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To ask how you cope when you're skint?

(45 Posts)
2BottlesofWhiskeyfortheWay Fri 17-Jun-16 21:04:42

How do you do it?
I've got about £8 to buy a few bits tomorrow (loo roll, bananas). Trying to run cupboards/freezer down so as not to buy much. I can eek a few things out/be inventive for a day of two.
We've had some unexpected bills & because of a problem with car (essential as DP works far away, has to travel for work) we'll be in the same position next month. It will also be dc2 first birthday:-(

How do other people cope when every penny counts?

FoofooLeSnoo Fri 17-Jun-16 21:09:03

Much like you're doing really. Luckily at 1 year old they have no concept of birthdays so it takes the pressure off a bit. We tend to have trips to local country park or walk in the woods. We've had some strange dinner combinations when we've been using up freezer bits! It's not easy though.

Fratelli Fri 17-Jun-16 21:15:23

Exactly what you're doing! I write down everything we have in the freezer and cupboards and see what meals I can come up with! Also, we didn't get much for ds's first birthday as he had no idea what day it was! We just got a couple of bits, eBay is great in these times

2BottlesofWhiskeyfortheWay Fri 17-Jun-16 21:23:45

Thank you for your replies.
eBay is a great idea.

We were pretty hard up around DC1 first birthday & I felt awful. 5years on, we were in so much of a better place & last few months it's been one thing on top of another. I never thought we'd be back here sad

Fratelli Fri 17-Jun-16 21:46:48

Just try and remember kids don't care about "stuff" at all. Years from now they won't remember the presents they had or the food they ate. But they will always remember having loving parents. Your posts show how much you care. That is the most important thing.

RubbleBubble00 Fri 17-Jun-16 21:59:23

Your one year old will just love some time at the park - stuff doesn't matter to them.

Think cheap and cheerful. Hm soup is usually cheap to make. Love carrot and red lentil. There's some great menus on money saving expert in their chat

x2boys Fri 17-Jun-16 22:04:04

How long wil you have no money for ? I gave up work last yr to be my disabled son,s carer so we are and a reduced budget but not hugely as we live in social housing and dsgets dla and i get carers allowance etc what i have found going from a monthly wage to some money coming in every week is that we dont have say a week an a half of being skint that we had we had two wages coming in but we have more periods of 1 or 2 days of being skint not sure whats worse confused i try to fill the freezer up when dh gets paid or we get monthly tax credits we have a chest freezer so. We are never completley out of food but we have some scratchy meals just before pay days .

Akire Fri 17-Jun-16 22:04:37

Have you got any close family or friends? I'd love to host small tea party for a friends/family birthday if they wanted celebrate but were skint. Dosnt cost much put up few balloons and have cake (but one less thing for you if you are really skint). It would make it more of an occasion. Agree kids don't need gifts at one!

Make sure check any points or shopping vouchers you may have for essentials. Do you have anything worth abating? Any good baby stuff?

Akire Fri 17-Jun-16 22:05:24


Sgtmajormummy Fri 17-Jun-16 22:08:59

When times were tight early on in our marriage we called in all possible favours!
Do you have family who'd be willing to host a birthday party for their grandchild or godchild instead of a gift? A cake and a few balloons would be fine.

We used to accept any invitations for dinner and promise to invite them back when things weren't so tight. DH had a free lunch at work so I always told him to eat meat (the most expensive item on our shopping list). MIL was great for sending us home with food parcels, too. We cut out luxuries like the pub or weekly magazines and I learned to get inventive with cheap ingredients. I also took on some on-line work which turned out to be a good supplement during maternity leave.

Our lowest point was when we sold some bits of unwanted gold and had to negotiate monthly instalments for an unexpectedly high electricity bill, but we never lost hope or turned to trickster loan companies, and eventually things got better. DS was also tiny at that time and I often look on it as one of our happiest periods.

We had a taste of that lifestyle at the start of this year with a cash flow problem for a good cause. I told DH "We can do it, just about, but it's going to take three months of screaming poverty. Either that or a bank loan." So it was back to basic foods and no luxuries. The kids were also told that they couldn't ask for treats or expensive activities, just the library or friends round. We managed and it really made me appreciate how far we've come (we're either side of 50 BTW).

So please don't despair OP. People are willing to help, just try asking, and you have the strength to overcome this difficult time. flowers

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 17-Jun-16 22:13:12

I'm not in your position yet but due to a massive pay cut (my choice) I expect to be. I tend to use Asda delivery because having done some very detailed price per kg comparisons I find their meat and veg to be much cheaper than anywhere else. I don't rate Aldi but there is one close by. I also buy things like washing powder and toilet roll in the largest possible units because it works out much cheaper that way. I think I'd better start saving loyalty points for a rainy day (I have an Amex Nectar credit card so although I don't do my weekly shop at Sainsbo's I still get points and I buy diesel at Tesco which adds up).

Doesn't help with the here and now but I do also buy things like pasta and rice in big bags so there are always staples to fill up on.

carryam Fri 17-Jun-16 22:24:55

I would plan a fun day for your 1 year old, rather than buy them something. A picnic in the living room with toys, playing with water in the bath, whatever they enjoy. Your DC will care far more about this than presents.

YouAreMySweetestDownfall Fri 17-Jun-16 22:31:41

Lots of initiatives in urban areas. I could drift from a sure start brunch club to a church playgroup And we'd be fed and watered all day. And the park.always the park!

Balletblue Fri 17-Jun-16 22:38:37

It's dull but doable. You sound like you are doing a good job. Do you have a garden or a warm windowsill? Even growing some salad leaves or cress can save a little bit and is quite fun. We used to be quite vegetarian and have lots of eggs and homemade pizza. my dd used to be very thrilled by large cardboard boxes - she really thought they were a real treat!

Hippee Fri 17-Jun-16 22:39:29

Freegle (or Freecycle) depending on your area - you have to offer stuff too, but it means you can also ask for things you need (you might get them). I have got great children's toys at car boot sales too. A friend in Cambridge belongs to a group where excess produce is offered - can't remmber what it is called - but could be great in the late summer when everyone has a glut of fruit and veg in their gardens.

carryam Fri 17-Jun-16 22:39:50

Also, try and find fun things for yourself to do that are free. It is hard graft if you feel you are having no fun at all.

If you need it, there are always Food Banks.

Destinysdaughter Fri 17-Jun-16 22:46:32

Eat vegetarian food. Dried beans are v cheap and you can make some delicious meals with them. Chilli, enchiladas, soups etc. Also baked potatoes with cheese, tuna or egg mayo.

Jack Monroe has some good budget recipes also.

I've gone vegetarian recently as I'm broke and its been a challenge but i don't really miss meat , and its cured my constipation too!

2BottlesofWhiskeyfortheWay Fri 17-Jun-16 22:49:10

So many brilliant ideas! Thank you all.
I know she won't remember but I just feel so disappointed in myself that we're back stuck in a way I never wanted either of my children to know.
We live beside a park so a picnic there sounds great. Mil would be delighted to provide a cake. This is kind of a sore point but more my issue with mil than her herself. She is a good person & I have no doubt would love to have that responsibility.
We eat plenty of pasta. Kids eat loads of veg (frozen) & as much fruit as I can get. Ds is a bit if a bottomless pit but gets school lunch which seems to be semi decent

2BottlesofWhiskeyfortheWay Fri 17-Jun-16 22:54:41

X posted with some. Never thought of trying veggie options. I try to use my slow cooker because it's low energy. I'll google some recipes

I go to a free baby group one day s week. I know it's not 'fun' but met some nice people. I feel a little less helpless when there. I don't know anyone enough to ask for favours though (other than mil)

KitKats28 Fri 17-Jun-16 22:55:01

Ok, a one year old will not even notice it's their birthday. Ignore it for now and say to yourself that you will celebrate it when you are back on track. I mean literally ignore it. It is only an arbitrary date.

How long does the £8 have to last you? Do you have to top up your electric/gas out of that?

Make an inventory of literally every bit of food you have in the house. Write it all down in one piece of paper and then get another piece of paper and divide it into three meals x 4 people x number of days till money goes in. Try and fill in as many meals as you can with what you have in the house. If you are creative you can probably cover more meals than you think.

Don't go mad ebaying stuff, unless you are absolutely sure that you won't need it in future.

Ask your health visitor if there is any temporary help available to you. If you don't ask, you don't get. Don't be too proud to ask.

When you are back on your feet, pay it forward. Donate to a food bank or give something to a charity. I think it is easier to accept help, knowing one day you will be in a position to help someone else.

KittensandKnitting Fri 17-Jun-16 22:56:44

I am not in your position but I was a kid who grew up with a single parent mum who had pretty much nothing. (So thankful to my mum for what she did for me and my brother! How she did it I have no idea at all)

I remember all the wonderful times we had, my best kid birthday was at the beach with buckets and spades and sandwiches. So if the park is what you have, have a picnic with silly games, kids remember time spent doing things, not how much money was spent and they don't remember the times "stuck" to them they are not stuck they are just loved

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Fri 17-Jun-16 23:09:15

Sorry this won't be quick money, but if you don't use topcashback already their snap and save offers change weekly and you can get roughly 20p-£1 cash back on the listed grocery items (you take a photo of your receipt and upload it). Sometimes their offers means you're getting the full cash back back for the item - currently I think it's on packs of pepperami (I know it's just snacky)

carryam Fri 17-Jun-16 23:10:12

My parents had little money. I remember the fun games they used to play with me. And at her age, you could actually wrap up a saucepan and wooden spoon, and give that to her as her present - at least for the day.

Also if you have spare food dye, some kids love playing in water with a bit of dye in.

We were totally vegetarian when skint. And go to market stalls or shops if you have one near. They are much cheaper than supermarkets. We actually ate healthier when we had to do this.

SpiceLinerandHoneyLove Fri 17-Jun-16 23:11:40

I menu plan to the nth degree and only buy exactly what we need.
Lots of soups - so easy and delicious to make and bulk out with leftovers
Gumtree - download the app. I have supplemented our income by £20 this week just sorting out a few bags of old clothes and selling them. No fees like eBay and no postage hassle
Cut out meat, alcohol and desserts. You won't notice after a while, I promise!
Switch to own brand everything. Check the reduced cabinets in the shops in the way home from work.
Do laundry on one day a week instead of lots of smaller washes. We do four loads big loads on a Saturday instead of eight or nine smaller ones over the week.
A one year old won't know it's their birthday or what that is even 'meant' to entail. A candle in a cupcake is just as big a treat to them as a party

Peasandsweetcorn Fri 17-Jun-16 23:26:42

It is so tedious, isn't it?
For DS' first birthday, I got a massive cardboard box, filled it with balloons & wrapped it. It was so big that he & 3yo DD spent most of the morning sat in it playing with the balloons. The box was free from the supermarket, the wrapping paper was cheap & so we're the balloons.
Are there any school fetes coming up near you? If they have a toy stall, they might have something you could get your DC2, more for the sake of the 5yo than DC2.

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