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To think if you're skint, it affects your children's outcomes in life

(135 Posts)
racetogether Thu 22-Aug-19 15:17:24

We have always been skint. We don't particularly have a good quality of life- very small house, needs alot of work, no Garden, . My kids have never been away on a holiday, they don't have bikes- we can't afford it. We can't afford trips out even it it's free as we need take into account cost of petrol so they are few and far between. Things like going to zoos etc is out of the question. They've been wanting to join a football club for several years but at £40/m there's no chance.

I feel sad for my kids. They don't have the same opportunities as I would have liked to have given them. I have mental health issues and suffer from depression on and off and this also I find affects the way I parent.

I feel I'm really letting my kids down.

Ok the other hand, their friends holiday regular ansn

OneRingToRuleThemAll Thu 22-Aug-19 15:29:08

Is there no give in your income at all? Are you heavily in debt and payments meaning no money left over? It's worth talking to a debt charity if that's the case.

Is there not free local things you can do? I'm similar in terms of accommodation - flat with no garden, but we go on walks, to the park, woods etc. It does seem like a restrictive childhood if your children can't do anything at all.

Bookworm4 Thu 22-Aug-19 15:30:42

Firstly bikes can be found free, freecycle etc
Do you definitely need a car? As that’s expensive.

HeyMonkey Thu 22-Aug-19 15:35:31

Do you have a partner and both work?

Have you checked that you are receiving all financial assistance you are entitled to?

If you are not already can you add yourself to the list for council/HA housing?

Frequency Thu 22-Aug-19 15:37:26


Being skint is shit, especially when you look around and see how much your children's peers have than they do but I think the depression is playing a bigger part than the financial situation.

I understand who easy it is to slip into that black hole of despair. Trust me, I've done it myself and it is hard to claw your way out and make changes but until you do nothing will change.

As pointed out bikes can be picked up for free, walks in the park are free, many train and bus services run cheap tickets over summer. You can take a packed lunch to the nearest beach. Your finances are not stopping your kids having days out, it is limiting them but it's not stopping them, your depression is.

Grasspigeons Thu 22-Aug-19 15:38:52

Do your children qualify for pupil premium funding at school (possibly not as lost of prople fall just outside) if they do - make sure you claim it and speak to the school about how its used to help your children.
In terms of clubs - brownie/scouts is normally cheap and has a good range of stuff to get involved with. A lot of churches run good youth groups. Also ive found a few brass bands do free music tution. All worth looking at.
It must be frustrating if they enjoy football as the clubs are pricey. Sat morning clubs are often a bit cheaper than the afterschool ones esp if you can volunteer to help.
Also focus on what you are providing, presumably love warmth and food and a home even if small is a home.
My only othet suggestion would be are your children young carers if your mental health is bad? Some support is available for young carers sometimes.

AiryFairyMum Thu 22-Aug-19 15:39:56

If it helps, I grew up like that, and it made me really good with money! I was lucky and I had lots of love at home and a really creative mum so we made something out of nothing. I also worked really hard at school because I was determined to have more in life one day. Now I do, and I am grateful every day for it. A poor childhood gave me a comfortable adulthood, if you look at things that way.

racetogether Thu 22-Aug-19 15:39:57

I work pt and dh ft- both on low paid jobs. I guess that's the reality of living life on low wages.

We live in a pretty crap northern town so theres not much to do here and the kids have been so many times to the things here that they've become bored. We live 30mins from a decent city and if it wasn't for that I don't know what on earth I could do!

Andysbestadventure Thu 22-Aug-19 15:40:27

How old are you, how old are your kids, where is their father?

jellycatspyjamas Thu 22-Aug-19 15:43:00

Of course being skint impacts your child’s outcomes. Yes there are free activities, parks etc but financial hardship contributes significantly to social exclusion whereby things that people take for granted simply can’t happen.

Financial hardship also means your more likely to live in an area with fewer amenities, your less likely to access discounts on goods and services, more likely to pay over the odds for any credit you do get meaning an even further reduction in ready cash. It’s shit for everyone concerned. I’m not at all saying you can’t be happy, but it does impact the opportunities available to you and your children.

Thehagonthehill Thu 22-Aug-19 15:43:33

My mum was skint too,used to put overdue bills in a drawer hoping they'd go away.
But we were all encouraged at school,playing with friends cost nothing.All trips out we took sandwiches,we didn't have a car.
My brother,sister and me all did ok in our exams and got good jobs.
I also remember childhood fondly.My friends had material wealth,no divorced parents but we're jealous of us because my mum so obviously loved us.
I don't think my mum looks back on those times with affection.

SouthChinaSea234 Thu 22-Aug-19 15:44:11

I have a relative in similar circumstances. Army cadets were a god send for her DC. Free transport, uniforms (including boots), outward bound, camps etc. They both loved it and really developed as a result.

JoxerGoesToStuttgart Thu 22-Aug-19 15:44:19

Could you take on more hours? Look for other work?

Didiusfalco Thu 22-Aug-19 15:45:00

This is really tough and I think you are right. I can’t find it but I’m sure there are studies that link income and life chances/achievement. It’s very much not a level playing field out there - you only need to look at where most of our PMs are coming from to know that.
Are you near any churches that offer holiday clubs etc for children near you? Something ran near me specifically for low income children and they took them on trips out of the city - apparently it was really good. I know this doesn’t exist everywhere. What is the school like? The secondary I work at (more than 50% free school meals) is really hot on providing enrichment activities - we know it can’t be offered at home, and in some ways I think it’s better when a lot of the kids are in the same boat and school can try and work on this, and the kids don’t feel different/left out.

Frequency Thu 22-Aug-19 15:46:24

I think maybe you need to take a closer look at your outgoings. I work the equivalent of one part-time job and one fulltime job and I live in a crap northern town. I can afford days out. I can afford to buy things like bikes (or skateboards and guitars) every once in a while.

National Holidays have some good deals if you want something more than hopping on the bus to Newcastle or York (and the Mega Bus and National Express are much, much cheaper than the train). Cullercoats is lovely. Get the bus to the closest town with a metro station and jump on the metro. Kellogs and Carex have BOGOF vouchers for entry into Sea Life Center atm. Take a packed lunch to eat on the beach once you've finished at the Sea Life Center.

HeyMonkey Thu 22-Aug-19 15:48:29

How old are the DC? Are you able to take on a second PT job, or additional hours?

We would definitely struggle on only 1.5 wages. We both need to be working FT.

jellycatspyjamas Thu 22-Aug-19 15:49:26

I love how someone saying “having no money affects outcomes for your children” and posters point out how she could make more money, questions where the dad is etc, instead of actually engaging with the premise that lack of funds affects children adversely, thereby almost proving the point.

There isn’t always (often) an easy way to increase finances.

araiwa Thu 22-Aug-19 15:49:33


The cycle of poverty

MyDcAreMarvel Thu 22-Aug-19 15:49:34

What’s your household income? Hsve you applied for everything you are entitled to?
Your rent should be cheap if you live in a Northern town.

HeyMonkey Thu 22-Aug-19 15:50:29

Nobody has suggested taking in ironing yet!

Babdoc Thu 22-Aug-19 15:52:39

OP, I grew up in a not well off home, my parents never took me on outings and I had few toys. But we kids amused ourselves. We were out all day playing in the woods, streets and parks. We played football in the street with a cheap plastic ball, we built dens out of fallen branches, we played chase, we made our own board games by using the flattened cardboard from cornflake packets and drawing squares on them, using bits of plastic waste or coins as playing pieces.
We walked two miles to the free library and read six books a week.
We walked to the council tennis courts and had a game with the rackets we used for school.
If we could rake up the bus fare and entry fee, we went to the swimming pool for a rare treat.
But mostly we just used our imaginations.
Honestly, kids don’t need loads of expensive kit and trips to have a good time!
And it doesn’t wreck their life chances - I went to a free grammar school, then medical school and qualified as a doctor.
I think your depression is colouring your views, as a PP suggested. Your DC are probably having more fun than you think, as long as they’re not making unfair comparisons with richer kids and demanding unaffordable toys (which are often boring overpriced plastic crap anyway).

JoxerGoesToStuttgart Thu 22-Aug-19 15:52:56

I love how someone saying “having no money affects outcomes for your children” and posters point out how she could make more money, questions where the dad is etc, instead of actually engaging with the premise that lack of funds affects children adversely, thereby almost proving the point.

You mean people offering suggestions to help change OPs problem rather than joining her in wallowing which doesn’t help at all? What horrible people. hmm

Toneitdown Thu 22-Aug-19 15:53:30

Well...yeah. if you had loads of dosh you could send them to private school, they could have tutors, they could do all sorts of after school activities, you could move to a nicer area and they'd make friends with the kids who are really going places in life.

It's not the be all and end all. I had nothing growing up and I honestly think it did me the world of good. I know it's a cliche but it's true. I've worked so hard for everything that I have. It's made me a better person.

JoxerGoesToStuttgart Thu 22-Aug-19 15:54:18

Nobody has suggested taking in ironing yet!

It’s bloody transformed my finances. Flipping good earner. grin

MummyJasmin Thu 22-Aug-19 15:55:31

If it helps, I grew up like that, and it made me really good with money! I was lucky and I had lots of love at home and a really creative mum so we made something out of nothing. I also worked really hard at school because I was determined to have more in life one day. Now I do, and I am grateful every day for it. A poor childhood gave me a comfortable adulthood, if you look at things that way.


What kind of activities do they do at home?

We didn't have very much but that gave my parents and I the drive to study and work hard at home and school in order to get out of that cycle.

Ilikethisone Thu 22-Aug-19 15:55:47

Lack of spare funds will always impact children. There is no way to even it up.

I spent the last few years skint. Buts it coming to an end.

Hobbies are now on the table. There are things you can do to mitigate costs. Like our local kids rugby club fundraise so that low income families dont have to pay monthly money for their kids to play and can go on trips with the rest of the team.

I live in what's known as a bit of a grim northern town, but we have done low cost stuff next village along has a fair that's £1 in then ten activities are free etc.

It's harder to provide those experiences that kids get from well off families. What you need to do is remember that your kids are having a different experience but doesnt have to mean they will feel they had a poor childhood when they are older.

I come from a good income family, but it was very abusive. My best friend came from a family that had nothing, but was loved and looks back on her childhood, with nothing but happiness. I get a bit jealous sometimes.

78KitKat78 Thu 22-Aug-19 15:57:58

During holidays check to see if there are any free workshops you can sign up for - our local libraries and museums usually have something on if kids are into arts/crafts/Lego. We have also been to watch the local ladies team play football - cost a couple of quid to get in. Any local outside spaces - parks/woods to play games/scavenger hunts. Time rich and cash poor is not as bad it seems. Also check for local clubs etc I found a soccer skills thing for my 6yo that was 3.50 a session on an as and when basis rather than a monthly direct debit.

MummyJasmin Thu 22-Aug-19 15:59:37

...I feel my upbringing has made me a more better person, humble and understanding.

I've come across people who have never witnessed financial worries and have had everything they've wanted on a plate. Although I may envy them sometimes (I am only human lol) I am so glad I'm not like them, entitled, look down on people who have less etc.

SomeAfternoonDelight Thu 22-Aug-19 16:00:57

I love my mother I do. I grew up with just her, without a father. We were skint. I didn’t get to go on holiday until I was able to pay for one myself. I have only ever visited one place other than my local city. I wasn’t able to go on holidays with the school. I was on free school meals, had a brilliant mother, I did have what I wanted, and not just what I needed - within reason. My mam tried her best, she didn’t have it great. But there is a tiny bit of a pissed off little girl that she didn’t try harder to make our life better. Because being a grown up, and never had the opportunity to do ANYTHING has made me slightly lost. I do not resent my mother as she gave me love and that’s all I think matters really, but she could have tried to get a better job, tried to provide a little more. As a child I learnt to lie to cover the embarrassment. I didn’t do well in education, I was very much council estate, didn’t feel like I belonged, hung around with kids who had a lot more than I did. But I’ve worked since I was 13 yo. Paid for everything myself. Support my mother now. And I drive my dream car, I’ve been to places on others bucket list, just for a holiday. I’m going on my third 2k pp plus holiday this year. So, really, it doesn’t have to effect them.

So, it all depends OP. It’s not easy but if you feel shit, it might be time to make a change. X

SomeAfternoonDelight Thu 22-Aug-19 16:01:43

Not I have I had only visited one place other than my local city - sorry x

Littlechocola Thu 22-Aug-19 16:05:43

We grew up with nothing and it made me determined to not be in that situation with my dc.

pooopypants Thu 22-Aug-19 16:05:54

You're right, it does affect your children but how you deal with life affects them more IMO

Are you being helped with your depression?

Having no money for football clubs doesn't stop you kicking a ball around or going for a muddy puddle walk in the park

DrierThanANunsNasty Thu 22-Aug-19 16:06:12

My parents were skint and my mum had severe mental health issues, including being an alcoholic and a personality disorder (along with depression, etc).

My childhood was certainly not one of the best growing up AT ALL. I was the poor kid in a rich school who had to wear secondhand school uniform. I had secondhand everything and this was all then passed down to my younger siblings.

I now run a successful business and was accepted for a Master's Degree on a scholarship at one of the best business schools in the country.

My younger siblings are all successful in varying degrees and are doing very well for themselves.

If anything, I think it's made us all MORE determined and we certainly don't begrudge our parents for not getting us the latest phones or anything.

Sure, it might be difficult when you're a kid, but I do think it can build certain personality traits that you might not get if you're handed everything on a plate/don't learn the value of money. Just look at all the 'rags to riches' stories out there and you'll see that plenty of people who went through hardship when they were younger use that as motivation to become successful.

And don't ever, ever beat yourself up about it flowers

isseywithcats Thu 22-Aug-19 16:12:37

i agree with you my dad died when i was nine so this meant my mom had just enough money from working to provide the bare essentials, there werent all the top up benefits in the mid sixties, at 11 i was clever enough to pass to go to grammar school, but i couldnt go on school trips, couldnt join girl guides, couldnt do ballet or anything that needed any money, so i lost out there, and i wanted to be a vet from an early age and by the time i was 13 realised my mom could not afford to keep me in education till i was 23 or there abouts so once i couldnt fulfil my dream i did my gces and left school, so yes money did change my life and not for the better

BoJoIsABellend Thu 22-Aug-19 16:15:15

Definitely, as mentioned above, the cycle of poverty 😞

ElleDubloo Thu 22-Aug-19 16:16:37

First of all, I really do feel for you.

However, you’re not letting your children down by not taking them on days out. There’s plenty you can do for free to stimulate their brains improve their chances at life. Borrow books from the library. Read with them. Get them to read by themselves. Research things together, like animals, space, dinosaurs. Go beyond what they do at school. I don’t know if it sounds boring, but this is how I was brought up. My head was in imaginary lands and science experiments all day. We went on one holiday a year (to Blackpool) and didn’t have enough money for nice days out all the time (though we went on a few). But I was awesome at English, Maths and Science and did amazing at school.

Life isn’t about holidays and days out. It’s about quality time spent together every day. Kids can get bored on holiday, but they’ll never be bored if their mind is engaged in learning.

[I know how corny this all sounds, but it’s my genuine experience, and I wanted to give you a different and more positive perspective. Good luck OP.]

RaRaRainbow Thu 22-Aug-19 16:18:30

Of course it does, on a statistical level.

But your kids aren't a statistic. They're individuals and individuals can buck the trend.

Chin up.


feelingverylazytoday Thu 22-Aug-19 16:19:52

I'm a single parent, I've often been skint, that is not my experience, OP. My kids are doing fine.

Jaxhog Thu 22-Aug-19 16:21:04

I have to wonder why you kept on have kids when you were skint? It does seem a shame that by doing so, you've reduced your other kids quality of life. This is something I just don't understand.

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Thu 22-Aug-19 16:21:43

We grew up with nothing and it made me determined to not be in that situation with my dc

Same here. I only agreed to children when I knew we were in the position to afford to give them the life we wanted.

Having been that child growing up it definitely affects you and unless you are a strong person it impacts on your adult life.

Whilst I’m grateful to be here, as an adult I can see my parents should have worked more and had less children.

Frequency Thu 22-Aug-19 16:24:27

That's unfair, Jax. I also don't recall OP stating that has always been skint and always suffered poor mental health. Besides, the kids are here now so berating OP for it when she is already down is achieving nothing but making her feel worse.

ooooohbetty Thu 22-Aug-19 16:25:50

Not always. My exh is from a poor background. Never had a holiday or days out as a child. Stopped going to school at a very young age. He's a millionaire now. Some people can rise above wherever they come from and whatever they start from. You don't need money to be a good supportive parent.

Sunflowers211 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:28:20

No it does not. A relative of mine is skint and all their DC have done fantastic in life and in good jobs. Being skint does not stop your kids being clever, how you guide them is key.

Mummyshark2018 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:31:47

Being skint does not have to affect life outcomes. You only have to look at self made business people e.g. lord sugar who grew up poor. You can instill things in your children that will help them succeed that does not cost money - a good work ethic, independence skills, a love of learning, resilience.

There are lots of free things around that can provide opportunities to experience things without having to pay- museums/ libraries/ parks/ galleries etc. I would look elsewhere for a football club. £40 per month is expensive. There are lots of free football clubs where I am.

Backtosxhool Thu 22-Aug-19 16:32:40

What age are your children OP? Can you not take on more hours!??

Lifecraft Thu 22-Aug-19 16:36:13

@Frequency I also don't recall OP stating that has always been skint

@OP We have always been skint

SweetMelodies Thu 22-Aug-19 16:36:40

Agree with the cycle of poverty.

I was also thinking about how hard to must be to keep children entertained with no money.

Round where I am there is literally a couple of little parks and a green space to walk to as the only means of free entertainment.

All of the other cheaper things I’ve done with my kids has still involved money... 8 quid in return bus fare just to hop on a bus to the town where a library actually is or where there is a bigger park or a museum, petrol money to get to the seaside, a tenner in hobby craft for craft bits and bobs to make crafts at home. I think it’s easy to forget that a lot of these things are unaffordable for some.

TheOrigRightsofwomen Thu 22-Aug-19 16:36:48

My father was made bankrupt twice during my childhood (and once in adulthood but that's irrelevant). We never went on holiday, didn't do clubs which needed subs.
We didn't go w/o basic needs, not at all.

Anyway, me and my siblings are all educated to at least degree level (with a couple of Masters and a PhD as well). We all have professional jobs, mostly own our own homes and are not in any more debt than most (mortgage, bit on the credit card).

My Dad was very foolish but underlying all that love, support, encouragement and a belief in us.

Sallycinammonbangsthedruminthe Thu 22-Aug-19 16:38:18

You are right does affect kids.But that said they are your kids and only you can sort it out.I dont mean that to sound harsh like I am judging you but I was similar and I swore blind my kids werent going to be like me.It is easy to sit and moan but harder to get up and do something about it.If you want to sort out the kids you need to sort yourself first.I hope you are getting all the help you can with your depression,cos it starts with you.You should have seen the crap I did when I was skint for me and my family...I dog walked I ironed I cleaned toilets at 4 am for little money but it was money we needed and I owed it to my kids to do it and it was hard work I could have cried and did many times out of being knackered but no one was going to do it for me.There was no tax credits back then to top us up....find the drive and you find your solution.Doing jobs others dont want to do will make you money,,even if its only 50 quid a week its that commitment that will give your kid the footy lessons...and make them proud of their mum who worked her arse off for forward 20 years and my son even now never forgets what I had to do to make life bearable for us...I dont need to do it anymore but if i had to I would all over again

Slaymill Thu 22-Aug-19 16:38:41

Libraries are good sources of information for trusts and funds and often have free demo days etc.

Your GP can refer you to

My son loves walking in the woods for nature hunts. Teaching your children foraging is fun and they can actually make something. just an example loads to explore.

If they don't like plants geocoaching is fun Most of the things my son does is free when we do out I use every voucher possible to cut costs.

We are lucky as my DP get hotel points when he has to work away and we can exchange these for free nights. Though hotels offer reduced rates just for having loyalty cards. If you have enough for one night at somewhere with a pool there nothing stopping you from getting there early to use the facilities and leaving late the next day.

Beautiful3 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:39:22

I grew up in a poor household. I never joined clubs, went on outings nor had a bike. As a result I'm fantastic with money. I always gift the children's clothes and bikes to a charity shop, as I know how hard it can be. Your children will never take money for granted and will be highly motivated to earn and save money. Please don't worry. As long as they have a loving and clean home, they're happy.

feelingverylazytoday Thu 22-Aug-19 16:42:20

OP if you haven't already, I suggest you get on to, have a good read, and then post a statement of affairs. It's about making the most of the money and the opportunities you do have, and there are people there who will be able to help.

Azeema Thu 22-Aug-19 16:44:11

Sign up for allotment. Growing and selling food both good activity for children and way to earn money for other things to do. Other people at allotment very helpful, give me free plants and seeds, help me learn. Mine is short walk away.

Dixiechickonhols Thu 22-Aug-19 16:45:49

Have you looked on council website for children’s activities or local noticeboards and free papers. I used to live in a very deprived northern town and to be fair the council used to do a lot of stuff free for children as did local churches. We were near a big park and I noticed a sign saying a friends of x park had a children’s session once a month. We turned up and no one else came just a few children who were relatives of the volunteers. They did all sorts and all free.

MummyJasmin Thu 22-Aug-19 16:49:17

That's plain rude and unfair @Jaxhog

darkcloudsandsunnyskies Thu 22-Aug-19 16:49:37

Our parents were skint.

It’s not the life either of us would want.

We did something about it.

Why don’t you do something positive to earn more instead of making excuses. Being poor is your choice.

Namenic Thu 22-Aug-19 16:50:19

My dad grew up with little money, moving between relatives places as one of his parents died early. Life was hard but he had plenty of good times too doing free stuff like catching spiders or playing jacks. He learnt to help a lot with household jobs while young and it certainly helped when he had his own family - v hands on, which was unusual in his generation.

ButterflyOne1 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:50:53

I'm sorry OP but yes your children are being denied these experiences in life and what's more alarming is they will see this as 'normal' and they may also repeat your cycle.

You haven't said what you both do for work? Could you retrain to get a better paid job? Do you own your property? Could you consider moving to somewhere with more opportunities?

Jocasta22 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:51:08

Do you have quite a lot of children, or debt? I work part time and DH works full time in low paying jobs in a crap northern town, and even when DH went through a spell of unemployment we could afford bikes and activities for the children - second hand, and budgeting wasn't fun, but it was doable. I think we have quite a decent lifestyle at the moment actually, we decided early on to sacrifice massive holidays and cars for a better work life balance, but our children want for nothing and have some really great opportunities now and in the future. In a general sense YABU but I'm wondering why you're struggling quite so much when you both work and live in a cheap area

theWarOnPeace Thu 22-Aug-19 16:51:41

OP i agree with you that not having much money can greatly affect your life and Children’s lives. I also agree with the above poster though, that with the love and encouragement that you can give, they don’t have to become a statistic.

I’m not surprised it’s bringing you down, everyone wants to give their children the best. Are you willing to post some financial details and maybe we can all pitch in (hopefully) useful and helpful ideas? I’ve seen some amazing tips and ideas on here over the years. Even if you can scrape back £20 a month it could help. Moneysavingexpert is great too.

Purplejay Thu 22-Aug-19 16:52:04

Yes it’s a bit shit being skint but you can do lots of stuff for free.

Walks and picnics.
Get stuff off freecycle like bikes, games.
Some museums are free.
Do your kids qualify for pupil premium? Ask at school about how this extra funding is used. Our primary ran some after school clubs like basket ball and dodgeball which low income families could access for free and were given priority.
Do you have a local sure start or childrens centre? They sometimes run activities or can let you know about free stuff.
Ask on local facebook pages about free activities/days out. There might be things you are not aware of.
Go to the library.
Holidays don’t have to be a week. Could you run to an overnight stay? Could you borrow camping equipment and go to a cheap site for a couple of nights. I realise there may literally be no room in the budget for this but just a thought.

delilahbucket Thu 22-Aug-19 16:53:11

Your children are growing up in the same environment I did and I turned out okay in the end, run my own business, own a nice house etc. Went off the rails a bit in my teens though. I did have a dad with a good job/nice house etc and it made me aspire to be more like him than my mum who didn't work and was rubbish with money. My sister, however, who mostly grew up with two parents and plenty of money/holidays (in the time before my mum was too poorly to work) is still struggling with life in her 40's, and her kids have gone completely off kilter, despite her having a very good and well paid job, and still never having any money to show for it. She inherited my mum's way with money 🙄.
Anyway, my point is, it doesn't actually matter if you have money or not. Your kids will grow up in whatever manner you have taught them.

Purplejay Thu 22-Aug-19 16:54:03

Oh and have a look on The forums in particular are great. Especially the ‘Debt free wannabe’ board. So much advice.

Frequency Thu 22-Aug-19 16:55:07

There is a flip side to growing up in poverty. I grew up in poverty and I've lived in it. Like another poster I left education early because I didn't have the financial support (or emotional support) to go any further in education. It didn't make me good with money. To go from not even managing my own pocket money to having a fulltime wage was a disaster.

I earned quite well for a good period of time in the run u[p to meeting ex-H and have nothing but a few designer handbags to show for it. I spent every penny I earned. I'm still the same. It's a deeply ingrained habit I try and fail to break. I've recently gone though a period of being skint and depressed and unable to see a way out. Now I have a more than full-time job again I'm back to buying all of the things, all of the time. I need to buy the things while I can afford to buy the things.

I am better this time around. I make sure my bills are paid, I've paid into my pension and a small amount is set aside in savings but we'd have a lot more savings if I didn't buy every eyeshadow palette Beauty Bay emails me about. However I survived both abusive parents and an abusive ex-H, so maybe that's the difference between me and all these people who poverty made better.

In short, OP, even though you don't have much I would still teach your kids about saving and money where possible. No-one taught me and it's not an easy skill to master when you suddenly go from £0 a month to £1200 per month. If someone had taught me how to manage money and pushed me through education I feel my life would have turned out differently.

GiveMeHope103 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:55:09

I grew up like this and it really made me never want to live that way when I grew up and certainly not for a child of mine. The difference was back then all my friends were in the same situation but we knew different. Theres lot of good suggestions on the thread about little things you can do. Sorry op, the pressure on parents today is immense.

Flamingosnbears Thu 22-Aug-19 16:55:52

It can affect their outcome but its all about the way you look at it... If you help them to study hard, support them do activities with them I'm sure they will look back fondly and not care about materialistic things...

Hooferdoofer37 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:56:21

How many DC do you have OP & what are their ages?

If you give more detail people can probably come up with ideas that suit their ages etc.

DarlingNikita Thu 22-Aug-19 16:56:45

Borrow books from the library. Read with them. Get them to read by themselves. Research things together, like animals, space, dinosaurs… My head was in imaginary lands and science experiments all day. We went on one holiday a year (to Blackpool) and didn’t have enough money for nice days out all the time (though we went on a few). But I was awesome at English, Maths and Science and did amazing at school.

This sounds a lot like my childhood (except I am not and was not then anything like awesome at Maths and Science grin). I knew we didn't have money but never felt deprived or bored. Our holiday once a year (if that) was WILDLY exciting and day trips hardly less so.

I remember a lot of making things out of junk when my parents did DIY etc; watching and hatching moths and butterflies in the garden shed; finding out about things like space and animals (as a smallish child I set up and ran a 'Nature Club' of which I was the sole member for looking for animal pawprints in the park, stencilling leaves etc. I produced a newsletter for it and everything.

Maybe they were different times (late 70s–early 80s) but I still refuse to believe that kids need a lot of stuff and formal activities to be happy.

Namenic Thu 22-Aug-19 16:57:19

OP - it’s tough but with love and some creativity you can provide amazing childhood. I think kids appreciate a parent that listens and loves them and does their best. I think that’s better than doing activities and having holidays away.

justbeingadad Thu 22-Aug-19 16:57:52

Do you budget, I mean properly budget? Do you know where every single last penny of your money goes? Do you smoke? Drink alcohol? Have Sky? Have you checked you've got the best energy deal? Do you shop at Lidl / Aldi / Home Bargins / B&M?

Assuming you're not already cut back to the bone on shopping etc, it should be achievable to save £5-15/week on shopping without a major impact. There was a thread about someone living off I think 200/month for their family for food, hard but doable.

If you want to provide some of the more tangible or experiences to your children, and your finances are really this tight, you'll need to compromise else where.

If you feel your location is a deciding factor, then you should seriously look at the options of moving to a better location with more job prospects. If for no other reason than your children will likely have a better chance of success.

There are lots of options for making additional income - especially if your time is essentially free. Local takeaways etc often need leaflets delivering, someone else mentioned Ironing, offer your services as a cleaner. I presume you have free time in which case no matter how little you earn from the task is of benefit to you.

It's a harsh reality to face, but as someone above said - there is a pissed off element that their mother didn't try that little bit harder. You can always try harder - especially if you feel your children are missing out to this extent.

timshelthechoice Thu 22-Aug-19 16:58:16

YANBU. And especially because on every one of these threads, all of them, you also face the stigma of the Victorian idea that poverty is entirely a personal and moral failing and therefore a choice. Hence, 'Why don't you get a better job? Why did you have kids? Take on more hours. Why do you need a car? What do you do? How old are you?

Of course it affects them! It's a cycle and social mobility is declining in the UK. So more can be punished and blamed for their poverty.

Oblomov19 Thu 22-Aug-19 16:58:56

Does it effect? Yes. Do you feel that your life is a bit miserable? I am guessing you do. sad

I am afraid I can't really understand because I've always had more than enough money to do what I wanted when I wanted. Not that I've ever had a highflying career but even when I was 13 I had two or three pub Jobs and babysitting and stuff so I always had quite a bit of money and I had 3 jobs when I was at uni working in an ice cream parlour, serving pints etc and I've always had quite a bit of money (not a huge amount, but always enough) but I'm afraid that doesn't help you!!

timshelthechoice Thu 22-Aug-19 17:04:08

You see what I mean, OP, you can always try harder or it's your fault. You can move (that one is hilarious, given the incredible barriers people on low-incomes face accessing secure, decent rental housing (there are families with severely disabled children living in fucking shipping containers here, people)), you can definitely earn more money, you smoke/drink/have Sky, Lidl/Aldi/B&M are in every part of the UK . . .

stayathomer Thu 22-Aug-19 17:04:48

totally get it OP. Until this year we were so in debt we considered moving to Dubai for dh to get a job. This year is the first year the kids can go to swimming lessons ( eldest is nearly 12), and they've all just got their first bikes since they were toddlers and are now learning to ride them. We did/do all the free stuff and when it's your only option, it can be even more depressing, saying that some of our best times were on the beach or hiking. We've scraped through Christmas, done the barest of minimums for birthdays and lied to skip occasions and a few times school because of no petrol, pretended to have forgotten things for school, had no heating, survived on pasta, cereals and a bag of apples etc. The kids picked up on it sometimes, didn't notice others. The major times they did notice was when we were stressed and arguing but we hid that sometimes too. We promised we wouldnt turn iinto a family that bickered or cursed at each other ( we were going that way)Sometimes they get used to no, but in a good way, a who cares way and that will do them good. They've still got opportunities because of school so don't worry about that, everyone honestly has a chance! Do what people said about the free bikes and also if you want to teach them music there's a good homes to musical instruments for free website here in Ireland, there might be a UK one. We went to govt agencies for help, can you do this? Also id echo what people said to see if there is extra work anyone can do. And tonight, do any one thing that makes you feel pampered, a hot shower, a bath, nail varnish. Get out some paper with the kids and play the who am I game, or watch a movie, this sounds awful, but I used to find these little things picked me up. And hugs and best of luck

Xenadog Thu 22-Aug-19 17:04:49

Another one from a poor family. I never learnt to roller skate or ice skate, swim or ride a bike. I really feel like I missed out. Unlike a previous poster I think it does matter and I didn’t have the childhood experiences to prepare me for later life. Having said that, my dad always had money for the pub and fags so maybe we weren’t that poor, he just didn’t prioritise me.

Trips to the cinema, Christmas panto and holidays were really rare and I missed out so much compared to my peers.

I wish I could say that growing up poor doesn’t matter but it does. I have friends who today, struggle financially but it doesn’t stop them doing things for their kids. They use freecycle, groupon and save vouchers for days out from places like Tesco’s. I think their children’s experiences will be much better than what mine was because the parents choose to spend time giving their children good experiences even if they don’t cost a lot.

I guess I am trying to say being poor is a disadvantage but there are ways a parent can ameliorate this and ensure their children have a good childhood.

justbeingadad Thu 22-Aug-19 17:06:01


I think @Jaxhog comment is fair, but it's harsh to hear. The OP stated they've always been skint and had a poor life. I know many many people who have chosen to be single child families because to have additional children would be detrimental to their existing child.

It's controversial, but assuming the OP is in England, having a child is always a choice.

GiveMeHope103 Thu 22-Aug-19 17:06:26

The problem with keeping kids amused and entertained with stuff we did back then, is that now there is so much on offer and their peers are most probably doing it. So whilst imagination and going to the library sounds all good, theres still alot on offer which the kids wont be able to take part in.
Op have you checked with the clubs if they subsidize some spaces for kids?
Museums, free events in your area?

HugoLast Thu 22-Aug-19 17:06:33

Definitely shit being skint and depressed and the two feed into each other. And yes, it affects outcomes and aspirations for our children. Of course it does.
However.... reading for pleasure is a massive indicator of children's success - and can outplay parents' educational levels and socio-economic status. Get your children to the public library (every 3 weeks if it's a bit of a hike) , get them reading and keep them reading. Stories, graphic novels, anything . Read to them. Try and enthuse them. It's something really important you can do for them- without paying.

noseynelly Thu 22-Aug-19 17:09:43

We don't have a garden either op and i hate that but I take the DC to the park anyday that I can. We bought a cheap kite from decathlon and they love flying it, they've got second hand bikes etc... We have luckily been able to take them abroad because we've booked cheap flights then and air bnb but I appreciate you any not be able to do it even then.
There's free events all the time in any town centre, look at museums and galleries and things that you can sign the kids up for.

Baguetteaboutit Thu 22-Aug-19 17:17:01

If you are able to be more specific with where you live a local mumsnetter might be able to offer more specific recommendations/ local resources.

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 22-Aug-19 17:20:07

My friend never went to the cinema as a child because it was too expensive. Not much else either. She’s an accountant and lives in an average detached 4 bed on an estate near a city in the midlands and you her accountant dh. So not cheap but not London prices.

Yes it is far more difficult for children from poorer backgrounds. Please don’t beat yourself up or make life a self fufilling prophecy.

Have a look at primary times for local often free activities if your dcs are primary age or younger.

ohtheholidays Thu 22-Aug-19 17:20:25

I agree with you OP I think it can and as sad as you think it must be for your DC it must be equally if not more so upsetting for you and your DH as well.

I can remember what it was like not being able to say yes to very much when I was a single mum to 4DC not receiving any maintanance and the limited benefits I was entitled to being mucked about and honestly for me it was bloody soul destroying and a very depressing way to live.

Have you used the Governments online calculator to check your getting every single thing that your entitled to if you haven't give it a try you never know you may be missing out on something that your entitled to.

With days out do you have any friends or family that would be happy to do a car share or car pool with you so the cost of petrol for days out is shared?

With the football clubs your DC want to join do you have family or friends that buy them presents for birthdays/Christmas or Easter maybe, would they chip in together to pay for the clubs as a present for your DC instead of an actual present to unwrap.

Like a PP mentioned have a look online for free bikes,check out ebay,freecycle,Gumtree and Preloved(there's most probably tons more that I don't know about so have a good look around)also think about putting a call out for any free bikes people you know might be getting rid of on facebook,I know some people wouldn't want anyone knowing that they needed or wanted something for free but tons of my friends that are better off are always putting up things for free or asking for things for free and are over the moon when they can help someone else out or someone else can help them out.

These are most probably things you've already done but just incase you haven't have a look through all of your incomings and outgoings and see if there's something your missing,check out what companys your with for your energy supplies,your house phone(if you have one)mobile provider,tv packages(if you have them)internet,credit cards,insurances everything.We recently changed our gas and electric suppliers and we're going to save over £100 a year and my DH rang up Sky and said we were going to leave them so they've knocked our bill down by nearly £30 a month(saving us nearly £360 a year)and we've been given Sky Q,we have an extra box now and we get netflix so you can shave some money of your bills by shopping around.

A longer term plan I know but is there any chance of pay increase with either of your jobs?Either through extra training that you could access through your work or a change in job or taking on extra hours.

If one of you is working part time could you do some babysitting on the side for friends/family/neighbors and in return they could take your DC out(they're treat)in the school holidays or at the weekends.

I hope things start improving for you soon OP flowers

Crinkle77 Thu 22-Aug-19 17:26:45

Yes it can have some impact but I believe a stable, loving, supportive home is just as important. A child can have all the luxuries in the world but have the crappest parents which can have just just as a detrimental effect.

Rabbitsandtennis Thu 22-Aug-19 17:35:39

As an English teacher who’s taught in both private and state and seen a wide demographic range, I still hold that the best thing, educationally, to do at home is read - which thankfully is close to free.

There’s also a lot being said about the benefits of free unsupervised play, which often outweigh expensive “extra-curricular” clubs and activities.

Genuinely, the kids who have most made me think “wow I can’t wait to see what you do” have come from the poorest backgrounds just as often as not.

DarlingNikita Thu 22-Aug-19 17:37:52

It's controversial, but assuming the OP is in England, having a child is always a choice.

<<hollow laugh>>

CSIblonde Thu 22-Aug-19 17:42:37

You have to be more resourceful if skint I think. I like Gumtree for nice furniture that's barely used going for pennies etc as it's all local stuff. My Dads family were beyond skint, he got a scholarship to grammar school then a grant to go to Uni & worked weekends in a bakery to give his parents some financial help while studying. He ended up in a really great well paid job.

transformandriseup Thu 22-Aug-19 17:56:26

My sister is single has five children. Days out for her are often just walking the dog on the beach or on the moors. Her children have never been on holiday but she has a good relationship with all of them and they are very close with her IYSWIM. I think that is better than having lots money.

feelingverylazytoday Thu 22-Aug-19 18:03:12

timshelthechoice yeah you're right, the OP should just give up, sit at home fedling depressed and hopeless and not make any attempt to improve her situation. hmm

EssentialHummus Thu 22-Aug-19 18:08:19

How old are the kids op?

Mermaidoutofwater Thu 22-Aug-19 18:24:29

In my experience as a child, unmanaged parental depression is so much more harmful to happy childhood memories than being skint.
We were on a pretty tight budget growing up but free, very cheap activities or just free time to play were great. What was not great was my mum constantly whinging about not being able to afford overseas holidays and telling us how crap everything was, she never imagined our lives being this poor etc. Having to reassure a parent that everything was ok and minimise my own feelings has definitely had a much larger impact on my life prospects than not having lots of expensive days out.

whattodowith Thu 22-Aug-19 18:27:33

I went to uni to combat this very situation. When my eldest three were small I worked in crap min wage jobs and I knew I (and they) deserved better so I worked part time and studied full time at uni. Had a degree after three difficult years then a post grad, now a college teacher. I’m far from rich but we can go on day trips without worrying and have an annual holiday.

Could studying be an option?

whattodowith Thu 22-Aug-19 18:28:45

Also the majority of things we do are free or inexpensive. I use the app Hoop and find fun activities nearby, many are walking distance. I live in a small northern town too.

timshelthechoice Thu 22-Aug-19 18:29:33

FFS, feeling, NO ONE has suggested that. But she brought up a topic you simply cannot discuss on MN without a whole load of victim blaming and sunshine and bollocks about how you can magically move or give up your car and then be quid's in hmm.

NotSoThinLizzy Thu 22-Aug-19 18:38:15

I know someone who grew up very poor to the point she didnt know that shoes wasnt ment to squash your feet. She went off to cambridge and now works for westminister as a environmentalist impact researcher. Anything's possible

Sleephead1 Thu 22-Aug-19 18:45:58

It sounds really tough and very hard for you all. I think it's also easy to say well why don't you do this but to be honest we live near the beach and often go out with a picnic but then the children want an ice cream ect so you end up paying a few pounds or you go to he free museum but then they want something from the gift shop ect and yes you can say no but if you are having to say no every single time it must be really hard for you. We live in the north east I work very part time in admin in the NHS and my husband works in a factory we are both on a bit more than minimum wage I think s£ more so that helps He works over time for time and a half and I think we get by ok. My son never really misses out but we are sometimes skint by the end of the month. Obviously no idea if this will be the same in your area or if suitable for your children's ages but some ideas to look into. Our libraries have done brilliant free activities from science shows,, coding with cubetto, sand art, crafts ect. Local parks have had family fun days on, picnic in the parks, free storytelling, some of the churches have activities have you been to messy church at all they do craft activities and things and you get a meal there( obviously there is a religious element ) In our area there has been Tyneside rocks ,( decorate rocks and then hide them ) this year its books so you get to keep the book to read then re hide somewhere else with a little note to the next person. BlackBerry picking, collecting leaves ect to print, paint with, creating scavenger , nature hunts are also free , make dens on woodland walks, nature art, try and make paints with nature , we do lots of beach , park days with a picnic, thinks like paper mache projects usually take a while if you have paint ect to decorate , my son is little so still enjoys playing with water if you don't have any outside space and they are young enough a bath with containers ect and little toys. I agree about signing up to local Facebook pass it on sites also where we live there is a service its 5 to join but its then a toy library and you can go every month and lend new toys just like books and then keep then take back and swap again. Our council also has been doing cycling courses over the summer I find know if you have to have your own bike or can lend one but might be worth looking at. Lastly if you did have a few pounds spare you can get some good jigsaw, puzzles ect at charity shops to entertain them on wet days. Hope things improve for you soon and sending love

ReanimatedSGB Thu 22-Aug-19 18:46:28

Sympathies, OP. It is well known and has been proven by study after study that poverty has a negative impact on DC and their prospects and life chances. Unfortunately, the plundering of this country by a handful of wealthy parasites is getting even more out of hand.
The best advice I can give you is to look into community/activist groups for hope and mutual support - and sometimes practical advice as well.

feelingverylazytoday Thu 22-Aug-19 18:56:28

timshel I don't see hardly any victim blaming tbh, just a lot of people making suggestions. If they're not applicable to the OP they can move on and consider another option.
It would help if the OP would come back on and give more details but until then it's perfectly valid to ask OP if she has any expenses she could cut down on, or to share their own experiences. The OP is certainly not the only poster on here who has been in this situation.

jellycatspyjamas Thu 22-Aug-19 21:40:00

timshelthechoice yeah you're right, the OP should just give up, sit at home fedling depressed and hopeless and not make any attempt to improve her situation. hmm

Of course she should try to improve her situation, but many posts here seem to have no idea just how challenging that can be when you’re living in poverty. I worry that the whole “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” philosophy merely distracts from the damage that austerity based policies and practices have in forcing children into poverty and preventing social mobility.

Social mobility is shown to be at is lowest levels, the opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty are fewer and fewer and this government knows that’s what’s happening.

Yes the OP can give her children as many free opportunities as she can, she can clean toilets and take in ironing - and she might win, but there’s no question the dice are loaded against her doing so by virtue of child poverty and austerity politics.

HeyThereDelilah1 Thu 22-Aug-19 22:05:01

I think what’s harder than poverty is the inequality. I grew up with a single mum and we were seriously skint, but so were all my friends and we were genuinely happy. It wasn’t until I got to university I started feeling sad about our situation as the difference in attitudes was so striking. I think I over-compensate with my own children now and I do need to address this, as it’s seriousky not doing them any favours.

h0rsewithn0name Thu 22-Aug-19 22:24:37

I get it OP. When my children were growing up we were really skint, due to my DPs long term medical problems.

Yes you can go for a country walk, but at the end you will be faced with an ice cream van. You can go to a free museum, but there will be a gift shop. It's really, really tiring saying no to children all the time.

Stick with it. If I've learnt anything, it's that being skint is the very best way of teaching children how to manage money, and want to work hard as teenagers.

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