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Money - how do you all do it?

(63 Posts)
Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 13:50:58

I am a relative recent lone parent and still on mat leave and going back to full time work in September. Now I earn a decent salary but it just doesn't cover the basics, having looked at it seems I am not eligible for any tax credits etc.

Do I have any other options? Am happy to break down earnings/outgoings if it would help but at the moment it seems like I can't afford to work. So what happens, am I supposed to just go on benefits?

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 14:01:53


chloemummy Wed 06-Aug-08 14:03:08

Can you try and work part time. I found if I worked full time not entitled to anything but if you work 3 days per week you are and you get tax credits to the equivalent of an extra day. Not sure how much you need to earn?

Jodyray Wed 06-Aug-08 14:08:31

You should get child tax credits already, this is separate to working tax credits which I cant get cos of salary, and this will go up a bit when baby starts nursery. I am much in the same position re money. I still have a DP but we run 2 houses as we live separately. Are you getting anything from dad??

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 14:08:39

I was thinking that maybe I would be better working less but how do I find out?

I currently earn about £40k and this barely covers my outgoings.

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 14:11:19

I get the basic child tax credits. XP does help me financially but it's still not enough to make ends meet. Maybe I need to move house or something.

£40k is my estimated earnings and my basic is £30k, current climate means it's likely that I won't be earning much commission when I return to work.

Jodyray Wed 06-Aug-08 14:14:07

Go on the tax credit website and there is an online assessment, just fill it out as if you are part time and see what you would get. Put it this way when i earned £16k, had a crap job and was a single with mum 1 child getting a pittance of csa, i took home more money than i do now on 32k in a high stress job with 2 kids and thats before i consider nursery fees of £165/wk from next month!

PersephoneSnape Wed 06-Aug-08 14:14:46

can you drop your hours to be under the threshold for tax credits so you're entitled to childcare?

i earn £23k a year and have tax credits of around £4500. i don't get maintenance. i have three children. we manage. we don't have holidays and i run a rather clapped out car. it's a lot easier i think when chuildren go to school, but then you need to find after school care or drop your hours again.

we live in a pretty rough area though...

it might help to break down your in/outgoings - I've become expert at shaving ££ in the last few years (eg, i never buy full price meat - buy a lot of carbs/dried pulses from 'ethnic' hmm food shops etc

could you move? could you take a career break and do some retraining? could you drop some hours so you qualify for tax credits. could you work from home to save on transport costs etc...?

Jodyray Wed 06-Aug-08 14:17:05

Zebraa Wed 06-Aug-08 15:06:15

How much do you current spend per month on rent/mortgage and bills? What area do you live?

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 15:19:15

I live in Surrey, rent is 1k per month, bills about £200 per month, £1k per month nursery fees, £250 per month train fare, £200 per month on food. Take home on my basic salary is £1875 p/month.

Going to have to look into some other options, part time doesn't seem to work either

citylover Wed 06-Aug-08 15:55:39

I will watch this thread with interest as I am in similar position. Good salary but really high rent and outgoings so I am having to look at everything.

Hardly the future I envisaged. I don't really mind shopping at LIDL in fact quite like it and always being broke but it's hardly progress is it?

Think if you live in the South East you really need to earn megabucks.

And rather ironic to be better off financially for working part time. Nothing wrong with working part time but surely it can't be right to be better off ie contributing less to the economy (tho more to invisible work ie raising next generation)
rather than doing full time

perhaps I should consider it

citylover Wed 06-Aug-08 15:56:17

sorry bad punctuation, don't like always being broke but don't mind

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 16:01:53

It's ridiculous really

Zebraa Wed 06-Aug-08 16:12:03

Not that this is so important but how old are you? Are you in a position where you can leave baby with your Mum/Aunt to save on childcare?

Is it an option to relocate to a less desirable, yet still perfectly fine, area? I believe Surrey is perhaps the most expensive place to live? If you're not completely tied to your current area, or even if you have a spare room, you might have to consider downsizing. Is this a feasible option?

Don't panic though, there IS always a way.

LIZS Wed 06-Aug-08 16:12:20

Don't know exactly whereabouts you are obviously or what size property you rent but you should be able to downsize in Surrey and pay a lot less - if it is more than a 2 bed you probably would n't get HB to cover it all. Does £200 for bills incl Council Tax ? A CM could be a cheaper option than a nursery

VinegarTits Wed 06-Aug-08 16:19:11

Ewe if you are paying out 1K on nursery fees each month i am sure you must be entitled to some tax credits towards that, i earn 36k and pay out £400 in nursery fees and still get something (although not much about £70 a month) towards my nursery fees.

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 16:25:08

I'm in my early twenties. I can't really move away as I already commute over an hour to work and not being near my family or DD's Dad would be pretty awful.

I live in a tiny 2 bed house, 2nd & 3rd floor in the centre of town, not a bad area but nothing amazing, no garden. I don't drive so need to be near station. I could downsize to a one bed I suppose but it'd only save me about £100 p/mnth so after costs of agent/moving/deposit etc not sure it'd be worth it.

CM works out more expensive than the nursery and my Mum works full time. Aunt has said she can have DD occasionally but can't commit to days/when so DD still needs a FT nursery place.

Think I may go and see CAB and see if they have any bright ideas.

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 16:32:45

VinegarTits - I thought so too but it says I'm not if I base it on last years P60.

However, just did again based on my basic and it says I am entitled to £3k ish. That could be helpful!

Zebraa Wed 06-Aug-08 17:11:53

If your second bedroom is a good size could you perhaps rent it out? Although if your baby is still a little screamer you might not have much interest.

Being as you're still quite young, have you ever considered staying at home? Or is that not an option for you?

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 17:27:44

Staying at home not an option, no space as my siblings are all younger than me (youngest is 9) and still at home. Second bedroom is not very big and baby is only 4.5months so still does a fair amount of screaming!!

Gah. Maybe I could sell a kidney?

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 20:08:06

God I am so fucked, been thinking about it all evening. I just can't make the numbers work. Just sobbed away to XP and he was less than sympthetic

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 20:08:08

God I am so fucked, been thinking about it all evening. I just can't make the numbers work. Just sobbed away to XP and he was less than sympthetic

HolidaysQueen Wed 06-Aug-08 20:08:11

Hi Ewe - spotted this earlier on active conversations and wanted to come and post a few thoughts once DS had gone to bed.

1) I don't know how informal or formal your arrangement is with your exDP, but I looked at your outgoings and immediately thought that he should be paying half of DD's nursery fees as well as his contributions towards her food, clothing etc. I don't know what he does, but if he works FT as well then he is benefiting equally by her being in nursery so I think it only fair that he should be contributing equally towards it rather than making you shoulder the burden yourself. So he should be giving you at least £500 per month in addition to any extra for food etc. You may want to see if you can formalise what he pays you in case you find that it ends up changing on a monthly basis as if you're on a tight budget you will really need to know that you can rely on a set amount from him per month

2) Did you know about the scheme where you can put money away for childcare vouchers and get it tax free? I need to look into it for when I go back but it sounds great. Both you and ex DP can each put away up to £243 per month from your gross salary towards childcare costs. As you may fall into higher tax bracket if you hit your bonus then that would effectively save you about £100 per month so well worth doing if you can. I don't think I'm making much sense but there is more info here

3) Could you work from home one or two days per week? Not with DD at home as I know that wouldn't work, but in order to save money on your commuting costs. If you could do two days at home that might save you £100 a month (although of course I know it might not work out like that with daily costs vs season tickets etc)

Good luck!

Ewe Wed 06-Aug-08 20:29:24

Hiya HQ

Have spoken to XP again and he is going to think about contributing to nursery fees and ask his work about childcare vouchers - thanks for reminding me I had totally forgotten about them.

I have been so fine about the split and everything and today it seems to have all caught up with me

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