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What do you do when you have no money, I mean really NO money at all, what should I do if I can't buy food?

(34 Posts)
Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 09:53:54

DH's business is in trouble, he is on half pay and even that is missed sometimes, we don't know how long this will continue. We are just about managing but have absolutely no money for anything, DD2 (age 2) wants me to take her swimming and we can't afford the £2.50. At the moment we are still meeting all our (very large) debt repayments.

I don't think we are entitled to any sort of benefits as we have quite large assets in property. We have a buy to let property that we are going to put on the market tomorrow but property often takes months and months to sell. I think we should also try sell the house because we won't make much selling the buy to let. I have been searching desperately for a job but I need a job that pays over a certain amount because I have three DC's the oldest is only in reception, we have no relatives close by so childcare would just use up everything if I got a minimum wage job.

I worry that the day will come very soon that we have no money to feed our children, what will we do then?

ragged Thu 05-May-11 09:57:09

talk to CAB asap (I hope you still have one), there are emergency loans and food relief programmes.

SybilBeddows Thu 05-May-11 09:58:23

I would think the first thing would be to renegotiate your debt repayments. Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to advise.

sorry you're having such a hard time.

Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 10:11:02

It is so stressful, DH seems to just be burying his head in the sand, working harder than ever. On the surface we look quite well off.

deardoctor Thu 05-May-11 10:23:24

Yes talk to CAB. Start selling everything. Do what I did and get a job in the evenings / weekends /nights e.g. supermarket. I applied to every supermarket and every care home in the area. Concentrate on the priority debts: mortgage, fuel, council tax, any tax arrears/ court ordered payments. Renegotiate credit card debts - there are sample letters etc. around. Explain the situation you are in. Is there a 'mortgage holiday' option in your agreement.

Do you run two cars? Sell what you don't need for the business. Do you get on with your family? Explain the situation to them - consider selling your house, setting DH up in a rented room close to work and moving you and kids in with the family.

There are hardship loans from social services available if you can't feed your kids, but you have to try everything else first. You have to be utterly ruthless in cutting costs - cheap food, no new clothes, no activities for the kids, walk everywhere even though it takes hours.

Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 10:43:38

Yes I think I will have to do that, I will see if I can get a weekend job.

Becaroooo Thu 05-May-11 11:02:10

You could go to CAB and I am sure they could work our something to reduce your debt payments per month.

good luck

kerrymumbles Thu 05-May-11 11:04:24

if it is desperate call St. Vincent DePaul. they will help you and not judge

lambethlil Thu 05-May-11 11:38:06

Foodbanks can help and will give you emergency food.

Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 11:51:54

Thanks for all the messages.

DH doesn't really want to sell our buy to let because it gives us a small income, I think we should sell it although I really don't want to either.

I think I could try to get a night job and maybe just try to sleep on the couch during the day although this is far from ideal with a 2 and 4 year old on the loose.

Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 11:55:04

In some ways I would rather sell our house and buy a small house with no mortgage, at least that way we wouldn't have this stress.

RobynLou Thu 05-May-11 11:58:45

evening work could help, depends when DH finishes. I work 6pm-midnight, take the kids in with me and DH collects them on his way home at 6pm. so I work evenings, but not nights so I still get some sleep.

definitely talk to the cab about negotiating your repayments.

TheSimpleLife Thu 05-May-11 11:59:25

Have you been on, there's a good 'DebtFree Wannabe' forum on there and I think it's been useful for many people. There's also the 'Old Style' forum which may be able to stretch your budget for food a lot further. Hope things sort themselves out for you.

There's also a 'Freebies' and 'grabbit while you can' forum which post good deals and sometimes free activities/ days out so perhaps you can do more stuff with the kids at a cheaper/ free cost.

Chil1234 Thu 05-May-11 12:03:10

You've answered your own question really when you say you have a lot of assets. Obviously, you sell the assets and you downsize radically. That includes, incidentally, household goods, old clothes, cars, jewellery and anything else that isn't nailed down. In the meantime, contact one of the free debt advice agencies like CAB, CCCS or the National Detbline and see if they can help you keep your creditors at bay until the money comes through from the sales. Also, if DPs business isn't providing adequate income and is unlikely to do so in the future, it may be that he should call it a day and also be looking for paid employment.

TheProvincialLady Thu 05-May-11 12:04:32

Downsizing your house sounds like an excellent plan, as you will also reduce your fuel bills, council tax etc. Evening and weekend work is also a good idea (rather than night work which would be too much and unsafe if you have young children to look after in the daytime). Or is it feasible for you to work full time and use childcare? Have you looked into how much you might earn/childcare costs?

DurhamDurham Thu 05-May-11 12:09:08

I know this is a drop in the ocean but we were desparate to make some money a few months back. We looked around the house and gathered everything that we didn't want. We made over £200 selling phones to Mazuma, almost £100 selling old cd's to Magpie music and we are still selling clothes/toys/games on ebay. It's just about paid for our weeks holiday to Norfolk in July. We almost stuck the holiday on the credit card, so pleased we didn't.

Good Luck x

froggers1 Thu 05-May-11 12:17:30

How big is your buy to let? Maybe move into that and rent out your family home? You would get a better rent for that and may be able to hold onto both until things improve?

Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 13:11:42

How big is your buy to let? Maybe move into that and rent out your family home?

That would be a really good idea but the buy to let is too far away, DH could get to work from there but it would be too far for school and pre school.

DH's business has worked well for 20 years, we were never rich by any stretch of the imagination but always had enough to live on. He really doesn't want to give it up. A lot of the problem is that although the business has always (until now) been profitable and has never missed a bank loan payment the bank is really squeezing him and wants all it's loans paid and overdrafts back within the next two years. He has 5 other partners and about 70 staff, all other bills and wages are being paid except the partners.

QuintessentialPains Thu 05-May-11 13:24:02

It is a hard reality, but if the business has been running for 20 years, have 70 staff, numerous bank loans, and 5 partners, and the bank is keen to see the loans repaid, it is not actually providing you with a lively hood, so I am not sure why your dh is so keen to keep running it? This is first and foremost a business problem he needs to solve, and no amount of ebaying or downsizing that you do personally is going to solve the problem long term. Your dh needs to look into streamlining his business, make it more profitable and spend less.

We actually had to reduce our own staffs salaries (along with our own) when the financial crisis hit. It was a question of standing together in solidarity. Either a paycut, or bankruptcy. Staff wanted to keep their jobs, so agreed on a paycut, in the understanding that their pay will increase again once the market picks up. We are there now, and will start increasing staff salaries. Luckily everybody stuck with us.

Ebaying is of course good to raise some instant cash. Equally see if you will save money by changing your insurance company, utility provider, etc, drop sky tv and other unnecessary things you might have. But it wont solve your problems long term.

But if the buy to let is giving a small income, why sell it? Can you re mortgage it? Change to interest only (unless it already is interest only?)

Kendodd Thu 05-May-11 13:48:00

A lot of costs have been cut and unproductive people gotten rid of, but those things sometimes increase costs in the short term, that is were we are now. We would all have money to live on and everything would be fine if the bank hadn't suddenly decided it wanted all its money back and was willing to act as it had in the past. If we can get through the next couple of years things should be ok again, I just don't think we can without DH having to bail out.

QuintessentialPains Thu 05-May-11 13:51:43

It is tough. We had to stop buying equipment on finance and hire lease agreements, as it was costing us too much. Instead we had to start saving up before making further investments. This is now paying off, as we dont at the moment have a single loan and no trade debts. But it has taken a toll on us. I have had to take on a part time evening job, in addition to working for the company.

cheeznbreed Thu 05-May-11 18:11:00


Well, seems like the OP at least has some assets to help take the pressure off. OP, if you don't mind me asking the following:

Regarding the BTL, how much income does it provide you with after groundrent, management fees, voids etc (not all may be applicable!)? Is it worth the risk in holding it (eg will the payments rise with rate rises, will that eliminate any income)? What is the value drops by 30%?

Also, what is the situation with your main home? Is the mortgage there much larger/smaller than the BTL? Is there scope for a downsize of the main home in the same area which would still provide a home which is big enough for you and your family?

I's say that if you are in the position where you have six figure sums of assets, but cannot find £2.50 to go swimming, then you must look to sell some of the assets ASAP. Property will sell quickly if the price is right, and that means the cheapest in the area by some margin. There are always auctions too. You shouldn't discount the possibility of downsizing AND selling the BTL. Debt is the number one enemy of a person's 'Quality of Life'. Get rid of it ASAP.

Celibin Thu 05-May-11 19:30:12

Can you take in lodgers or students?

LornMowa Fri 06-May-11 14:13:05

Would Business Debtline be able to help?

Kendodd Fri 06-May-11 21:35:05

Feeling a lot more optimistic today, we have put our BTL on the market so should hopefully sell that soon and have a little bit of money that might tide us over.

hope2help Sat 07-May-11 00:55:46

Hope you are well and keeping strong. I was going to suggest getting a lodger as someone has already suggested. Could advertise to students in University or colleges nearby. Could offer to serve them their meals as well which could add to your income.
Try and buy food at the supermarkets in the evenings when they reduce the food items. Cooking at home is very economical and is healthy for you.
Must renegotiate the mortgage payments as many have suggested and must keep up with the priority payments eg gas, electric, water, council tax.
CAB is great help, I used to volunteer as money adviser. They will also help you to access emergency relief funds or at least with some sort of help with food.
Above all, be strong. It may sound a little harsh but try not to think about lack of money all the time, instead take all the practical steps which will make you feel empowered and will keep your spirits up.
Remember This Too Shall Pass. Our best wishes are with you and your family.

Kendodd Sat 07-May-11 16:12:43

We have tried to rent out a room but we live in the countryside so the market is limited. We did have an exchange student to stay recently though. I don't mind at all having them as we sometimes have people to stay with us for free anyway through a website called couchsurfing. This exchange student paid us so that was great although we had to use a lot of that money to show her around and make sure she got to do nice things and had a good time. We still made about £110 for eight days. I'm not going to host any more couchsurfers for a while though, we just can't afford it.

I have talked to a friend and we have decided to set up a cleaning company and try to make some money that way. I am going to start a new thread asking for advice on doing that.

henwoman Sat 14-May-11 09:17:46

hello, we're in similar situation, struggling with dh on half-pay since 09/10. We're asset rich, cash poor, and have taken on a lodger, which is working out ok. We're not expecting to have a holiday this year. We may sell dh's motorbike to keep afloat, and will look to cash in one of the ISAs we started in the 90s. I think it'll get worse before it gets better - for whole country as well for us personally. I think all the advice above has been constructive. Would also add shop in charity shops, use the library and try freecycle. best of luck.

Kendodd Wed 18-May-11 14:57:48

Thank you henwoman, you too

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 21-May-11 13:22:31

OP made me cry.

We are currently 4 days away from pay day. All credit cards are maxed out as it was a difficult month. I have enough meat to make a meal each day (previous month this caught me out), no rice, no potatoes just pasta, no butter, 1 weetabix and the bread is almost finished. No fruit. I fed the kids the last 4 fishfingers and some cheese puff things for lunch with the last tin of baked beans. I ate the last 2 eggs with some frozen veggies.

We have £2.60 in our bank acocunt and DH had £17 available on the credit cards which he needs to use to get to work for the next 4 days.

DS1 has packed lunch and I have been giving him jam sandwiches this week and managed to pick up a pack of apples from Iceland for a quid.

I am already in an IVA. Thsi month we owe two of his brothers £200 each which means that next month is going to be much of the same.

We were receiving some HB for the first time ever in our lives. DH works on a commission basis and has earnt more than the last lot of wage slips suggested so now we owe £380 and they have reduced it so that we will get about 1 weeks rent paid (every little helps and I am eternally grateful) but we has hoped to be off the HB by now but everytime we think we have cracked it and are about to move forward something messes it up and brings us back. Just got the council tax statement and we now have to pay full council tax - I just honestly dont knwo how we will actually do it all.

I dont work as we have a 3 DC 5,3 and 8 weeks. When we conceived DS3 the numbers added up but everything has just gone down hill from there.

I actually dont know what else to do. I have just hoped things will work out but the council tax bill has just sent me over the edge.

Sorry to turn it into a me me me post but just needed to vent.

I hope it all works out for you OP.

OP what's the tax credit situation? Don't they look at income, not assets?

Pipbin Sat 28-May-11 23:59:05

Have you talked to your mortgage company?

When I was out of work a couple of years ago I took a 6 month payment holiday. It was quick to arrange and cost nothing. The missed payments are added on the the end of the mortgage.

The last thing they want is to repossess your home as they lose money on the deal.

Pipbin Sun 29-May-11 00:10:38

Also, if money is really tight, gather up your cds and dvds and take them to cash converters or CEX. You might not get much for them but by the sounds of it £20 is better than nothing.

If you have children of school age, talk to the school. They might be able to advise you of some grants or even be able to subsidise your children having a school dinner. They don't have to do that but they do have the welfare of your children at heart.

It seems so unfair that people who are trying to work hard are getting nothing back when they are on their uppers.

Lainey1977 Wed 01-Jun-11 08:17:43

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

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