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to be a bit worried about my friends current situation?

(23 Posts)
hatesponge Mon 09-Nov-09 21:31:17

Have a very close friend who I've known for well over 20 years. She was in a LTR which ended earlier this year (no DC) - they lived together but it was his flat, so she had to move out and get a place of her own, where she's been living since the summer.

We were exchanging emails at work today (as you do) & she happened to mention that finances were a bit tight currently, so would I mind if she didn't buy my DC presents this year - which was fine by me, they get far too much anyway...she then confessed that after paying her rent, utilities, council tax & bus fare to work (she doesnt own a car) she has in the region of £40 to live on a month. Thats to cover food, clothes, going out, phone top up, any 'extras' etc.

I found this pretty shock & am really worried about how she is managing. She is hoping to get a pay rise in March, but that will only be another £30 or so a month. I know she is a single person, but £1.10 a day seems so little to live on indefinitely. or even £2 a day if she gets this raise.

I have offered to give her some money, or pay for household insurance for her (she cant afford it). She has politely declined & said she's ok. She is living in pretty much the cheapest accomodation she could find, I dont think she could cut costs therefore. Am just really concerned about her coping, or getting into debt. AIBU? what if anything can/should I do to help her?

colditz Mon 09-Nov-09 21:35:07

She should apply for tax credits, and see if she can get a lift into work.Or try for a part time evening job?

SolidGoldBangers Mon 09-Nov-09 21:36:54

Check with her that she is getting anything/everything she is entitled to, and that her tax code is the right one. She may well be entitled to housing benefit, for instance (people who are not working ie on state benefits and nothing else, are supposed to have about £40 a week to cover food, travel, utilities etc). A person can't live on £1 a day for any length of time without getting into debt, and the debt will be awful as the only people who will lend to someone in her position will be the sort who charge 400% interest.

FluffysBeenBittenByAVampire Mon 09-Nov-09 21:37:39

she needs a benefit check, the CAB can do this for her, she may be entitled to tax credits if she's working over 30 hours a week and is over 25 years old, she may also be able to get council tax benefit and housing benefit.

GiraffeAHolic Mon 09-Nov-09 21:38:39

Unfortunately it's a situation that many people are in at the moment, on a bad month a the moment we have £70 left after household bills etc, and that's for 3 of us.

If she is declining financial help, which I would also do TBH, pride and all that, there's not a huge amount you can do.

Maybe just be available to talk if she needs it, you sound like a good friend.

Do you work together, could you offer a lift to avoid bus fares?

abbierhodes Mon 09-Nov-09 21:41:26

There's always a way. (That's coming from someone who has been very skint.) Would she let you sit down with her and go through her outgoings? There might be things she can cut back on that would make a difference. As a single person, she might be entitled to a council tax reduction.

Tell her to check out and Loads of excellent advice in there.

In the mean time, shopping at places like Aldi or Lidl she might manage to feed one person on around £10 per week, if she's really frugal.

Hope things get better for her soon. She's lucky to have a caring friend...try to have her round for dinner a couple fo times a week!

dilemma456 Mon 09-Nov-09 21:41:40

Message withdrawn

AnyFucker Mon 09-Nov-09 21:42:01

if she has a spare bedroom, encourage her to get a lodger

check the benefits situation as previously said

part-time job in a bar in the evenings ?

thesecondcocking Mon 09-Nov-09 21:44:01

last year we had £250 plus family allowance of about £130 to live off,for 4 of us,after the mortgage was buy food,heat,nappies,pay council tax (of £100 a month)everything else had to come out of that.
we weren't entitled to anything.
it's what you call the working poor.

merryberry Mon 09-Nov-09 21:44:19

if she had no outgoings staying at his, does she have no savings? if she was paying regular outgoings, doesn't she have some (limited) recourse at law for regular (like bills or maintenance) or notable (like appliances) payments made to upkeep of his place? anyone know?

teatank Mon 09-Nov-09 21:47:30

there is a benefit checker online. its called she can just type in her details (no name requiered) and it will suggest what she is entitled to and how to go about claiming. if she wont take the money maybe you could just lend her some till she is a better position to pay you back.

hatesponge Mon 09-Nov-09 22:03:43

Thanks for all the replies. Would she be entitled to benefits as a single childless person? Had no idea about this but will definitely tell her to look into it - I know she is already registered for single person discount for council tax.

She is tiny (size 8 on a good day!) & eats like a sparrow so she can probably live off £10 a week for food. its just the extra expenses that inevitably come up that worry me, which I honestly dont think she has thought of yet.

In terms of her Ex, its a bit complicated, he had a mortgage on the flat, but she did pay her share of bills, bought stuff for home, paid for their hols each year - however he is under threat of redundancy etc so she says she wont take any money off him, even though I think she could argue some entitlement etc.

I will definitely suggest an evening or weekend job though - tbh it would do her good as I know she is dreading being stuck indoors alone on long winter eves, & has lost lots of 'mutual' friends since the break up.

Am also thinking I might make her up a hamper of food, toiletries, make up etc as a Xmas present, as she wont allow me to give her anything.

AnyFucker Mon 09-Nov-09 22:13:58

good idea, hs re. the hamper. Either that or vouchers for somewhere generic like Marks and Sparks, where she can buy everything from food, underwear, make-up etc

could you invite her round to yours lots, for meals and stuff

make up some "trauma" of your own if you need to, that you need to talk to her about...

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 09-Nov-09 22:21:44

Where is she living? Is she on her own? In my area of London a decent 1 bed flat is £1,000 pcm, well out of the reach of a single person on average income. Could she reduce her rent by sharing with someone else?
Advertise on gumtree or similar for a single flatmate of her own age?

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 09-Nov-09 22:22:48

2nd hand bike from freecycle or ebay and cycle to work?

I had to do this when I was stoney broke.

daisydotandgertie Mon 09-Nov-09 22:23:43

Could you do a basics food shop for her?

My lovely Mum did it for me every now and then when I was very broke and bought the more expensive things - washing powder, coffee, tea along with basic ingredients. She also put in a luxury/treat as well. She was a star.

If you just took it to her, she might well accept it. IME there is not much of a safety net for a single, childless person in the benefit system.

The Christmas Hamper idea is brilliant.

She's lucky to have a friend like you.

PercyPigPie Mon 09-Nov-09 22:25:35

I would invite her round for supper a lot and ask her if she would like to do some paid babysitting for you.

verytellytubby Mon 09-Nov-09 22:27:33

She's really lucky to have you. My SIL is completely skint but very proud so we invite her around for dinner a lot. I used to give her stuff to Ebay.

Food parcels could work. My mum used to do it for me when I had my first flat on a very low salary. It was a life-saver. She needs to go through her outgoings. There must be ways to cut them (moneysavingsexpert etc).

hatesponge Mon 09-Nov-09 22:38:40

She is living on her own - small 1 bed flat, reasonable area (she could have got somewhere very slightly cheaper but in a rough area, she's never lived on her own before - was with parents then moved out to live with Ex - so was nervous of living on her own anyway, let alone in a bad neighbourhood) I havent seen her flat but from what she's said I dont think theres room to have anyone else living there.

I'd have her round every night for dinner but for the fact she lives about 2 hours away by public transport (is a lot quicker by car but I dont drive). She's coming to stay with me - another friend is giving her a lift - for a couple of weekends between now and Xmas which should save a bit, also the babysitting is a great idea as well, just need to find something to do whilst she's minding the DC!

sparklefrog Mon 09-Nov-09 23:18:19

Just an idea, could she not move back to her parents again?

Sorry it's late and I'm tired, so maybe that's been explained or covered already.

bumpsoon Tue 10-Nov-09 08:26:18

when i was really poor ,my mum used to turn up occasionally with a couple of bags of essentials ,like coffee ,toilet rolls ,washing powder etc and it really felt like christmas to me because that meant i had extra money that week ,she also used to save magazines for me . I could understand your friend not wanting money from you ,but if you were to turn up with a few of the things above ,oh and a nice bottle of plonk always goes down well !i bet she would be a very happy person wink. i did this for my friend when her husband left her in dire straights and she wasnt in the least bit offended .

NotQuiteCockney Tue 10-Nov-09 08:31:16

A flat-share would probably be cheaper ...

thesecondcocking Tue 10-Nov-09 08:46:58

it would at least split the bills wouldn't it?
It's fucking tragic that people have to live like this isn't it?
We were so fucked last year as it took them A YEAR to get our working tax family credit out...a fucking year.
Fortunately we were able to run up enormous credit cards and get loads of bank charges while they pissed around with our claim.
If we didn't own our house we would be better off on the dole,dp earns £500 a year more than the amount we'd get free school meals,council tax,etc etc at.
and they wonder why people don't want to work?

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