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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

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>>

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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 . . .

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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 16:52:04

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.

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