If I earn money from little jobs won't that come off DP's benefit?

My understanding of ebaying stuff is it's not seen as a job / business if you're just selling on your old stuff (as you're making a loss on it usually).

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:32:43

We have £60 for the next 2 weeks. Plus am hoping to list sling, carry cot and evening dress tonight so hopefully will get some money from that next week.

After that we'll get £200 and I can manage on that.

Plus a load of bills to go out, I think I am going to have to ask my mum for a loan to cover them.

Cupboards, I'll go look now ...

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:33:23

The reason we have so little is we just paid some urgent bills.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:34:54

I'm nearly 40, I feel ashamed at asking my mum for a loan.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:36:07

Ooh, I've thought of something I can do, I need to get that form for milk & fruit vouchers signed by the Dr, that'll help. (We got it when DD was born).

Pootles2010 Tue 20-Aug-13 12:36:13

Shouldn't have thought so, it's his benefit not yours. He can always check that with job centre though?

Is £60 for food only? If so, you should be able to scrape through ok. Does your friend have any money for her own food etc, or is the £60 to cover her too? You sound a lovely friend to be looking after her, btw.

AcaciaRoad Tue 20-Aug-13 12:46:34

The £60 is all we've got left from DP's JSA after immediate bills paid. It'll have to go on food, and you're right we should be able to scrape by on it. DP is a great cook, last time we were momentarily skint we made bread etc, and bought bargains and managed to eke things out. We live near a Coop which does great stickered bargains. I'll be popping in tonight I think.

I have lots of bills to pay though outside of that, including some biggies due out on Monday and Tuesday, which will bounce if I don't think of anything. Losing the CTC has really screwed things! My credit history is good atm. Think its about to take a hammering!

Income related jsa will be affected if you work, yes.
I'm not sure whether rental income from a lodger works the same way, I know you can disregard some of it for tax purposes but it might cause jsa to be stopped.
Can you ask your friend to move into the study and rent out the spare room? Tbh I would rent it cheap, count the money against bills (not calling it rental income) and not declare it but that's technically benefit fraud so risky <awaits flaming>
Or have you looked into hosting foreign students? If you could get a bunk bed and a guest bed in the spare room you could fit 3 at a time potentially (lots of organisations do short stays and they like to cram them in)
Really, anything you do isn't going to be worth losing jsa for, as you'd have to make £130 a week profit just to break even, u less you don't declare it. So that's a moral issue for you.
Can I also ask - is your DP being fussy about jobs? If he's applying for unskilled jobs he should leave his degree off the application form if he can. Being over skilled can make you unemployable.

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