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How will we afford to live?

(30 Posts)
Supercherry Tue 21-Jul-09 17:35:30

I've just calculated my monthly outgoings for food (£50 per week inc. nappies/wipes) and bills (2 bed terrace) and deducted this from what I think I should be entitled to in benefits and I will be left with exactly £0 per week. Woohoo.

I won't be able to run my car so that will have to go.

What worries me is that I wont have any money to pop to a baby group, or soft play, or take DS out for lunch, or even grab a coffee after supermarket shopping.

I am 6mths pregnant so starting a job now isn't really feasible is it?

Even if I did get a job, the benefits would be reduced so I would still be as bad off financially and not get to bring up my children, DS1, 17mths and DS2 due in October.

XP, on the other hand, will be better off, how is that fair?

Not really sure what I'm asking really, just wanted to have a moan.

How do all you single mums and dads manage?

bigchris Tue 21-Jul-09 17:37:31

are you in a surestart area? There might be free stuff to go to at the Childrens Centre and there is free ryhmetimes at the library
but yes it sucks

MrsGokWantstogotoHogwarts Tue 21-Jul-09 19:15:45

Also check on just to make sure you have accounted for every benefit.

Supercherry Tue 21-Jul-09 20:23:44

Thanks Bigchris, I will check out those suggestions.

MrsGok, everything is accounted for, but thank you. I really will be this skint.

FAQtothefuture Tue 21-Jul-09 20:26:41

have you checked the LHA rate for your area for that (what everyone knows as housing benefit)?

Supercherry Tue 21-Jul-09 21:01:15

FAQtothefuture, the mortgage should get taken care of in theory so I have not included that in my outgoings but thank you.

What does everyone else have left over? I don't mean specific amounts (that would be far too nosy and none of my business) but do they have anything or are all single parents this skint?

Supercherry Tue 21-Jul-09 21:04:39

I'm going to bed now, to wallow in my poverty, and hope the lottery ticket that I have bought for tomorrow is a winner grin.

I'm not really feeling sorry for myself, just want to add, I know it could be alot worse in another country. At least we will get fed and a roof over our heads until I can find and am able to well paid work.

Mousey84 Tue 21-Jul-09 22:05:24

Well, dds dad looks to be living the life of riley - decent wages, meals out, clubbing etc...except he has big debts, and appears to be going through a mid-life crisis a decade or so too early.

I, on the other hand, have been raising dd on my own since birth (shes now 6 1/2). I have never been in debt, and my life is pretty fulfilling (on the most part).

Budget wisely (starting now, if you havent already) and look out for free groups (libraries often good for this) DS will prob be more excited with a picnic in a home-made fort than having lunch out, and though I dont know what supermarket cafes charge for coffee, I would imagine it would prob cost about 1/2 of what a bag of yummy coffee to take home and enjoy all week would cost!

I think the £50 supermarket bill could prob be cut down too. But Ill not rant on anymore...

Check out for some great money saving tips. Or give me a shout.

Supercherry Wed 22-Jul-09 07:44:52

Thanks Mousey, XP has lots of debts too and luckily I am debt free having spent the last couple of years slowly paying off overdrafts/credit cards that remained from my student days.

I can budget, I used to spend a fiver in Netto when I was a student, often living off their finest 9p noodles and beans on toast grin.

I am struggling to see how I can spend less than £50 on nappies (soon for 2), wipes, toiletries, cleaning products etc and food for a week though. Food is quite expensive at the moment and I would like to continue to buy lots of fruit etc for DS and me, as being pregnant I need to eat healthily. I will certainly try though, maybe I need to plan specific meals.

Will check out your link too, thanks. Any tips very gratefully accepted.

The coffee thing after the supermarket, I enjoy it, I will miss being able to do social things that cost money.

Ninkynork Wed 22-Jul-09 08:12:55

Sorry to hear you're in this situation, mine was similar and it is awful.

Do you know about the £500 grant you can claim for the new baby? You have until three months post-partum to apply but it is best to do it before the birth. dren/DG_10018854

As for food, Healthy Start will help with the cost of food and milk for the DC. There is a Health in Pregnancy grant too. dren/HealthinPregnancyGrant/DG_173502

Child Benefit and tax credits will increase once the new baby is born which should add £50 or so to your weekly income or have you already factored that in?

Sorry if you already know about these things but when I was on benefits and single it was amazing what I missed out on. The same held true when I went back to work. I missed a clothing allowance, benefit run-ons you name it.

allgonebellyup Wed 22-Jul-09 12:12:57

i am a single parent to 2 young children, and i manage on what i earn (peanuts), and i have to pay £450 mortgage every month. i also manage to run a car and pay around £60 for food.
Are you sure you are going to be getting everything you are entitled to?

Will your ex be paying maintentance at all? (i do receive £300 a month for this)

Supercherry Wed 22-Jul-09 16:11:02

Allgonebellyup, I'm pretty sure I have accounted for all benefits: Income Support, Child tax credit, Child benefit, housing benefit, council tax discount.

Maintenance would only amount to £39 a week and I think most of this would be deducted from Income support anyway, have I got this right?

Ninkynork, I am aware of the pregnacy grants but thank you. I wasn't aware that I would get that much more for a second child so that is good news

CarGirl Wed 22-Jul-09 16:15:13

Washable nappies would save you loads of money. Buy shaped nappies and motherease airflow wraps 2nd hand.

I think you get to keep £5 or £10 per week of CM, they deduct the rest.

FAQtothefuture Wed 22-Jul-09 16:18:04

you can keep £20

so they'd deduct £19 a week from your IS

FAQtothefuture Wed 22-Jul-09 16:19:37

also obviously doesn't help in the short term while you're still pg - but have you done the entitled to as if your 2nd DC has already been born?

thesouthsbelle Wed 22-Jul-09 20:51:44

don't forget not sure if you have them yet or not, get your healthy eating vouchers it's £3 per week, but you get more for being PG as well, look into it it should amount to approx £6 or something for you a week - it will at least keep you with a tin of formula or some fresh fruit.

check all of your benefits carefully, get down to the job centre and have a chat with them. I managed just on benefits for a year, before caved. it's hard work.

FAQ is right by the way on the maintenance oh and also don't forget the tax credits, I was getting £50 p.w just for one DS of 18 months so with one and a baby you should get more.

Also look into the sure start maternity grant for £500.

oh and housing benefits don't include maintenance as income anymore (woohoo!) one plus so make sure you're not including that in your calculations - I was told by my people here that as I was a lone parent on IS I would get the full benefit which was £144 per week, so I had to find £10 per week top up.

good luck. xx

Unlikelyamazonian Sat 25-Jul-09 20:53:37

I'm brassic too.

Single parent to ds 20 months.

No maintenance from H - his shit father who is lording it up abroad with his Burmese love, and, apparently, living in a lovely detached house with a roof terrace AND garden! Pip pip!

I spend way way way WAY too much on wine but my excuse is: I never go out. My hair is a weird colour (20 quid done at home every 6 months or so) I shop exclusively in charity shops, I have no bling or perfume, I wear pretend 'crocs' for a fiver at local seaside shop, my make-up is Dusty Springfield era. I eat a LOT of beans on toast and bananas.

Yes it's pretty shit being a lone parent with no financial support - and some friends of mine go 'wow!!! That's a lot!!' when I say I receive 542 pounds a month in child and working tax credits. hmm To be fair, they just have no idea and I am glad that they don't!

My outgoings are 920 quid a month including interest-only mortgage ( so not paying it off sad). Would be less if I cancelled the internet and landline (48 quid a month) mobile (30 a month), car insurance (33 a month up from 15, as I now need breakdown insurance just in case I am stranded alone with ds)..blah blah. I have 2 thousand left in savings and transfer over about 300 a month. That will go and then???? I have no eyed deer.

I clean houses, earning about 120 quid a week.

Yes it's bloody hard work. I used to earn loadsalolly so it feels weird and frightening.

But I love my boy and he loves me and we have a great time together.

I just wish I could find one of those lamps under a tree and rub it and a genie appears and he says 'your wish is my command' and I would ask for 'a never ending bottle of beer please' and when I had drunk from it until I passed out, I would wake up and rub the lamp a second time and the genie would appear and ask me what I wished for this time, and I would say 'hic, can I have another one of those never-ending bottles of beer please'....


yes, my sense of humour is poor too.

When ds is older, if he wants a Wii, or gameboy thing, unless I can get one for zilch second-hand, or on ebay, or borrow one from a mate or have met somebody loaded by then, he aint having one.

There it is.

Unlikelyamazonian Sat 25-Jul-09 20:59:17

Oh and I have cancelled dog insurance, cat insurance, ds's child trust fund thing from the government, and the 920 a month outgoings still doesn't include food. I spend about 60 - 70 a week on food and cleaning stuff for work. Maybe that's too much? I could probably get it down but tbh I only eat one meal a day (supper) and I am still a bit buggered emotionally by H's running away. I am going to try to make more savings.

We women can be resourceful and also I have great friends who give/lend me things (we give or lend each other things) and I am much happier poor without the arsehole than I was well-off with him.

I think sad There should be a way of crossing out a sad


blithedance Sat 25-Jul-09 21:05:08

If you are interested in washable nappies just say. I was going to freecycle my kit now DC's are toilet trained. As long as you have a place to dry them they are not too much hassle and they do save you the ££'s.

JJsandcat Mon 27-Jul-09 03:11:45

Sometimes churches will offer free coffee mornings and playgroups for mums. Also, charity shops or exchanges always make it possible to snap up toys and clothes for little money.

Would also second others' advice and check all your benefits and see if you can get any vouchers, etc.

Can you put an ad in the newspaper saying you're looking for child clothes/baby clothes, toys, etc for your two small children? There's nothing wrong with it and we often find these kind of ads in the papers for books, toys, beds, etc to be given away freely if collected.

Overmydeadbody Mon 27-Jul-09 03:49:42

Supercherry the trick is to be frugal. If you can cut down your shopping bill do so. Things like going to the supermarket when all the bread is reduced (I haven't bought bread for more than 50p for ages now) and stocking it up in your freezer will help.

When I was first a lone parent I was in pretty much the same position as yourself, I have zero money left over for extras and we lived off lentil soup and instant noodles etc.

Now ofur years down the line things have got much better, although we still live on a very low budget there is a little bit left over each week and I am no longer living on an overdraft either as it has slowly been paid off.

Overmydeadbody Mon 27-Jul-09 03:51:19

There are always free things going on if you look for them.

Coffee is much nicer made at home anyway! smile

I second the suggestion of looking on ebay or gumtree for things, especially kids clothes.

JJsandcat Tue 28-Jul-09 16:41:41

Just wanted to post a link to a really great thread:


Hope it can be useful.

StripeyKnickersSpottySocks Tue 28-Jul-09 16:43:07

Do you know you can get council tax discont if only one adult?

sooey76 Tue 28-Jul-09 17:17:13

I'm in the same position. I have 5 kids and spend about £75 a week on food, if kids need new shoes, it's cheap meals from iceland that week. Some months bills go unpaid. Ex pays nothing, buys nothing for kids. Just be greatful they aren't at school, as clothing grant is nowhere near enough where I live, and no bills get paid at end of august!

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