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To just feel utterly screwed as a single parent.

(145 Posts)
Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 07:49:17

I've just got a new job. Pulled off a career move than should have taken 4 to 5 years to achieve. I'm going into a stressful, full on job, and I'll be on 19.5k
This seems like a big jump, but having just crunched my numbers I'll still only have a few hundred left a month after everything is paid.

If I just my balls and manage to get to the next pay band, I'll have a few thousand a year more in wages but nothing in real terms as I'll lose the final tiny amount of tax credits help I get.

I'm on a better wage than lots of women I know but with a far worse standard of living.

There still won't be much left to save either so things like emergencies/ holidays/ any out of the ordinary expense is still going to be catastrophic.

I was looking at holidays for dd and I but have given it up as it's too expensive. I've got some money coming to me from ppi but even 1000 isn't enough for a week in the sun...but a couple could go for 500 each ( with two wages coming in) and the child place would be free. While me, on one wage has to pay twice as that offer doesn't work.

I'm just having a moment where it feels like there doesn't seem to be a point where it gets easier.

suga4spice Thu 01-Feb-18 07:57:23

Keep going. I know exactly how you feel as a single parent. If you keep climbing the career ladder as your child gets older you will reap the benefits. They aren't small forever and the grind does feel relentless.
My son is now 12 and I felt like you. I just managed to secure a 10k promotion. I have lost all tax credits and actually £50 a month better off.
But I have secured myself annual increment rises for the next 5 years, increased my skill set and I am already planning next career move.

It's an investment that will pay dividends just not for a while!

Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 08:06:07

Same position as you then. Dd is 12. I just scored an 8k a year wage increase but actually will only be 100 pounds a month better off.

It just feels crazy, that a jump that big gives me to real gain and to get to a point where I will be better off I'll need to be on about 28k a year. I don't know any women ( outside of my work place, and most in my work place aren't on that ) who are earning that.

I hate that it seems there isn't a way to solve the problem of being forever skint.

hibbledibble Thu 01-Feb-18 08:09:35

What about a houseswal for a holiday? Very affordable,and I know lots who have done it.

Or House sitting as a holiday? Lots of people need someone to look after their home in a beautiful location, plus maybe some animals. Trusted house sitters is a good website for this I believe.

ShatnersWig Thu 01-Feb-18 08:10:08

Obviously having a child makes finances tighter but most of what you talk about applies to an awful lot of single people across the board without children too.

There will be very few single people without children earning what you do or less, unless they live at home still, who could afford a week in the sun because they will be stung by the same single supplements as you. That's nothing to do with you being a parent.

I know a lot of single people who aren't parents earning what you do or less, who would KILL to have even that couple of hundred left each month that you say you will have. Hell, there are people earning more than you do who often don't have that left each month, so sounds to me like you budget very sensibly. Single people don't get any benefits or tax credits either.

In other words, yes, it's tough. But it's tough for a lot of people right now and it's not specific to being a single parent.

GeorgeTheHamster Thu 01-Feb-18 08:12:04

Keep going. You have decades of work ahead of you and this will pay off, even if not right now. Don't make the mistake of looking short term, relying on TC and CB and then being totally screwed when the kids are 18. You're doing great.

Pickleypickles Thu 01-Feb-18 08:12:05

Im a single mum and i agree with everything you say - you get stuck in a trap of working harder doesnt actually pay anymore BUT i guess the alternative would be single parents should get paid two people wage just to make it fair which seems silly as well

hibbledibble Thu 01-Feb-18 08:12:44

Also to say there are kany holiday options for under 1000. A week in the sun isn't the only opion. Blustone and uk cottage hire or camping

Amilliondreams Thu 01-Feb-18 08:15:25

Not comparable shatners.

Yes it’s difficult financially if you are single and easier if you share expenses as part of a couple but way more difficult when you are a single parent for obvious reasons surely!

Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 08:18:04

I'm sorting my career now, or trying to, to ensure I'm in a good place for when we turns 18. I'll need to support her through uni.

I guess I feel that single people can house share etc and can be more flexible with working times etc. And they don't have the cost of an extra person to support on that wage- but I'm not saying it isn't tough for them either.

It's just disheartening. To work ( hard) and not be better off.

FluffyWuffy100 Thu 01-Feb-18 08:20:50

Did you have the other thread on holidays? Pretty sure we found quite a few holidays in the sun for 1 adult and 1 child for £1k all inclusive basis.

Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 08:21:43

I've camped every year of dd's life 😊
And it's find but I thought I might be able to do something nice. For once.

Sometimes I feel a bit like I'm very much on the outskirts ( due to the restrictions being a single parent brings) and I wanted to do something that everyone else seems to do. But it's still out of reach.

ShatnersWig Thu 01-Feb-18 08:21:46

Amillion How come lots of single people without children on £19.5k don't manage to have a couple of hundred left each month like the OP says she will then?

I'm not saying this to be goady. I think the OP is perfectly entitled to feel as she does. But she's in a boat with millions of others and it isn't just because she's a single parent I'm afraid. And I don't forsee things getting any better for anyone anytime soon sadly.

callmybabybalonz Thu 01-Feb-18 08:23:51

I just want to tell you that i’m Very proud of your career move. Well done xxx
I’m sorry it’s still so hard flowers

Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 08:25:22

We did.
But then you have spending money and travel to and from the airport and holiday clothes. And the costs rise and I can't justify it.

My friend said she got a great deal going with her husband. 400 pounds each. Child place free.
They both work.
Same holiday would cost me double, for less people. On one wage.

JaceLancs Thu 01-Feb-18 08:25:24

I was there albeit with 2 children and having no child care help kept me in poverty
Once they were in high school things picked up - I got them both through university and they are now settled into decent jobs
I’ve crept up the career ladder and now earn decent money (well above national average)
I used to supplement my income (and occasionally still do) by selling on eBay - doing car boots, and squirrelled it away for a holiday
We managed one uk and one holiday abroad a year on that and it also paid for Xmas

cestlavielife Thu 01-Feb-18 08:28:24

Eurocamp does single parent discount. Get a nice mobile home

ghostyslovesheets Thu 01-Feb-18 08:28:49

The free child things sucks - I totally get you - I’ve paid adult prices for my first child since she was 10! Because holiday prices are based on two adults plus kids

It’s worth getting off the TC’s though so you don’t miss them later

Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 08:29:05

The couple of hundred has to clothe both of us. And all school trips/ school uniforms/ birthdays/ anything extra/ shoes for a child growing so quick. Mot/ car issues. Everything. But for 2 people, so really there isn't anything left but it's an improvement to know I can get dd a pair of shoes when hers fall apart.

ghostyslovesheets Thu 01-Feb-18 08:29:36

Oh and yes I’m doing eurocamp again this year - £850 for a week with 3 kids

kirinm Thu 01-Feb-18 08:30:32

I was a single parent (DS is 21 now) and it is tough and it's shit not being able to afford holidays but I'd imagine an extra £100 a month is still enough to make a huge difference. God, when I was totally broke paying off a loan that meant I had an extra £40 a month made a huge difference.

I put myself through uni and eventually qualified as a solicitor whilst a single parent which took about 12 years in total. I'm still paying off student loans now. It's hard but I don't think much about being a parent is particularly easy.

Kelsoooo Thu 01-Feb-18 08:32:46

I also feel like you're misunderstanding how couples finances work. When DH and I go away with the children, not only are neither of them free, we don't pay 50% each. We pay 100% together out of our combined wage. With two two adults with two children....equals the same situation as you technically.

If you're having to pay a single persons supplement...there are hotels that don't charge that.

Quiddichcup Thu 01-Feb-18 08:34:36

I'll only get a tiny amount of tax credits when I start the new job.

And I get a tiny amount of maintaince from dds father. Not because he is a low earner but because he keeps having children so the amount goes down.

I know I need to move up the ladder so I won't need that tiny amount and the tiny amount of tax credits ( tiny but needed) but it's then crap to think I'll need to earn x amount more to still be in the same position as I am now. Because children still need supporting at 18.

PipGirl404 Thu 01-Feb-18 08:34:47


It's tough, super tough, and it sucks, but we have little to no alternative.

In the mean time, go on Facebook and get onto Pennine Travel - they are amazing and will find you a low cost holiday for you and your DD. They're such an overlooked travel agent but they're great! They're Manchester based and I'm in Scotland and use them smile

Pythonesque Thu 01-Feb-18 08:35:32

This is a bit of an aside - because actually you have my sympathy massively and I wish we could do much more about the "traps" that negate the benefits of people moving up the career and earnings ladder.

My children would be thrilled if I had got my act together to take them camping every year.

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