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Struggling for money - what can I do?

(54 Posts)
VodkaCranberry2 Fri 22-May-20 16:18:21

I am really, really struggling for money now and am in personal debt with my overdraft and a small loan I took out last year (I’ve never missed a payment for it, had to restart all over after a bad breakup). I’ve just had a baby and have been on maternity for the past 5 months due to having to start it early as I wasn’t very well throughout. I’m on reduced maternity pay at £148 a week, but my rent alone is £950.

My partner works but is at uni so only works part time on the days he’s not studying, he finishes his degree this year.

I’ve been surviving on savings I managed to save at the start of my pregnancy, so I’ve been able to pay three months rent without worrying and now have one months left.

I’m a journalist, I was self-employed from 2015-2017 doing freelance and then got taken on as ‘casual staff’ doing 5 days a week at a national. But because I was doing my tax through them for that year and not self assessment, I don’t qualify for the self employment grant.

I’m now ending maternity after 6 weeks since giving birth because I just can’t cope on this pay. I’m going back freelance as I can no longer do the 5 days a week due to having a baby, and have some work with the National I was writing with before but of course they will only commission what they’re interested in. Barely any editors are commissioning right now due to the pandemic but I can make more weekly than maternity pay, I’ll just have to work extra hard.

I’m just wondering if there is anything I can apply for or any help I can get during this time?

Curiousaboutcuriousgeorge Fri 22-May-20 16:20:01

Try looking over in money matters there’s usually a £10 a day thread running with ideas

lockdownstress Fri 22-May-20 16:21:23

One of you can be working full time both days at the weekend while the other has the baby - loads of supermarket jobs available.

Turnedouttoes Fri 22-May-20 16:24:05

What about your partner? Surely the uni term is now finished? Can he not find a job with more hours now? Or something around any studying he might need to do?

delilahbucket Fri 22-May-20 16:24:24

Are you not claiming tax credits or universal credit or child benefit? Contact your creditors or Step Change and negotiate repayments for your debts. I'm guessing your partner is your child's dad, or is someone else? It's not clear as it sounds like you've jumped from one bad break up into another relationship and got pregnant somewhere in between.

Namechangedorthis Fri 22-May-20 16:26:57

Turn2us do a covid grant if your employment is affected - you mention nobody is comissioning so you may qualify ? Worth a try

Namechangedorthis Fri 22-May-20 16:28:36

Also make sure you are getting best deals for gas electric etc that can save a lot we reduced ours by switching

Orangeblossom78 Fri 22-May-20 16:29:13

Well if things get worse you could ask your creditors for help but could mean credit file affected, they can help with things like freezing interest and lower payments etc. Banks might be better during this time.

Northernsoullover Fri 22-May-20 16:30:52

Have you checked your UC entitlement?

Orangeblossom78 Fri 22-May-20 16:31:10

Once his uni is finished you can apply for things like universal credit which should help you both

justforthecake Fri 22-May-20 16:32:24

Assuming you have a degree

Tutoring via zoom

Copy editing?

jetsetter87 Fri 22-May-20 16:33:17

Is uni year nearly finished? One of you then works ft. Or yes youll need to get a job around his work/studies sad

SciFiScream Fri 22-May-20 16:35:59

I'm sure there will be an audience for the content you can write about struggling with finances, having a baby, being freelance, etc, etc. Start pitching content even though you think editors aren't commissioning content.

Offer your skills on the various 'per hour' type websites.

Contact your local CAB so that they can do an check on your income and outgoings as well as advising you what you might be entitled to.

Try and get a very part-time flexible job (the dream) when your partner can look after baby so that you have some regular income.

Look on the Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert for ways to cut every single penny back. Some of them are extreme but might be worth it.

Check out the entitledto website.

Good luck

VodkaCranberry2 Fri 22-May-20 16:57:35

Thanks everyone, have just applied for UC and have a call on Tuesday. My partner finishes in July, at the moment he’s still doing it online until he finishes - I’m going to be writing as much as is physically possible but I’ll look into that grant. Thank you!

BlueJava Fri 22-May-20 17:19:09

If you get stuck have a turn out and sell on ebay/facebook. It can bring in a few pounds to tide you over.

PersephoneandHades Fri 22-May-20 17:32:26

Can you do online transcript writing? Proof-reading? Blogging?

There is also smaller things like online surveys, PopulisLive pays £2 per 20 min survey on average, though I’m sure this idea won’t really make a dent, it’s just a little extra if you have some free time.

Good luck.

Sophiafour Fri 22-May-20 17:47:48

Someone's already suggested UC and turn2us, both of which are great sources of information; I don't know if they're still running, but the Society of Authors had some small grants available it might be worth investigating and I think the Arts Council might have some useful information as well.

Also editing, proofreading, online tutoring, factchecking (though they're few and far between these days), online course creation, and do have a look at the MoneySaving Expert site as well, there are brilliant suggestions on there. Have a look on glassdoor and LinkedIn and even Facebook as well for job ops/projects - Facebook have stated this week they're going to look into far more remote-based staff positions, though I don't know if that will apply to the UK. Also, can you take a council tax holiday? Some local authorities, though by no means all, are doing this.

In terms of finding work, all the usual suspects plus Pitchwhiz, Sian Meade's truly excellent weekly freelancer newsletter, and problogger. There's also Hope Clark's newsletter (she's American but opportunities in other locations do come up as well). And occasionally things come up on Upwork/People Per Hour which are worth the time investment, though it's hideously faffy and long-winded these days to register and they still take 20% of anything you earn.

On the surveys, I've personally found the pennies mount up reasonably quickly on Qmee, Prize Rebel, and ipsos, though it really does depend on your demographic, and on at least 2 of those you can take them as Paypal payouts. You're unlikely to get rich from any of them, but they might help tide you over. We''ve also just started growing a small amount of veg to help tide us over (assuming the birds don't get it first....) Best of luck, this is such a tough time for so many of us. flowers

MitziK Fri 22-May-20 17:58:23

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MaderiaCycle Fri 22-May-20 17:58:46

Get your partner to talk to his uni about potential hardship grants available. Ours have extended the people they are willing to help and this sounds like something they would consider helping out with.

VodkaCranberry2 Fri 22-May-20 18:12:31

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SunflowerSeedsForever Fri 22-May-20 18:28:41

as I can no longer do the 5 days a week due to having a baby

Why cant you?

SunflowerSeedsForever Fri 22-May-20 18:30:35

Are you too late to go back to work full time for the national as casual staff? Your partner can look after the baby and study around your working hours.

VodkaCranberry2 Fri 22-May-20 18:31:00

@sunflowerseedsforever because it’s 9-6 constant writing, breaking news, new trends, exclusive stories so I’ll be glued to the computer 8-6 especially with the pandemic going on. Also lots of meetings and zoom calls which as I’m looking after the baby my editor has said she doesn’t want me doing this and would rather commission me on a piece by piece basis.

VodkaCranberry2 Fri 22-May-20 18:32:09

We can’t afford the rent and bills on just one salary so we need the extra income and if I go back as casual staff I can’t freelance for other places.

HermanHermit Fri 22-May-20 18:36:47

None of that is covid related. What were you planning to do before you got pregnant? An 8-6 job isn’t terrible hours when you have a student partner. He”lol have to try and get some weekend work - but what was the plan before all this?

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