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Am I missing something?

(39 Posts)
Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 12:01:03

Okay, sorry if this is long, but...
I'm single, my kids are older and two are still at Uni. I live in privately rented accommodation, and I work MW job on a 16 hour contract, plus a self-employed job which is craft-like though not exactly, and pays me twice a year.
My earnings pay the bills but there is literally nothing left over. My twice yearly payments barely clear my overdraft, which I live on month to month (the payments are variable, I cannot rely on how much I'm going to get). I cannot afford heating (oil fired, which also runs the hot water) and can only afford to use electricity sparingly, so it's going to be a cold winter.
Because I have no children under 18 I'm not entitled to ANY financial help. The nature of my job means I cannot get a second job (I have to be available to work shifts) which is why I do the crafty thing. But my second job earnings have been getting less and less (despite me doing the job whenever I can).
Am I missing something? Or do I sit here and starve quietly/miss payments/rack up my credit card debt? Is there ANYTHING else I can do? I can't downsize - I still need the space for the Uni returnees and I've lived here so long my rent is minimal (plus absolutely no savings for deposits or anything), so moving wouldn't make living any cheaper....

Missgraeme Thu 11-Aug-16 12:03:22

Maybe u could expand the self employed hours? Do something more regularly and sell on eBay?

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 12:04:45

Sorry to have to be furtive but don't want to 'out' myself - what I do is sort of through a third party and not something you can sell on eBay...

ToffeeForEveryone Thu 11-Aug-16 12:06:17

Can you extend your hours at your current job? If not, you might have to look for another job altogether if you can't work around it and it's not paying you enough. flowers

Wellthatsit Thu 11-Aug-16 12:09:20

That sounds really difficult.
The first thing I would do would be to try to increase your work hours.

The second thing would be to change what your second job is. Craft type jobs do not pay very well and if you are able bodied, there are better self employed type roles you could try eg ironing service, cat sitting, cleaning, Avon rep etc. Many of these can be flexible hours so hopefully wouldn't cause a problem with your other job's shift patterns.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 11-Aug-16 12:09:45

You need a different job and to do the 'crafty' stuff in holidays/weekends.

It's impossible to not work full time if you're single and have no children living with you.

Wellthatsit Thu 11-Aug-16 12:10:14

Getting paid twice a year is a bit unusual isn't it?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 11-Aug-16 12:13:51

Most people can't afford to work part-time, especially on MW. You've done well to manage for so long.

You need either more hours in your current job, or a new job, that is either more hours or better pay. Potentially you could also look for a job that is 16 hours and pays the same but means you can work a second part time job too, but that means looking for two part time jobs, so it's probably just better to get more hours in one job.

Thomasthetank456 Thu 11-Aug-16 12:14:52

You can make claims for housing benefit and council tax support. It may be that your income is too high but you won't lose anything by applying

Costacoffeeplease Thu 11-Aug-16 12:19:14

Is there any reason why you can't work full time?

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 12:25:26

I do sometimes do full time hours (the hours can vary, 16 is the minimum and I usually work more) I live extremely rurally, there is very little full time work where I am, and to drive to the nearest city for a full time post would cost me more in running transport (no public transport out here) than I would earn.
I am fairly highly regarded in my second job (it's creative, with quite a high profile); it just earns a lot less than everyone seems to think!
Also, I worked part time when the children were small, I'm now mid fifties and have a lack of skills/experience that would make me a good bet for any full time work round here (it's mostly agricultural/seasonal). Moving to the city isn't an option (see my OP) - I consider myself pretty lucky to be employed at all...
And I've done all the 'Benefit Calculator' things, but, because of having no children, I'm not entitled to any.

EndodSummerLooming Thu 11-Aug-16 12:28:16

You need to find more hours, preferably full time. I've a husband and worked full time from when the children were 7 and 10.

That is the only solution and you should mot receive funds in any other way.

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 12:33:16

End, i don't want benefits. I think you misunderstand. I'm here to see if anyone can come up with any brilliant ideas for how not to starve/freeze this winter. Full time work is very hard to come by here, and I tend to get overlooked in favour of younger/more experienced candidates for any posts I applied for - hence considering myself lucky to have the MW job I do have!

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 11-Aug-16 12:38:21

Your problem is your job - which only pays you for 16 hours a week at minimum wage but which seems to expect 168 hours a week "commitment" from you.

Can you get more hours?
Can you get set shifts? (Perhaps by saying that you will do the least popular shifts permanently?) Or at least get agreement that of some times that you will never be roster end for. (And then get a second job then.)
How long in advance do you get your shifts? Can you get a second job saying that you are happy to work whenever as long as it doesn't clash with your other shifts?
Can you set up an agreement with a colleague (who may have childcare issues) such that you will always swap any Saturday shifts she gets and she will always swap any Wednesday shifts you get?
Can you get a new job with more hours?

Lovefromhull Thu 11-Aug-16 12:45:18

Have you visited the money saving expert site? Their forums are very good. People will look over your s.o.a ( statement of afairs) for you and offer advice. Good luck.

cozietoesie Thu 11-Aug-16 12:46:25

Is there any chance that you could rent out a room to a lodger- by asking the DCs to bunk up when they return from uni for example? It might only bring in enough to heat the place properly over the winter and buy some more food but that would at least be something for you?

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 12:48:01

I do work more hours than 16, Mum, some weeks 48 hours, but, obviously, other weeks only 16. 16 is the minimum they HAVE to give me (and also means that, if I'm ill, that's all the have to pay me for). It's because the hours are so irregular that I get into trouble. We're busy at the moment because it's summer, so everyone is working a lot of hours (and I do do unpopular shifts/cover/help out anyone who can't work).
It's not too bad most of the time, pay is okay and I can cover the bills. It's because work is irregular (which is why I do my second job) and I never know (well, on a three week rota I know, obviously) how much I'm going to get month-to-month.
Yes, I guess I just need to find another way to earn more money. I'm doing some freelancing at present (linked to second job - which is much higher prestige than first job!) and some teaching, which is all flexible around first job.

DairyingLass Thu 11-Aug-16 12:54:07

I know you want to keep your university-aged kids rooms but ... needs must.

Could they share a room and you airbnb a room? Assuming you've got three bedrooms of course.

DairyingLass Thu 11-Aug-16 12:56:09

sorry must have xposted with cozietoezie!

DairyingLass Thu 11-Aug-16 12:57:16

Or if you do teaching can you do exam marking?

Sooverthis Thu 11-Aug-16 12:58:08

When my dc went to uni they often had to share if they came home together as I let one room out to foreign students. You need to find another job, sixteen hour contract is unworkable for you. My dc also worked and contributed during their holidays. You can't keep three adults and a house going like this.

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 13:05:59

Can't sublet, it's in my tenancy agreement!

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Aug-16 13:06:33

Plus, they are different genders...

cantshakeitoff Thu 11-Aug-16 13:06:35

Airbnb sounds like a good idea don't it? If your DC's are at uni you only have to let their rooms out when they're not there.

cantshakeitoff Thu 11-Aug-16 13:07:03

Sorry, X-post.

Ask your LL for permission?

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