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On the breadline but going without Sky and sports would cause problems in the relationship.

(50 Posts)
Darkesteyes Sun 18-Nov-12 18:06:14

I posted this on the News board but ive also put it here because i wondered what other Mners would think of this especially as there have been even more threads than usual about money in relationships over the past week or so.

It just seems to me that the woman in this situation is making the sacrifices or am i being over sensitive.

They have their priorities wrong, and not just on the Sky issue.
e.g. child's packed lunch: "A bag of crisps, a Kit Kat and, very rarely, a banana."

banana = around 15p.
crisps and kitkat, at least 10p each.

lightrain Sun 18-Nov-12 18:20:29

Poor meal planning. It's easily possible to eat fresh food cheaply, you just have to be bothered to cook every night.

TurnipCake Sun 18-Nov-12 18:30:04

I can understand people wanting a small luxury when things are tight but something tells me that if it was her spending £24 a month on a hobby/night out/music, it would be put to a stop pretty quickly

Darkesteyes Sun 18-Nov-12 18:36:21

Exaactly Turnip Thats why i posted this in Relationships because im always seeing threads on here where there is similar or worse.

More detailed article here.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 18-Nov-12 18:37:53

I am shocked that Nicola Probert is the one finding things to cut back on while her selfish overgrown manbaby husband is insisting on keeping sky sports. Apparently it will cause problems to get rid of sports but apparently his wife eating less than their 4 year old son won't.

I said her name in full in the hopes they're people who google names to see what the reaction is.

Darkesteyes Sun 18-Nov-12 18:39:04

Nicola Probert is nervous. She hasn't let her partner, Tony Hodge, go food shopping for the family on his own since the day he came back with a £3 DVD, a six-pack of premium baked beans and two milkshakes for the children – an extra £10 on the bill that meant their two sons couldn't go to the soft play centre that weekend. Today, though, Nicola has no choice: she is recovering from a minor operation and can't leave the house. She isn't happy.

"Please don't get Heinz baked beans," she implores him, handing over the shopping list she's written out in painstaking detail. "Even if they're on offer, they're more expensive than own-brand. Don't get posh, individual packets of crisps either; get the supermarket ones that come in multipacks. And please don't buy any of those offers they pile up by the front door of the supermarket – they're always more expensive than the stuff you can find at the back of the shop."

Tony sighs. Nicola tries to make amends

The above is from the article ive just linked. He doesnt seem to have any idea. He SIGHS at her then she feels she has to coax and make amends?!
Big Red Flag.

Darkesteyes Sun 18-Nov-12 18:40:14

I like your thinking SmellslikeTeen. Totally agree.

StaceeJaxx Sun 18-Nov-12 18:50:18

I think she needs to join MN and then LTB.

doctordwt Sun 18-Nov-12 18:56:09

He isn't prepared not to have his Sky Sports, at £24 a month, but in a month when his little boy isn't eligible for free milk and fruit anymore, she can't think where she could possibly find £20 a month to continue it.

Was that meant to be ironic? What a twat angry

AbuseHamzaMousseCake Sun 18-Nov-12 19:24:26

Egg fried rice for filling family meal is simple to make at home: boil and cool some rice. In a wok or large pan, lightly saute finely diced onion with some garlic and ginger. Chop and add whatever veg you have lurking in fridge eg carrot, pepper, broccoli. Throw in a handful of frozen peas and cook for 3-4 mins. Beat 1 or 2 eggs with a little soy sauce, push veg to side and pour in egg. Let egg cook until just set, then add cooked rice and stir well. Cook for another 2-3 mins until rice hot, stirring frequently. That gives us more than enough for a hungry family of four.
Children add a bit of soy sauce, we add some chilli sauce. Can serve as side dish with say chicken made into a stir fried dish(or quorn chicken style pieces). Small amount of meat goes further. Or can eat as is. We make it towards end of month too use up odds and ends. Kids love it.
We never buy it from takeaway or supermarket as prefer the home cooked one. Add some beansprouts for crunch.

Is easy to eat fresh, if you plan your meals and make them at home. Can make bread and cakes, pies flapjacks etc cheaply at home. Is not difficult. Don't need gadgets. Just time. But will have plenty of that if get rid of Sky and don't veg out in front of tv of an evening!
Buy staples ie ingredients like rice, flour, lentils, onions in bulk from Asian supermarkets or Tesco, Asda etc online. Don't go into stores otherwise you impulse buy rubbish. Especially with kids in tow. Look online for good deals, Aldi, Lidl do cheap good quality veg if you don't have good market handy. You have to shop wisely and not just go to nearest supermarket.
This is hard if both working but the internet is your friend. Do bulky shop periodically with free delivery and then you can free up some time to get perishables more frequently.

Problem is where you don't have the money to do this type of shopping, ie have weekly sum. Or if you don't have the energy or inclination!
My parents brought up 6 children like this, they never spent any money on things like Sky Sports. Luckily, we are a bit better off and can be a bit more relaxed about things, but we still make the bulk of our food from scratch. And don't buy expensive ingredients that are rarely used.
All these cookery shows make people think you need well equipped industrial kitchens and unlimited budget for fancy schmancy food. Even Jamie Oliver (though I give him credit re school meals) recipes have stoopid salads with pomegranate seeds etc! Nice but not necessary if you are in tight budget! Home made coleslaw is so easy and yummy, I don't understand how the slimy supermarket version manages to sell at all!
Any way, in my view it is not difficult to eat well on most low budgets. It is a big effort though.
<ends rant and climbs down off soapbox>

AbuseHamzaMousseCake Sun 18-Nov-12 19:28:36

Oh good grief, if her pratner can't put family first and shop sensibly, dump the fool.

44SoStartingOver Sun 18-Nov-12 19:37:21

I can see it can be tricky to encourage some small children to eat a range of cheaper fresh foods. I know mine have been picky even when there has been tons of choice. Tinned veg is as nutritious and is a v good place to do veg in the cheap.

We don't have sky - pointless luxury IMO but I know lots of people of what would seem t be very tight budgets (or benefits) with similar luxuries eg iPhone 4 (I'm guessing still fairly pricey), still smoke, and one who has acrylic nails at a salon once a fortnight. They defend it by saying it is their only luxury.

It makes no sense to me.

Her partner seems selfish and stupid to me, but not necessarily unusual.

LessMissAbs Sun 18-Nov-12 20:35:56

Sport is important to him. Err no, thats watching sport on tv! He sounds a bit of a loser and a waster but sadly I agree with 44SOStartingOver not unusual.

fuzzpig Sun 18-Nov-12 21:19:10

The packed lunch thing bugged me too - in Tesco bananas (big ones!) 12p each, kitkats 20p each (£1.59 for 8), even own brand version £1.09 for 8 so 13.6p each.

I do think food prices are ridiculous though and it often is cheaper to get freezer stuff than all the fresh ingredients for one meal.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Sun 18-Nov-12 21:29:29

It does seem as though she is the one making the sacrifices. He gets more food than her and doesn't have to give up his TV.
But she does have a point about the difficulty of feeding kids healthily on a tight budget: if they won't eat much of the fresh fruit and veg it starts to feel wasteful buying it for it to be thrown away.

plutocrap Sun 18-Nov-12 21:34:20

AbuseHamza, was "pratner" a deliberate typo? wink

CaramelisedOnion Sun 18-Nov-12 21:37:28

this is utter bullshit. The idea that it is impossible to eat healthily because of cost is insane. Porridge oats? 75p for 1KG . Rice? 40p for 1kg. Bananas cost less than 15p each, broccoli about 90p for a big piece, carrots cost pence, as do potatoes, parsnips, onions etc. You can make and enormous irish stew for about 12 pounds (enough to make about 16-20 portions) Water comes out of the tap for practically nothing.....junk food is NOT cheaper - this is a MYTH. Also the part at the end where she talks about "We have the most basic Sky TV deal – £24 a month. I would get rid of that entirely if I had to but Tony would have a problem with that, because the sport is important to him. Getting rid of Sky would create problems in our relationship, and that's the last thing we need" UGH. 1. Get the fuck over it, Tony...... and 2. 24 x 12 =288. You can buy a lot of fruit and vegetables for that.

I find the article quite confusing, he is earning £100 more a week, so they should still at least be a couple of hundred better off without the tax credits?

Or have I read that wrong?

Overall it sounds as if she if trying to feed three babies in that household.

How can a father sacrifice peppers and vegetables for Sky sports and look their kids in the eye?

My ds, dh and I get two good meals out of tuna, pasta, sweet corn and peas bulk cooked it makes an excellent lunch. A couple of meat free meals a week won't kill anyone if you ensure you have protein from beans, eggs and cheese. When I was at home on mat leave I used to make the most of the day and have a big cook off to get maximum efficiency out of the oven. Soups are simple, cheap and filling, and I'd knock out some fairy cakes or simple biscuits for a sweet treat.

Perhaps he throws his toys out of the pram when he doesn't get the food he likes though.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 18-Nov-12 22:08:17

I think it's a very badly written and poorly researched article. I pointed out on the other thread that tax credits are awarded based on your income from the previous financial year. So for 2012/2013 the tax credits will be worked out from the income of 2011/2012. His income from his new job won't be part of the calculation for this years award.

This family probably are struggling financially, she'll be on SMP but the tax credit award will have been worked out when she was working full time. That's my best guess anyway.

fuzzpig Sun 18-Nov-12 22:35:12

DH would love to have sky sports but knows it is unnecessary so we don't have it. It is so expensive.

We did have cable in our first flat, as we both had jobs (I was then made redundant while pregnant with dc1) - it broke, and in the fecking ages time it took for Virgin media to sort the damn thing out, we realised we were happier without it anyway as it was such a time sink.

I think I would really struggle to do £80 a fortnight on food, I know it can be done, but we do about £80 a week, a large amount of which is fresh fruit. We don't have many other outgoings though, no car for example, and no childcare now, so can't really make a comparison to the couple in the article.

Iodine Sun 18-Nov-12 23:37:55

She needs to learn how to cook and meal plan. It's utter bullshit that it's cheaper to buy junk than cook good meals for a family.

expatinscotland Sun 18-Nov-12 23:54:10

Already answered two other threads on this subject. Nicola's not dependent on a corner shop, where it's still cheaper to buy your own ingredients to cook something besides the stuff in the freezer section (apparently, that's too much if you have a shit life, living in this dump with a dead kid, I won't go there just now) but hey, she needs to meal plan? He's got two functioning arms and legs, too.


So suddenly we're all Monty Python "I lived in a cardboard box" stereotypes?

it's not a fucking competition to be poor.

Jesus, this dastardly government has got us all warring over who makes the best soup from cat shit, from scratch.

expatinscotland Mon 19-Nov-12 00:37:15

Not really, Amazonian. But c'mon, Sky and Mars bars?

FFS, every day of my life is shit, oh, and here's another one! It's still going on, and still need to try to do the best by the kids I have left. And if that means no Sky and keeping the food bill down so the leccy meter doesn't run out then I'd best figure out a decent way to do it.

Expat I count you as one of the people who actually know how to live. I think of Aillidh and I pine for you as ds has leukaemia and I can't imagine your pain. Well I can but if I prepare myself for even a minute I am a mess.

I want everyone to unite and say it's not right or fair that lots of people have to be proud to live on beans and toast. Though beans and toast are ok..but hell, we live in a highly developed first worlds country.

We should rise up. We are a wonderful nation

but sorry, these last few 'governments' have not governed. They have raped pillaged and laughed at us.

Labour bled the coffers dry and laughed as they left the boardroom in darkness.

This government is crucifying the poor weak and vulnerable. It's the Tory way. But it's not a way that morally or financially stands any kind of scrutiny.

I have only sky and magic stars. I cant afford to go oiut. I have DLA and Carer;'s allowance. i have savings. but from aprial next year the limit for savings in order toi qualify for benefits is being cut from 16 tghousand to 6 thousand.

i am ashamed to be alive actually let alone british. i love my gorgeous Lakeland Terrier so much as she brings me joy and warmth. And she warms our bed at night. And my boy is bald and pale. I like Sky because it has DisneyJunior. I hate Murdoch and the fuckers that take my and my sons money for it in such a climate.

and as for porice rigging among the gas and electricity companies..well, what do you expect? we are the gullible fuckers that just pay it.

terrible typos.


garlicbaguette Mon 19-Nov-12 01:10:55

Very powerful posts, UA, and to the point.

The big issue is not this woman's selfish prat of a husband valuing his TV entertainment more highly than his children's well-being. It's that so many of us are so financially stretched that we have to count the cost of an individual banana.

TiredBooyhoo Mon 19-Nov-12 01:15:02

excellent post UA. but i have to ask. what can people who really are counting every banana do about it? people need their gas and electric. we cant just not pay it.

TiredBooyhoo Mon 19-Nov-12 01:15:49

i'm genuinely asking btw.

No tired we have to pay it. There is nothing we can do. We don't have the stomach for a revolution.

I think we look at Spain and Greece and their peoples rising up and protesting about austerity and we somehow feel smug that we can just remain british and take it on the chin...that we are somehow not in and amongst the dirtbag messed up 'euro' nations (we are however!) and so can hitch up our breasts and feel better.

Well we can't. But governments have managed to divide and rule us so brilliantly that we are not a cohesive land-mass now anyway so there's fuck all we can do except sit back, be proud to have beans and sky, and continue to cough up

TiredBooyhoo Mon 19-Nov-12 01:36:15

i dont feel smug. i feel constantly on edge. just waiting for that emergency to happen that will break me.

yes, me too. smile sad

garlicbaguette Mon 19-Nov-12 14:53:12

I bought an extra electric blanket this year - on overpriced credit - so I can put it on the sofa and keep warm, as I won't be able to afford to have the heating on for more than a couple of hours. I think this is shit. I'm not resourceful, I'm desperate.

Nicola should still tell Tony it's Sky away or the highway, though! Twat.

Garlic aren't electric blankets quite expensive to run? Or are you finding it cheaper than heating one room?

The thing with being frugal is that you can look at it as a challenge, but I think people get very demotivated when they can't see a light at the end of the tunnel and then lose the will.

I know when I was made redundant and nearly lost my flat, that's when I wanted a bit of junk food for comfort, stuck in the house with sweats, hat and a duvet on. Perhaps she's lost the will, especially as he doesn't sound very supportive.

garlicbaguette Wed 21-Nov-12 23:50:48

Deffo cheaper! But I did my research - and bought a top-of-the-range 'intelligent' one. I don't notice any increase in electricity use, so Dreamland must be telling the truth when they say it costs pennies to run. Last winter my fuel bills went up by £25 a week, so - as long as I stay stoical about cold rooms - this will pay for itself very quickly.

You're spot on, it feels like a trap with no escape. The second week of each fortnight is incredibly anxious for me: even though I'm adequately provisioned, the knowledge that I've only got £1.60 or so for the whole week makes me feel helpless (I've taken to going out for a can of peas or something, just to feel 'normal'). Counting the cost of everything in pence takes you over - whoever said it muddles your thinking was right.

I can barely remember being able to choose on any criteria other than "Is it absolutely necessary?" and "Is it cheapest here?" Making a £10 mistake sentences me to two weeks on rice and lentils. If I have to call a load of 0845 numbers (eg the DWP and Atos!) I panic because my phone provider charges for them. I need to budget a month ahead for hospital visits and/or Atos interviews, because the bus fare's £10 and I might need a coffee. It's horrid to be always cold, to have to ration your showers, to do less laundry and to let your roots grow out. Like you, I eat comfort food - I never used to have things like jam butties; now I get through a pot of jam a week.

Thank you for getting it smile I never used to, either. It's so bloody easy to 'economise' for a while, when you still have a car and cupboards full of stuff you can use up. I was always sympathetic to the hard-up but, really, I had no clue how desperately all-consuming it becomes.

Somebody gave me some money yesterday. I've bought gin, fags and chocolate grin Of course I should have put it on the meter - or away for my next bus fare - but, bloody hell, when treats are this sparse you start thinking like there really is no tomorrow! For now I'm happy and that probably is helping my mental health ...

If the govt really did want to help the disadvantaged poor, they'd be opening up a whole rash of community projects instead of 'ghosting' the Sure Starts and cutting support workers. There'd be little clubs of many types, all over the place, where folks can get moral support and somewhere warm to spend time productively. But it's easier and cheaper to tighten the screws, blaming us when the anxiety makes us confused and hopeless.

Gosh, that was a bit of a rant blush Must be the gin ... wink

suzyrut Thu 22-Nov-12 12:08:35

Sorry for x-post but with a basic sky package you don't get sky sports!

Enjoy your gin Garlic you sound like you need a treat.

I managed to turn myself around, when I lost my job I was single, so I only had myself to support, although I nearly lost everything I could cope on my own.

Now I have a family, I don't know what I'd do if it happened again. Luckily living here in Switzerland the social support is good.

However you never lose the fear, sometimes it's a good thing questioning everything you buy, but sometimes I feel like a nagging old crone with my DH and DS. But I am the sole breadwinner so it all falls on my shoulders and I end up being the fun police about things. I can't help it.

I'm trying to put away some money for the future that I didn't get a chance to during my twenties. That time was spent getting out of debt sadly.

Good news about the electric blanket though. How much does it cost from Dreamland? I might get one for my nan. She often falls asleep in the living room I suspect.

He has his priorities wrong. I appreciate they are both making sacrifices, but to keep Sky because 'sport is important to him' (WTF? And his kid eating peppers is some kind of luxury leisure activity?) is appalling.

I would also like to point out that there is quite a bit of middle ground between 'fresh' and 'processed'. We buy frozen, chopped peppers now - they are £1 for a bag that lasts for about a month. Sure, they're not as nice as fresh, but they go a hell of a lot further and don't go wrinkly and need to be chucked. Ditto frozen sweetcorn, spinach, peas etc, which are all very versatile.

The bottom line is that it shouldn't be like this though.

Hydrophilic Thu 22-Nov-12 18:09:44

You can get 3 peppers for 80p in LIDL. If he cancelled his Sky he could afford to buy loads.

garlicbaguette Thu 22-Nov-12 18:49:36

Thanks, Binfull smile

The blanket is this one. Pricey, but amazingly efficient.

garlicbaguette Thu 22-Nov-12 18:51:24

Agree with you about frozen veg, Mackerel. They purportedly have more vitamins, too, having been frozen very fresh instead of stored in 'climate controlled' warehouses for a year and a day.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 18:54:21

Frozen veg is brilliant. If you're doing a casserole you can just shove it in the pot.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 18:55:58

Also, canned tomatoes are apparently even better than fresh as something in the canning process releases more licopenes, or something like that.

garlicbaguette Thu 22-Nov-12 19:25:33

Correct, fuzzpig! (Oops, nutrition bore emerging there blush)

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 19:29:21


amarylisnightandday Thu 22-Nov-12 23:34:46

Yy to him being a prat about sky. Get over it freeview is free and even the basic virgin thing where you can watch catch up only costs me £14 a month. I'm cancelling because I hardly watch tv.

It's a shit state if affairs though that both parents are working and are still in sure straights sad. Mind you bit doesn't mention if they carry any debt etc?

I can see where he's coming from re being v negative about food but really - it's food or sky mate.

fiventhree Fri 23-Nov-12 17:35:35

Well said UA!

But her h is still selfish.

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