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To ask of times when you were really broke

(187 Posts)
Dollardime Tue 14-Nov-17 14:21:24

We've had a really hard time financially the past 3 months. Bill after bill after bill.

My car has just failed it's MOT and needs £230 worth of work done it which we physically haven't got.

I feel really down and depressed today - please give me times of when you were broke and how it got better on the end to give me some hope 😞

Ausparent Tue 14-Nov-17 14:23:46

When DH and I got together we had £19 per month for food. It was really tough.

Skip forward 10 years and we are comfortable and squirriling money away every month in savings in case we ever find ourselves in similar circumstances

Justbookedasummmerholiday Tue 14-Nov-17 14:25:01

I remember borrowing bus fare to meet dm to buy us some shopping. Living off jam sandwiches because now exh wouldn't get a job.

TheQueenOfWands Tue 14-Nov-17 14:26:29

I've shoplifted because I had no money to buy DS food.

This was after I had sold most of my belongings.

twofloorsup Tue 14-Nov-17 14:33:02

I remember having cornflakes with hot water so my dc could have the milk. And value range EVERYTHING at one point too.
It did get better and I'm sure it will for you too keep your chin up flowers

ElsieMc Tue 14-Nov-17 14:35:17

TheQueenofWands - that is grim and sad. Never been that bad.

When we were first married we couldn't afford a sofa so we had a sun lounger in the living room that we sat on to watch our black and white tv. My dh's old dog decided to jump on with us and I can recall the noise of the rip as it gave way leaving us with a metal frame.

We also had such a foul carpet my grandmother gave me £300 to get another one. She told me not to tell anyone because she had nine children all with lots of kids.

We also had a concrete mixer in the living room because if we left it outside it would get stolen. We were the only house on the block that was not the subject of burglary/attempted burglary that Christmas.

Things did get better. We had bought a house sooner than we intended without the money to do the work needed. It didn't even have a bath. We were told to apply to the Council for a grant but they said a toilet and sink was sufficient. There was not the same amount of credit available so if you didn't have the money, you didn't get the goods.

BraveDancing Tue 14-Nov-17 14:37:44

I remember this guy I didn't fancy asking me out on a date at one point. I was starving - I'd been living on a bag of oatmeal for a week. I seriously found myself thinking "if I say yes he'll buy me dinner and if I shag him, he'll probably buy me breakfast".

That was a miserable wake up call.

BraveDancing Tue 14-Nov-17 14:39:10

Oh, and it did get better. DW and DD and I are going to the Cologne Xmas Markets next month and staying in a fancy hotel. Debt free, savings etc. Just took a bit of time and luck.

reetgood Tue 14-Nov-17 14:39:33

Walking an hour in the snow to a weeks temp job after moving back home, so I could treat myself to a coffee on the Friday with saved bus fare. Thinking I’d never work in my industry again. Got a regular temp job a month after, cleared debts and then got a job in my industry.

Establishing a new business with no capital. Working for that part time and in a cafe to supplement. Boyfriend variable income. Got two months behind on rent and received notice to quit.

Borrowed money off relatives, bought us up to date and as we’d been in the property for five years and no probs otherwise managed to square with letting agent. It gave me the fright of my life though!

Resolved to never, ever be in that situation again. Got a budgeting app and started sorting out our financial life. Still low and irregular income, but getting on track. First couple of months trying to catch up with ourselves and save were really hard. In a year, cleared £2k overdraft that id had for 10 years. Didn’t quite clear it in my budget until just under 2 years but stopped living in it then. Started bringing in some more income. Got gifted some inheritance, took on an extra part time job again and bought a house. Income increased slightly and stabilised. Still not big earners but we have a nice quality of life. When bills come around I have money set aside for them which has reduced both our stress massively.

Something which helped me at the time: it will not be like this for ever. That is a literal truth because it can’t be. Things always change. People are the most important, and you are more resilient than you know. I always knew I could weather being skint, what I didn’t know was that I can actually save. I didn’t have a spending problem, I just had a tough set of circumstances and an income problem. All I needed was a system I clicked with and the skills I’d developed through living with little could be used more effectively.

Dollardime Tue 14-Nov-17 14:43:40

We had managed to save up £700 which for us is a lot of money for us and took us a long time to save, but with bill after bill eating away at it we now have nothing. It's soul destroying

thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 14-Nov-17 14:43:43

My dd's father was a crack cocaine addict. In the weeks before he finally left, and immediately after, I had nothing. Not a thing. Virtually no possessions, no baby equipment, no phone. I'd go to my mums and take tinned food from their garage, which I later learned they knew about and had put there on purpose because they knew I was taking it. Every penny I had went on bills and virtually everything left over eventually went to him because drugs were all consuming for him. I look back now on those days and realise that I wasn't just broke, I was broken. That was 12 years ago, things are much better now.

IHaveBrilloHair Tue 14-Nov-17 14:44:17

Used to take out provident loans then hide from the collector, Dd thought she was called " the lady pennies".
Would walk to town in the freezing cold to have an extra 75p for a bit more food
Pretend to be not hungry so Dd could eat what we did have
Put the oven on to cook something then set up the little kids table in the kitchen and play snap with Dd where it was warm

dancinfeet Tue 14-Nov-17 14:45:40

first time was as a student. No student loan available due to the type of course I was on. One time there was a delay and my part time job wages weren't paid into the bank on time and I had to wait for head office to sort them out, which took 3/4 days. Being so hard up that weekend, and having to face the shame of the queue in the bank when I went in and asked to draw out my last 50p over the counter to buy a loaf of bread and a few tins of beans to last the weekend. (back in the 90s when you could make 50p stretch to a loaf and couple of tins from Aldi).

Second time nine years ago when I lost my business in the recession. A 8 week wait for benefits to be processed as I had to prove paperwork wise that my business had been steadily making a loss, and that I hadn't closed it fraudulently to claim benefits. That time I had to go cap in hand to my ex husband for some money to feed the children which he did, though barely enough for 1 weekly shop which I had to stretch over 8 weeks . And the school shamed me (by the teacher mentioning it loudly at collection time in front of everyone) for sending jam sandwiches in their pack ups / not healthy food (because that was all I had in at the time), and the bread slices had holes in where I had picked the mouldy bits off, but it was that or the kids didn't eat. No food bank in my town at the time. Couldn't get free school meals until benefits claim went through. My daughter's tenth birthday came and went with no card or present from me, and barely any food in the cupboard. What made it worse was that her dad and rest of family planned to give her gifts when they saw her later that week, so she got up on her birthday morning to no cards or presents. Most horrible time of my life. Though I did make it up to her later on in the year when I was back working, but it still didn't make up for the sadness we felt that day. She put such on a brave face and went off to school and I sat at the kitchen table and cried my heart out for her. I know that there are people in far worse situations though, and I am thankful for all we do have now, which isn't a massive amount, but I am just about paying the bills and keeping a roof over our heads.

OP - I am sorry that things are tough right now, and I hope that things get better for you soon xx

FinallyHere Tue 14-Nov-17 14:51:25

Its nothing compared to some of these stories, but as a student, I miscalculated the cost of my student halls. They included meals which I was never there for, but had to pay for anyway. Having paid for the term, I had nothing left. Walked to college, had to choose between missing meals and attending my lectures, which were held on another campus.

A friends parents came to visit, took friend and me out for lunch (fortunately she was always starving too, so my increased appetite went unnoticed. Then , leaving (they were on their way to the airport) handed me all their change, literally handfuls of 1p and 2p pieces. Felt like great riches and let me buy some at least token presents to take home at Christmas. Always been very grateful.

BeyondThePage Tue 14-Nov-17 14:52:20

I bought my house when interest rates were 7% - they quickly rose to 14.7% and partner left me - signed over the house -with the mortgage at 75% of my take home pay. That was fun. I lived off ramen soup with frozen veg, and beans on toast FOR THREE YEARS.

Now however, I am mortgage free and happy.

Sorry things are tough - hope they improve soon.

Tika77 Tue 14-Nov-17 14:52:22

When I first married at 21, moved to the countryside (from the capital, in a different country). Mostly farmers around, couldn't find a job. Had to cycle (remember crying while cycling in the snow) around, had to watch every penny. I remember counting my coins whether I could afford to buy a cauliflower. We had a crappy old car that we had to drive around visiting family at Xmas. Car needed to be pushed to start... at some points some young blokes helped, at another point we were stuck at the petrol station as engine wouldn't switch off... my Xhusband trying to repair it. We lived in this tiny one bedroom flat with no hot water in, loo was outside in the cold corridor. In the winter there was no way I'd have gone out into the snow to pee during the night. I used big yoghurt cups. :-D
So glad we had no children.
After a while I moved back to the capital, got a good job, divorced years later and came to the UK. :-)

IHaveBrilloHair Tue 14-Nov-17 14:53:14

No food banks when I was struggling either, so not only do I give often to our local one, my friends joke my house is like one, I can't stand to get low on anything incase something happens and I've no money again.

DesignedForLife Tue 14-Nov-17 14:57:00

Nothing compared to some, but £1000 in debt right now and Struggling to clear it. Trying to cut down on everything, buying value brands as much as possible (hard with severe food allergies in the house). Going to start using water on my cereals as I can't have dairy and non dairy is so expensive. Selling anything we can. Gutted as we wanted another baby but can't see how we can afford it since circumstances changed.

reetgood Tue 14-Nov-17 15:01:09

@dollard maybe reframe? Imagine the trouble you would have been in if you hadn’t got that money together. I found that if I gave savings a purpose I really made progress. So you got together an emergency fund, and it did a great job as an emergency fund. Now you have to rebuild but that’s what the money was for. If you can do that when things are tough, you are going to well set up for when they are less so x

I have loads of ‘future funds’ in my budget because that’s how my brain works. I could never just set aside money for the sake of it. You are ahead of me there. But if I worked out with a second hand car we’ll need a maintenance category, I will happily find it a monthly amount. I have a House emergency (for things like boilers) and a life emergency fund (for things like funerals). My income replacement fund is no where near big enough, and I had to raid all our emergency funds when we had a gap in payments from clients. I had to change the priority because it was more important to you know, pay the mortgage. But basically i’d created the option to do that for myself. Like your savings. It sucks, massively. I get that. But it won’t always be this hard x

tiptopteepe Tue 14-Nov-17 15:02:57

I had to sleep on a bench for three nights then in my friends empty bath at her student halls, then on my other friends couch for a month. I had to loiter round outside the supermarket to collect change people dropped to make up the money to buy instant noodles. I actually slept with several guys i met in bars just so i could stay overnight somewhere warm and have a shower.

Now im married with two children and I can put the heating on as much as I want and theres always food in the fridge.

Life goes up and down. In my experiences it doesnt always stay down. Dont let yourself become depressed because thats actually worse in my opinion, than any financial hardship. Look at the good things that you do have that may not be money.

Ausparent Tue 14-Nov-17 15:06:56

On the savings thing OP don't look at it as savings lost but debt prevented. You saved up that money so you are not £700 more in debt. You should be proud of that.

Rubbermaid Tue 14-Nov-17 15:07:19

When I was at university there were times when I had £20 a week to live on, including food and putting money on the gas and electric keys. It would regularly go off mid-shower, in the dark sad however I survived, and although I wouldn’t want to go back to it, I do remember the small joys of finding some super-reduced food and being proud of myself for managing to scrape by. You will get by, try not to think too far ahead in terms of what you have to pay for, and it won’t be forever.

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 14-Nov-17 15:11:32

Nothing in comparison to some. Dh and I both had a car so obviously not poor. The back axel went on his very old landrover and the engine went on my crappy car. We had no way of paying off the thousands of pounds needed for repairs so I changed jobs to somewhere closer to home. I didn’t like the job at all but it was far better money. I ended screwing up my career in the process as my former job had prospects and was exactly what I wanted to do. But dh was offered a move and a fab job in another part of the country. Had I not left the job I loved, we perhaps wouldn’t have had such a lovely and exciting life. I’m also so glad we are here because the opportunities for my dd are far better both in terms of schooling and sport.

twofloorsup Tue 14-Nov-17 15:12:08

@IHaveBrilloHair I'm also a food and toiletries stasher, can't bear to run out of anything.

springydaffs Tue 14-Nov-17 15:13:33

This thread is perfect timing for me. Currently on the bones of my arse. Good to know it'll pass and to not take it too seriously or personally!

Budgeting app? Which is a good one?

This too shall pass op. I've had some grim times in the past and I've had some plush times. Currently grim but there are mitigating circs. xxx

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