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Really feeling having less money than other parents- anyone know what I mean?!

(10 Posts)
cheekymonk Sun 14-Jun-09 17:16:16

Hi There,

Have just returned from my son's playdate and am just feeling how much less money we have than them and possibly a lot of people.

Whilst ds was there I got myself a paper and read it on the seafront in the glorious sunshine but was trying to avoid thinking about how I have No (and I mean absolutely nothing) money until child tax credits gets paid on Friday.

There is food in the cupboards, I stocked up on fruit and veg yesterday and have the meals planned for the next week. I could only get so much shopping though and will get next lot when child benefit gets paid in. There is petrol in the car but I just feel so powerless having no money on me and felt terrible saying no to ds yesterday when he wanted an ice-cream.

I work 26 hours a week and dh works full-time in Navy. All of our bills are paid up to date but we do have an IVA that is £245 per month but that is also up to date. There have been so many days and weeks like this. I get used to entertaining ds with next to no money near the end of the month but this is 14th so not halfway through yet! I have been spending too much on food shopping which I have addressed but I am still so rubbish at spreading what little we have left all through the month and I find it hard when the parents at ds nursery have au pairs, big cars, big houses and apparently money to burn.

I have always said that money means nothing and doesn't guarantee happiness but I am wondering if thats a bit naive. I actually feel powerless and inferior to others because of it. Its like having a dirty secret that you carry around and I feel like a fake.

I am intelligent and have a degree in English and so should no better really but our debt is more in control than its been for a long time. I can't control dh's spending however. He is away and has taken out £100 in last week for entertainment. This covers him until the end of the month. This cripples us and we just can't afford it but he rarely goes out, its just when he does it costs a lot because its a fiver a pint!

We have no back up like cheques or credit cards and have also been using payday loans which is plain stupid I know.

My job is to look after ds and keep the house afloat but its just hard! In my job I know people who live in their cars, have sold their cars, not eaten all day so know that THAT is poverty. Even so, I really struggle with it!

Quattrocento Sun 14-Jun-09 17:33:36

There seem to be two issues - the first is feelings of lack of self-worth and I'm not sure that's linked to money. What gives you a real sense of satisfaction?

The second is the actual lack of money, which is slightly easier. Is there any possibility you could cut down on the payday loans? Or perhaps you and/or your DH could work a few extra hours?

I'm sorry, I haven't got anything more constructive to suggest, but didn't want you to go unanswered.

Jaquelinehyde Sun 14-Jun-09 17:53:15

Cheekymonk I really understand where you are coming from with this.

Spare money gives you freedom and choice there is no doubting that.

You have managed to budget so that you have food in the cupboards and transport to get around. Being able to do that is a massive positive and shows you have your head screwed on and priorities straight.

The main problem lies in the comparison of your household income to the percieved income of others around you. This is unhealthy and won't be helping matters but, it is a natural thing to do, we all do it I'm sure.

I think the first thing you need to do is try and stop the payday loans. That should free up a good £20-£30 for you and DS to use for treats through out the month.

Secondly you say you're getting on top of the shopping budget, this is fab. However, don't be so down on youreself about not having done this sooner.

Finally could you ask DH to drop his entertainment by £20ish and then pop that to one side for emergency food items on low weeks, or could the IVA be negotiated down by £20-£30 a month just to give a little breathing space?

Also you are doing something that most people don't, you are living within your means (despite the odd payday loan). Once your IVA has gone you will be debt free, now that is a financial status to be bragged about!

cheekymonk Sun 14-Jun-09 18:14:01

Thanks Jaquelinehyde- what a kind, positive response!
Yes they are some good options. It is a feeling of almost being there but just not quite!
Thanks quattrocento too. Being with people I love and whom I know love me makes me feel satisfied. Family time. Being accepted generally. Knowing I am doing a good job as a Mum makes me feel satisfied. I wouldn't really say that anything directly linked to money makes me satisfied.
Yes there is more than one issue really.

cheekymonk Sun 14-Jun-09 19:51:27


SammyK Sun 14-Jun-09 20:00:15

I understand what you mean, it is hard having no money in your pocket, it does make you feel powerless at times. Just knowing I had a few quid in my purse would be nice. smile

I have to say though when I do feel down about money I count my blessings (that's my motto, I use it alot to chide myself).

If I am down about having no money after bills, I look at what I have paid for that ther families don't have. A roof over our head, gas, electricity, running water, food (not great luxury food, but basic, nutritous food). A healthy ds. smile

Knowng you are getting out of debt is also great! The families with the big cars and fancy holidays are either very comfortable or very careful financially, which is lucky - good for them in these hard times, or being silly and getting into debt.

cheekymonk Sun 14-Jun-09 20:07:12

Yes Sammy K. You are so right.

dizietsma Sun 14-Jun-09 20:10:22

Oh, right there with you hun. It stinks, and the only thing that has helped me feel better about it is to find other mums in my position.

dizietsma Sun 14-Jun-09 20:42:10

When I was preggers with DD, DH and I had 350 pounds a month after rent, but before bills to live off. I remember wistfully looking at baby stuff I couldn't afford, maternity clothes I couldn't get, furnishings we needed but couldn't get. I basically had to turn off my nesting instinct, cos there wasn't any bloody point in it!

Since DD was born, I went to post-natal groups with people who had been cashing in stocks to extend their maternity leave, and we were lucky to have 50 quid in the bank. It is like living in a different world, and can really get you down if you let it.

So I went to lots of M+T groups and forced myself to be friendly to everyone in the hopes that I would eventually find someone who could empathise with our situation who I click with. It took 2.5 years, but I found them! I urge you to do the same. That's not to say that you shouldn't be pals with people who are richer than you, but it can be tiresome to have to keep explaining that you can't chuck money about on expensive trips out all the time. If you have variety in your social groups then you can at least spend your poorer days with people who get it.

Another thing that helped me is to focus on what I DO have. DH and I are very much in love, we've been through hell and back due to our poverty, but are still standing strong and know our relationship has been tested through the worst of times. It can only go up from here! We have a happy, healthy DD. You can be a millionaire and not have that. It's trite, but oh so true, money cannot buy the most important things in life.

cheekymonk Sun 14-Jun-09 21:06:31

Thank you all. I wasnt sure if people were going to be sympathetic. Your post brought tears to my eyes dizietsma.

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