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Unum Income Protection Challenge feedback thread

(270 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-Jul-12 13:20:43

This thread is for the 50 or so families taking part in the Unum Challenge.
For more information on Unum please visit the Unum pages on Mumsnet.

The families taking part in this challenge have been asked to see how they can cope if one wage earner in the household had their income dropped down to the level they would be entitled to if they became unable to work due to illness or injury and were receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). We have a range of families taking part - those with only one income, those with 2 incomes, and a range of family sizes and income levels.

We'd like challengers to give feedback across the week. We'd like to see feedback at least 3 times (diary-style) plus a roundup of your thoughts at the end of the week.

The aim of the challenge is two fold:
~ to show how families cope with living on this amount - the challenges faced and to explore what families see as priority expenditure and what can be dropped. Those taking part also need to consider other resources they may have access to including savings, benefits, loans and family support. Obviously this varies from family to family so they will need to have a think about what would apply.

~ Unum say "above all we want you to think about how you and your family would cope if this was real life situation and it wasn't just for a week, but for a prolonged period of time. Does the challenge motivate you to put plans in place (if you don't already have plans)? Does it make you more likely to consider asking your employer about the sick pay policy and whether they offer Income Protection?"

Of course Unum know that every family is different and that circumstances will vary. They're asking folks to do this for a week just to get a snapshot of what their initial thoughts and actions are when faced with this challenge.

They want you to think about the following when adding your feedback...
~ What cost or expenses are easy to change and what's hard? What's impossible?
~ What sort of benefits do you currently get from the state / your employer?
~ What do you think you'd be entitled to (and when would they kick in) if this happened to you in real life?
~ What fixed costs do you have? Housing, childcare, utility bills - how would you cope with these in the short term and in the longer term if you had to live on SSP?
~ How are children affected by cutting costs? What do they think about the challenge?
~ What sort of family support do you think you could get?
~ Any other issues/ comments?

As a thank you for taking part there will be a prize draw of £100 of Amazon vouchers to 10 lucky challengers who add feedback as required

Thanks and good luck
MNHQ

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Jul-12 19:15:37

lisa - email - should be with you already - do check your junk folder etc

lisad123 Thu 26-Jul-12 16:17:38

Will they voucher come via post or email? Thanks x

lisad123 Thu 19-Jul-12 21:40:16

Thank you mn, now can buy dh an anniversary pressie grin

Peachy Thu 19-Jul-12 19:43:39

Not sure whetehr to say wow well done you lot for even giving this a shot, emphasise who this isn't RL as there are no things like broken boilers etc to sort or point out that sickness is not the wloest of the benefits; carer's Allowance for example is £58.50 per week.

So i will do all three.

Cremolafoam Wed 18-Jul-12 20:38:24

Well done you lot!!! gringrin

herethereeverywhere Wed 18-Jul-12 20:29:28

yay! I won! How exciting grin

mynameis Wed 18-Jul-12 19:57:36

Yay thank you! Brightened my day right up.

Now what to spend it on??

Yay!grin Thank you Unum and MN, DS can get his drum kitgringrin

moomoo1967 Wed 18-Jul-12 19:26:11

congratulations everyone smile

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Jul-12 19:11:53

Thanks everyone - the winners have been selected (at random from all adding feedback as required) and are below: all get a £100 Amazon voucher.

Dogwalks
EddieIzzardIsMine
antonchigurwouldliketomeetyou
InmySpareTime
Herethereeverywhere
Lisad123
Merrylegs
mynameis
ShatnersBassoon
StellaMarie

overtherooftops Wed 18-Jul-12 13:50:47

In terms of the final questions most of my employers have had decent sick cover. I do not think I would take out income protection cover but it has made me think more about the little bits you spend daily and I would be more likely to try and spend less on silly things and try to save this to fall back on.

The only company I worked for without sick pay scheme only had four employees and couldn't afford to.

Have you done the draw yet? <crosses fingers>
£100 Amazon vouchers would pay for DS's birthday presentsmile

LittleFriendSusan Wed 18-Jul-12 01:30:18

Has doing the challenge changed your attitude towards protecting your finances? Do you think you are now more likely to put a plan in place to safeguard your income?

It has definitely made me think. Mortgage would be paid in event of DP's death but no unemployment / critical illness / accident cover. We will definitely be looking at some sort of insurance policy for DP just in case... As I mentioned, we do have savings to tide us over for a short time, but they would only last 3 months or so.

Are you now motivated to ask your employer or ask your partner to ask their employer about income protection as part of their employee benefits package?

My employer's sickness policy / death in service cover is good so no need to approach them. DP - no such thing as a "benefits package" - they think they're lucky to have a job! Would be a pointless exercise. The only way we will have protection of his income is if we do it independently.

LittleFriendSusan Wed 18-Jul-12 01:21:46

(Long - sorry!!)

Monday 09/07

I had to bend the rules a little, as I had to pay for the children’s passport applications… but am not including this in the weekly total (this was over £100 including Check & Send anyway so would have blown the budget before we even started). If we were living like this long-term, it wouldn’t have been an issue anyway, as there’s no way we could afford to holiday abroad. (This will be our first holiday abroad as a family and that’s with 2 wage earners…). Had to get DS’s photos done again as they’d been rejected by the PO checking person, however, we had them done at Max Spielmann who guarantee passport pics so this lot were free. Parked in the car park which is free for 1 hour & hoped it wouldn’t take any longer! We were a few minutes over in the end, but thankfully no ticket…

Spent £15 in Lidl on fruit, yoghurt, stuff for packed lunches, milk, cereal & tinned tomatoes. Bear in mind this is only days after I did a big shop in Aldi… kids (and DP) have polished off the cereal I bought and we have run out of ham…

Meals for the day:
Breakfast: usual – cereal / toast for kids, berries, yoghurt & sprinkling of granola for me
Lunch – packed lunch for kids (sandwich / cucumber, carrot / berries / apple & yoghurt), leftover Sunday lunch for DP, lentil soup & a yoghurt for me (HM soup - leftover from last week)
Dinner – Ham & cheese omelette, salad for me, wedges & beans for DP & kids
Snacks: fruit

I cook from scratch and rarely buy “junk” food, we all take a packed lunch apart from the odd day the kids will have a school dinner (once a fortnight or so, if that), however, we spend a lot on food. This is what I would really like to cut back on, but just can’t seem to do it! I menu plan every weekend and shop based on this, shop at Aldi / Lidl /local market where I can, but our food bills are still astronomical. I suppose I am a bit of a foodie, which doesn’t really help. A large chunk of our food budget seems to go on bread, cereal, yoghurts & pack-up stuff. DP takes food for his break at 10 and then more for lunch, so I suppose we’re making 5 pack-ups a day. I seem to be forever having to buy more. I’ve been buying the big 1kg tubs of yoghurt from Lidl which are working out a bit more cost effective, but still not cheap…

DD had cheerleading after school which cost £2 but was paid at the beginning of term.

Paid £2 for lottery (syndicate at work)

Tues 10/07

Breakfast as above
Snacks: fruit as above
Lunch:

Kids: tuna sandwich, 2 x ALDI jammie dodgers, yogurt, Satsuma / apple
Me: Sesame bagel & cheese triangle & ham, salad
DP: Sandwiches, crisps, yogurt, fruit

Dinner: Roast pork, cauliflower, spring greens (kids eating at grandparents)

DS at gymnastics: £3.50

Total so far: £20.50 (not inc. passports & prepaid activities)

Wednesday 11/07

Breakfast: same again
Lunch: sandwiches etc for kids, 1 round sandwiches for DP, leftovers from last night for DP & I
Dinner: DD in “Stars in their Eyes” thing at school so quick meal of cheese on toast + tinned tomatoes for me, beans for everyone else. Had run out of bread and beans so popped to local Co-op: spent £4.23 on loaf bread, beans, 12 eggs reduced to £1.60 & quiche reduced to £0.63.

Stars in their eyes: tickets 3 x £2 + raffle tickets £1 & drinks £1.20.

Total spent today: £12.43
Total to date: £32.93

Thursday 12/07

Day off work today. Needed to go to Aldi to pick up cafetiere (one of their specials at £4.99. Smashed the glass on our old jug a few weeks back and been waiting to see one at a reasonable price!). Had also run out of dishwasher tablets, hairspray, jam, cheese, butter and packed lunch stuff, milk & cereal yet again. Picked up few other bits for next few days & jar coffee as it’s my turn to buy for work. Total spent in Aldi: £45.74…

Had to put fuel in car – only put £10 in though as DP not paid till tomorrow and funds running v. low….

Also went to the market for fruit & veg. Spent about £7.00 altogether but got lots for it.

Then DD came home from school with letter about dress code for production she’s in this weekend. Needs white shirt, black trousers & black cardigan, none of which she has already… So went to Asda to get from school uniform section. Picked up a couple of skirts for September while I was there, also grabbed some bikinis & beach cover-ups for our holiday next month. Have completely blown the budget by now! Put this all on credit card... spent total of £110 but £45 of this has now been returned.

DD at Brownies – would cost £1.75 but paid earlier in term.

Meals:

Breakfast as usual
Lunch: sandwiches etc
Dinner: Couscous, roast veg & barbecue chicken thighs

Total spend for day: £62.74 + £110 credit card = £172.74 (but £127.74 if you take off the clothes I’ve returned)

Total to date: £172.74 + £32.93 = £205.67
That’s shocking….

Friday 13/07

Actually managed to spend nothing today!!!

DS at swimming which costs £4.00 a session but paid in 10-week blocks. DD should have been there too but she had dress rehearsal for the production tomorrow.

Meals:

Breakfast – same again
Lunch – Leftovers from last night for DP & I, Wraps & chicken & fruit for kids
Dinner – Goats cheese & red pepper quiche & salad (chips for DP & kids)

Saturday 14/07

This is where it all went wrong again sad

DD at gymnastics - £3.50

Kids trampolining: 2 x £4 (paid in advance)

Now for the bad bit… went to the sales to try to get clothes sorted for our holiday. We are going on a beach holiday for the first time since children were born (DD is 10 this year!) and have nowhere near enough “hot” clothes to do us for 2 weeks. Kids have outgrown their clothes from last summer and hardly bought anything summery this year as the weather has been so crap! So it was something of a necessity, but still…

Next sale - £269 – over half of this going back though! Just grabbed lots for all of us (mostly DP!) in the hope some of it would fit / look ok.

Matalan sale: DP - £40, me & kids £89.00. Keeping most of this.

Tesco: £20 fuel (so we have used almost £10 diesel in 2 days. DP used most of it Thurs evening to go sailing though)

Home Bargains: £9.44 on snacks & drinks + couple tins of chickpeas. DDs thing tonight is picnic in the park-style, so need to take nibbles etc and also send few bits for her tonight / tomorrow.

Iceland: Breaded fish fillets, frozen chips & peas! Running late shopping and needed something fairly quick to shove in oven & eat before DD’s show (had to be there for 6.30): £5.50

DD’s show – tickets were £28 altogether, but already paid for.

Total spent today: £436.44
Total to date: £642.11
Total not including holiday-related spends: £145.11

Sunday 15/07

Last day of the challenge and what a dismal failure it has been…

Had to go and buy more packed-lunch stuff & some sort of meat for Sunday lunch so went to Asda again – total spent £28.24 (inc mackerel, prawns & olives for my lunches at work next week as am going to try to go low carb until our holiday! )

Shocking to see just how much we have spent over the week:

Everyday spending £173.35 – over double the budget.
+ holiday prep spending £497 + passports at approx £116

In my defense, this is most definitely not the norm!! Just happens we have no more free weekends except the one 2 days before our holidays, so clothes shopping had to be done now or never…

Looking back over the week, it’s very depressing to see how often I end up nipping out for e.g. bread and pack-up stuff and spending £30+… Also, I totted up spending on the children’s activities and that alone would have been £58.50 for the week. That’s almost ¾ of the allocated budget – couldn’t afford any of that if we were really in this situation.

I think the thing for us to tackle is the grocery spending... Need to factor in more "cheap meals" and maybe implement a policy of "when it's gone, it's gone" with regards to yoghurts, ham, cereals, etc.

I've actually found this v. insightful for us as a family, and we are thinking of carrying on for a few weeks - maybe eventually we will actually manage to stick within budget! This challenge has made me think more about what I'm spending - e.g. I've been totting up as I go around the supermarket & putting things down if they're expensive... probably wouldn't have done this otherwise. And writing it down makes you realise just how expensive everything is!

Hats off to anyone living on this amount on a long-term basis - am sure we would manage if it happened to us (we'd have no choice but to!) but it must be bloody tough...

LittleFriendSusan Tue 17-Jul-12 23:21:42

Well, we failed miserably at this (even down to the posting of updates on this thread... still better late than never I suppose!).

We signed up for the challenge in the hope it would make us be more disciplined in sticking to a weekly budget. The idea was that posting on a public forum would make it more difficult (and embarrassing!) to not do it. Of course that assumes that I actually post daily updates, and unfortunately I didn't quite manage that bit.

The other motivation for us was the fact that we could realistically be in this situation one day, as DP (main FT earner) could end up with only SSP if on sickness leave. There's a chance he would get a bit of a top-up, but it's not set in stone (he had to have 1 month off a couple of years back for a hernia op and did get topped up then, though not to his full weekly wage). Short term sickness, he just gets SSP - meaning he often ends up going in to work when he should probably be at home (less than 3 days sickness = no pay).

Background: we both work. DP is full time, sickness “policy” as above. I work 25 hours a week and thankfully my employer’s sickness policy is quite generous: we get 6 months full pay and then 6 months on half pay. Also have death in service cover. So if I were ill, we’d be fine. We also get child benefit & minimal tax credits.

I am paid monthly, DP weekly. We both pay a fixed amount into our “bills” account which covers monthly direct debits for mortgage, utilities, council tax, insurance and mobile phones. What’s left is to cover groceries, kids’ activities, clothes, holidays and pretty much anything else. My salary would cover DP’s contribution to bills as well if it came down to it, but there would be pence left for anything else… so we would be pretty much having to live on £85 / week for day-to-day expenses & food. Tax credits would go up (eventually?), but I assume this would depend at what stage in the tax year we found ourselves in that situation (as it’s an annual award based on tax-year earnings?). We wouldn’t get any housing or council tax benefit or free school meals etc (both parents have to be unemployed in our LEA). Re. family help, we could turn to DP’s parents as an absolute last resort, but would rather not. My parents are on a very low income anyway, so no chance there.

So… to the challenge. Things very tight this month anyway as my wage was down by about 1/3 (moved on to monthly salary a few months back and have been repaying salary advance for the last 2 months). Managed OK last month as had put a bit aside, but this month there was basically nothing left of my salary after bills. So we’ve had to manage on what’s left of DP’s wage alone. Because of this, I thought it would be relatively easy to manage on £85 just for a week: bills were already paid, had been shopping Friday of the week before, so not as if our cupboards were bare. Also have a weekly veg box delivery on a Friday which would help. Sad to say that despite all that, we went over budget. Will post weekly diary in separate post...

Here are my final thoughts for the week. I found the challenge very hard. There is no way we would be able to survive on £85 per week. We eat more than that in food alone, and we don't eat extravagantly but we like fresh fruit and veg, decent free range meat (not too much of it), we make packed lunches for school / work and try to be as economical as possible (juice cartons from lidl for example) but it still all adds up...

This week we have had the added expense of end-of-term teacher presents, renewing the dc's athletics and hockey club subscriptions and it hit me that all of this would have to stop were dh to lose his job.

And that is before we even worry about putting food on the table and paying the bills....

I realised I never answered the initial questions, so here we are;

What cost or expenses are easy to change and what's hard? What's impossible?

It would be impossible to change fixed outgoings such as council tax, mortgage, car running costs (need car for work) and things such as phone bill, broadband etc as we are already at the most economical tariff for us for all of these.
The children's activities could be easily given up. It would be a shame but they all require a terms' notice so those financial commitments could be easily got rid of.
Food could be cut down on. We eat well and healthily. That comes at a price. We can cut back.

~ What sort of benefits do you currently get from the state / your employer?

We get child benefit. Nothing else from the state and nothing from our employers.

~ What do you think you'd be entitled to (and when would they kick in) if this happened to you in real life?

I don't know what we would be entitled to, I find the whole system very confusing. I think we would be entitled to job seekers allowance, and ssp, but I know that these take time to come through.

~ What fixed costs do you have? Housing, childcare, utility bills - how would you cope with these in the short term and in the longer term if you had to live on SSP?
We have a repayment mortgage which we could change to interest only to make the payments more managable in the short term.
We have gas / electric / phone bills. I don't know how we could cope with these should we have to live on SSP
We have life and pet insurance, these could be cut.

~ How are children affected by cutting costs? What do they think about the challenge?
The children enjoyed the challenge on the whole (they liked going round the super market hunting for bargains) but that was because it was a novelty. In the long run I think they would be very upset by suddenly not being able to do things they used to be able to do. Having said that, neither of my children do a lot of activities and we don't do expensive days out as we simply don't have the money and they know and accept this.

~ What sort of family support do you think you could get?
Both mine and dh's family would be very supportive but neither has money in abundance so they would help us as much as they could but this would be in the very short term.

~ Any other issues/ comments?
Thank you for letting me take part in the challenge. I fear I failed miserably in sticking within budget and I fear were this real life I would face some serious challenges in life.

lisad123 Tue 17-Jul-12 16:20:46

Unum say "above all we want you to think about how you and your family would cope if this was real life situation and it wasn't just for a week, but for a prolonged period of time. Does the challenge motivate you to put plans in place (if you don't already have plans)? Does it make you more likely to consider asking your employer about the sick pay policy and whether they offer Income Protection?

We dont have the the option of income protection. It has made me consider more about how much we rely on DH wages.

Of course Unum know that every family is different and that circumstances will vary. They're asking folks to do this for a week just to get a snapshot of what their initial thoughts and actions are when faced with this challenge.

I didnt think I would find this hard at all, I have spent years staying ontop of small budgets but not as tight now. However, i forgot what i have become use to. Coffee and lunch with friend, takeaway, nipping to local shop, buying odd stuff i see when out and how much i rely on car and therefore the petrol.

What sort of benefits do you currently get from the state / your employer?
DH wages, my small wages and CTC and carers.

What fixed costs do you have? Housing, childcare, utility bills - how would you cope with these in the short term and in the longer term if you had to live on SSP

We have car payments, morgage and small CC. Untility bills and normal stuff. The first thing to go would be mobile phones, sky tv, and clubs/gym ect. Then it would be budgeting food and untility bills, car use and anything else.

How are children affected by cutting costs? What do they think about the challenge?
They didnt really notice, but they never have even when we are really tight. its not something i think they should be worried about.
DD1 did offer me her pocket money last week when i said i needed money for a bill smile

What sort of family support do you think you could get?
i doubt very much, maybe a small bail out if really needed, they wouldnt see us without food, but could depend on them longterm.

Hopezibah Tue 17-Jul-12 16:04:34

Final Final Round-up (to include additional questions):I have answered these questions throughout the challenge but here is a summary

to show how families cope with living on this amount - the challenges faced and to explore what families see as priority expenditure and what can be dropped. Those taking part also need to consider other resources they may have access to including savings, benefits, loans and family support. Obviously this varies from family to family so they will need to have a think about what would apply.

I have considered what the necessities are and what can be dropped throughout the challenge. The biggest difficulty was bills including mortgage, electricity, council tax etc, followed by children's activities. Food costs could be reduced by careful planning / shopping around / reducing treats and not getting takeaways and not eating out.

We have some savings that could help tide us over in the short-term. I am not sure what benefits we would qualify for but the biggest worry would be keeping a roof over our heads so hopefully we would quality for some sort of housing benefit or council tax benefit if we found ourselves jobless.

We come from families that beleive in standing on your own two feet and again they may be prepared to help with a short term loan or help pay for necessities for the children, it would be as a loan and I would not even want to ask them unless we could not put a meal on the table.

Unum say "above all we want you to think about how you and your family would cope if this was real life situation and it wasn't just for a week, but for a prolonged period of time. Does the challenge motivate you to put plans in place (if you don't already have plans)? Does it make you more likely to consider asking your employer about the sick pay policy and whether they offer Income Protection?

We have been motivated to consider our wills for the future. We know we have adequate life cover and critical illness cover. We are aware of sick pay policy at work.

Of course Unum know that every family is different and that circumstances will vary. They're asking folks to do this for a week just to get a snapshot of what their initial thoughts and actions are when faced with this challenge.

Yes - it is a very different experience doing it for one week vs for longer. At the end of the day, I had the security of knowing that we still have a roof over our heads, that our bills can get paid and that even though we have cut out some luxury items, my family is still being fed. I would imagine the stress would be massive if this was for a prolonged period.

*They want you to think about the following when adding your feedback...
~ What cost or expenses are easy to change and what's hard? What's impossible? *

as above - food costs easier to reduce, fixed overheads and bills far harder to change. Also kids activities would be hard to reduce as feel guilty about it although they are not a necessity and would have to go. Similarly charitable giving would be hard to stop because of the relationship we have built up over many year with the children we sponsor so I would be very reluctant to stop unless we really had to.

~ What sort of benefits do you currently get from the state / your employer?
from employer it is 6 months on full pay and 6 months on half pay if on long term sickness. i am not au fait with what benefits we would be entitled to.

~ What do you think you'd be entitled to (and when would they kick in) if this happened to you in real life?as above

~ What fixed costs do you have? Housing, childcare, utility bills - how would you cope with these in the short term and in the longer term if you had to live on SSP?
fixed costs are mortgage and bills mainly. Short term a little bit of savings. Long term may need major adjustment eg downsizing if unable to meet fixed costs.

~ How are children affected by cutting costs? What do they think about the challenge?

I am extremely proud of my children with their participation in the challenge. They got fully on board with it and were reminding me to watch the pennies. They didn't grumble or moan. (Although yesterday, they were pleased the challenge was over so we could go swimming and they got a bite to eat at the swimming pool too!)
They are hopeful of winning the amazon vouchers though and keep working out the odds of winning and keep planning a treat they would buy with it - so i am not sure without this incentive whether they would have been quite so understanding as they have been but i was really glad that it did give them something to think about so they realise how fortunate they are.

~ What sort of family support do you think you could get? as above - they may help with a loan in the short term but nothing in the longer term as they / and we believe in standing on our own two feet as much as possible.
~ Any other issues/ comments? Just a HUGE well done to those many people who do have to live with this challenge each and every week because of their circumstances. It takes a large dose of commitment, courage and creativity to survive on this in the long term so i totally take my hat off to you.

EddieIzzardIsMine Tue 17-Jul-12 14:57:00

~What cost or expenses are easy to change and what's hard? What's impossible?

Our 'fun' expenses would be the easiest (and the first) to change, although even now its not much a £5 here and there on coffees /lunch out soon adds up. DS is only 18 months so no clubs/hobbies for him to pay for although his age also means there are some unavoidable expenses in nappies/wipes/formula etc

~ What sort of benefits do you currently get from the state / your employer?

We have no benefits from employer and a minimal amount from state (housing benefit)

~ What do you think you'd be entitled to (and when would they kick in) if this happened to you in real life?

As we rent I think we would be entitled to more housing benefit but not sure what else and when/if they would kick in

~ What fixed costs do you have? Housing, childcare, utility bills - how would you cope with these in the short term and in the longer term if you had to live on SSP?

Rent, bills (electric/water/internet/council tax etc) and a few other 'debts' DPs student finance and a 'pay over 12 months' thing for the tv.
Tbh we survive on the wages and tax credits we have just about so if one of us were to be out of work we'd be well...screwed! We couldnt pay bills/rent etc

~ How are children affected by cutting costs? What do they think about the challenge?

DS is only 18 months so doesnt know about the challenge but as mentioned above he does have hos own unaviodable costs . We also would have to forgoe most things that are nice things we do with him during the days, soft play/meeting other friends with kids

~ What sort of family support do you think you could get?

Honestly.....none. Financial, childcare or other

Has doing the challenge changed your attitude towards protecting your finances?

Yes in that we have realised how vulnerable we are - we have no protection either savings , insurance or family should we find ourselves out of work

Do you think you are now more likely to put a plan in place to safeguard your income?

Honestly, again no. Not because we dont want to but just because we dont have the finances now to do it - start saving, take out insurance etc.

Are you now motivated to ask your employer or ask your partner to ask their employer about income protection as part of their employee benefits package?

No as I helped set up the company we work for (charity) and know the budget we work on, its simply not possible to give employers that kind of protection, we barely affored wages

Other comments?

The last thing that worried me was that we dont have childcare (nursery or family) we juggle our shifts around each others work and split the childcare - if one of us got too sick to watch DS , the other one would have to take off work too...meaning we'd have no wages coming in and being on very basic benefits. Thats scary.

AnaIsAlwaysShocked Tue 17-Jul-12 13:56:44

Final post

The challenge hasn't made me think of "protecting our finances" but has made me consider saving more and keeping it separate from our other savings, just incase.

I wouldn't use a "Plan", Its something that we can protect ourselves from without paying for a "plan" if we squirreled enough away to say top up the SSP to £100 we would be able to live quite well off that.

DP employer makes the benefits package very clear and simple so I was already aware of it but, yes had I not been I would have asked.

AnaIsAlwaysShocked Tue 17-Jul-12 13:51:15

Sunday, due to hangover and DM having children we spent nothing, meaning for the week I've only spent £80. but I don't thin I could do it long term we just did the basics this week no children's shoes or clothes, days out etc.

aharan Tue 17-Jul-12 11:16:03

its not that bad after all. surviving on £85 was easier than i expected.
but the next week looks tough, as my daughter's birthday is around the corner.
how do we plan for occasions like this. should we be expected to save every week and then put that money in to occasions.
well, i suppose that is the best option really.
but it was a really interesting challenge and made me think a lot about my expenses.

A further final reflection

DS2 is taking the 11 plus in September. We haven't paid for tutoring, partly because I object, and partly because it felt like a lot of money to hand to someone to do something I can do myself (I used to tutor). But omg the cost of materials! I have bought a bunch of books to work on over this holiday (the test is the second week of September so we don't have much choice really - the books I've bought are short tests in maths and grammar, plus some extra work on comprehension). It came to £60 +! I'd already come to the conclusion that the style of the 11 plus means that they operate social selection as well as academic, but even when you try and do it without spending money it still costs a lot (mock at the school last weekend was £30). How on earth are people on a tight budget meant to afford that.

A few days reflection and my final round up remains the same really. It would be incredibly difficult to live on £85 a week. If I was reduced to that we would manage somehow, but anything non-food/essential repair related would have go. If dh (main earner) was reduced to that we would go bankrupt. We'll have to hope our critical illness cover pays out if needed - luckily dh's work benefits aren't too bad.

jimswifein1964 Tue 17-Jul-12 10:32:25

Has doing the challenge changed your attitude towards protecting your finances?

Not really, I know that if dh lost his income for longer than a month we'd be up shit creek,but we cant afford to do anything about it.

Do you think you are now more likely to put a plan in place to safeguard your income?

Nope, we're in a catch 22 - we dont have spare income to use on insurance etc. Ok, so we spent money in cafes etc - but really, a life with never any treats is no life for kids - I grew up under the constant shadow of my mum telling me how poor we were; its crap. Cutting out beavers and a cafe a wek won't give enough for extra financial security anyway.

Are you now motivated to ask your employer or ask your partner to ask their employer about income protection as part of their employee benefits package?

pmsl. I dont even get sick pay. And dh cant afford to rock the boat at work at all in the current climate.

antonchigurwouldliketomeetyou Mon 16-Jul-12 22:27:47

Was just marvelling this morning at not having gone over budget too catastrophically.

Then remembered that I hadn't counted the £17.35 we spent on a takeaway at the start of the week.

So I guess we blew it.

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