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Splitting up - how much do you need to live on?

(39 Posts)
Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:03:42

In some ways, it's more of a IABU than anything else but it's a too scary place for me to go atm.

I am on the verge of splitting up with H and currently looking at how I could support myself and the dcs wo him.
So, I went to CAB this week to check what I would be entitled to re working tax credit, child tac crdit etc... Based on their calculation + my current income + H maintenance, I would be getting about £400 a week, so £1600 a month (if all goes to plan).

Now in my book, this would be enough for all 3 of us to live on, pay the morgage etc...
The CAB advisor told me there is no way i could afford to pay the morgage on the house with that. That this was very little to live on and I would really struggle.

Could you tell me whether I am totally deluded or is she? That sort of disposible income sounds OK to me but she suddenly fricked me out completely and I am having second thought on whether splitting up just now is such a good idea after all.

keynesian Wed 06-Jul-11 11:06:30

Can't you do a fairly precise budget to see how the income and expenditure balance?

Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:08:54

Well we have been living with about £2000 a month for year, all 4 of us. That's why I can't see why £1600 is so little.

But then my self confidence is so rock bottom these days that I don't trsut my own self judgement anymore.

susiedaisy Wed 06-Jul-11 11:10:53

thats about the same as what i get and it is just enough to live on, (dont ask me what i will do when car/ central heating needs replacing) but on a day to day basis it is enough, but my mortgage is just under £500 a month which in todays terms is fairly low apparently! why did the CAB person tell you it wont be enough?? if its because your mortgage is huge, then you may need to think about downsizing to a cheaper house, also you could apply for spouse maintenance from your ex.

Reality Wed 06-Jul-11 11:13:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:16:20

Morgage is low (less than £400 a month atm).
I do get what yu mean re changing the car. But then it is an issue atm too!

As to why the CAB person said that, I have no idea (Perhaps because she is used to see much higher amount when you also get housing benefit??)

cherryburton Wed 06-Jul-11 11:18:22

Unless your mortgage is massive that sounds like loads to live on? Don't know where you live or what your outgoings are but we're a family of four and live on much less.

Sorry you're going through this, and that the CAB person didn't help - sounds like you need someone to help you find a way out, not tell you you can't leave...

SingOut Wed 06-Jul-11 11:18:39

Budgeting isn't about trusting your own or someone elses judgement or crossing your fingers - it's about facts and figures. One persons rich is another's poor. You need to do a budget and think of everything including unforeseen, one off expenses, holidays, medicine, new paint or furniture, anything that might not normally crop up when you're trying to work out what you normally spend money on.
I'm living on less than that, I get HB but my rent is so high I have to top up by over a hundred quid a month, plus I have loan repayments I had to take out to leave my ex in the first place (deposit, etc). So I'm not starving to death, but I can't afford to paint my living room although the paint is flaking off the lime plaster on one wall. Breathable paint is expensive, it turns out, and I just didn't budget for it when I moved in here. It's all relative, innit? Perhaps CAB lady has a very high standard of living?

You need to do a highly detailed budget. smile

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Jul-11 11:19:09

How much is your mortgage?
How much are essential bills such as utilities, council tax, tv licence?
How much are the non essential bills such as sky tv, pet insurance, contact lens direct debits, etc.
How much do you spend a week on food?
How much do you spend a week on petrol?
Anything else such as swimming lessons, kids pocket money, etc.

You then need to make sure you have some left over for clothes, shoes, hairdresser, put some aside each month so you can pay car tax, mot, car repairs, replace washing machines as needed, etc.

vickibee Wed 06-Jul-11 11:21:42

perhaps in the current climate you should not be reliant on tax credits, when the universal credir comes in there may be significant changes. People have had there TC's reduced drastically recently.

TimeWasting Wed 06-Jul-11 11:24:37

You need to have a proper budget. go through bank statements etc. and see what you actually spend.

Do you have any debt?

susiedaisy Wed 06-Jul-11 11:27:01

personally found CAB to be waste of time, i got on alot better at the local council onestop shop, where you can go in and ask for advice on bills, etc, also used Turn2us a charity based website that explained what tax credits in may be able to claim, but then i went through the bank statements with a fine toothcomb and cancelled, haggled and shoppped around until i found things for less, ie house insurance, car insurance, food shopping, internet, i have been a single parent for 8 months now and i am still sorting out paperwork, so my advice to you would be to pace yourself and do a bit everyday,

Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:33:24

Oh I fully agree with not being reliant on TC. I am self employed and I know my income will go up but atm it's too low for me to live on tht only.

There are no debts (H can be in par with stingy yorkshiremen).
I know how much we are spending atm (I do the budgetting) but it can be difficult to evaluate how much we will spend just the 3 of us (eg food bill is £60~70 atm, can I budget only £50 for 3 of us?).
Petrol is easier to evaluate.
Council tax will be reduced (25%)
I assume all other utility bills will be the same (electricity, gaz and tel). No mobile phone in the house.
Is there somethingelse that will automatically be reduced by being 3 instead of 4 in the house?

HauntedLittleLunatic Wed 06-Jul-11 11:35:53

I live on - including all child benefit, tax credits and maintenance (zero!) About £1500-1700 per month. I also have mortgage under £400. I have 3 children and haven't really cut back at all...I really could shave a lot off that.

Make a list of all your regular outgoings - direct debit type stuff, assume your utility bills be remain the same (in reality they should go down, bit then with increasing prices they probably won't)...see what it comes to and ask yourself could you live on the remainder (food petrol etc.).

Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:36:45

Well to be fair, she seems to have been quite lost with my case. Being self employed, figures on how much I am earning will change on a monthly basis and the best she could do re what to say to the tax office etc... was to ring them.
Which also did not make me that confident about the numbers she gave me (but that's a whole different discussion).

SingOut Wed 06-Jul-11 11:39:10

So, basically your accommodation and situation will remain unchanged, but you'll just have a £400 drop in income?

You need to sit down and see where you can lose that £400.
Food bills are tricky because sometimes the more people you're buying for, the cheaper each portion gets. I waste a lot more food now there's me and DS rather than a 2 parent family & DS.
People might say 'yeahhh, you can live on £50 a week for food' but if you have a look at your shopping lists (start keeping them) try going down them and see where you could save. Could you go down a brand or two, and buy cheaper makes of certain foods? How much could you save in total? Don't guess it, actually do the figures. Food prices are really rising and I've felt the pinch more and more in the last year that I've been a single parent.

Do you have any luxuries that you'd all be okay with dropping to save money?

HauntedLittleLunatic Wed 06-Jul-11 11:41:17

Ok - you sound pretty much on top of the budgeting.

Can't think of anything else that has gone down for me. My shopping hasn't actually gone down as much as I expected - even with free school meals so no packed lunches. But I am finding that I am buying more ready meal type junk than I used to because its easier - although that's settling down now. Have been on my own 3 months.

My credit card bill - which covers absolutely everything I spend on the high street (i.e. shopping, fuel, clothes, entertainment etc.) has gone down by about 20%. If I try hard in a month I can get it down by about 40%.

susiedaisy Wed 06-Jul-11 11:45:57

Mmm, food bill under £50 a week IMO will be tough, food isnt always the prob its the washing powder, toiletries, tea coffee, packed lunches etc there are 3 of us and i struggle to keep it under £75 to be honest and i shop around and stock up whenever things are on offer, so much so its a bit of a standing joke in our family, but it does depend on the age of your kids,

susiedaisy Wed 06-Jul-11 11:48:31

apart from council tax there isnt any other reductions that i found out about, (but i could be wrong) i asked around, tv licence, water, sewerage, help with school uniform costs, etc there was no help for any of it unless you were on full benefits then things were different,

ivykaty44 Wed 06-Jul-11 11:56:49

If you look at the worst case and your mortgage was to double - to £800 per month that would leave you with £866 per month to live on - food, clothes, gas, electric, water, council tax etc

get rid of phone line and get rid of tv and use iplayer, turn the heating down and take in a lodger - you will be fine even in the worst case if you want to survive

Saffysmum Wed 06-Jul-11 12:15:29

Have you budgeted in your child maintenance too? I assume you get that.

Like others have said, write down absolutely all you spend, and include stuff for yourself too.

Go on website and use their calculator. Also if you phone tax credits and give them your income details, they can tell you over the phone exactly what you will get from them. I was pleasantly surprised (although it means that I'm no longer entitled to legal aid for divorce - so most of what I get from them goes straight to sol. each month grrrrr!)

Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 14:17:51

OK, I have started to look at budgeting. And I feel I am missing things that are quite important but can't see which ones. Perhaps you could help me on that one?

So far I have included in my budget:
- Food
- Morgage
- Water
- Gaz & Elect
- Council tax
- Car insurrance
- Petrol
- Tel & internet
- Children activities
- Childcare
All that should take me to about £1400 so there would be £200-300 left for 'others' aka clothes for the dcs, shoes, putting money aside for car repairs, birthdays etc...

Did I miss anything big in there?

TimeWasting Wed 06-Jul-11 14:24:43

Home insurance as well.

It's a good idea to work out what you need for each of those smaller categories as £200 can disapear very quickly when you need a haircut, a prescription, new school shoes and Christmas all come at once.

Saffysmum Wed 06-Jul-11 14:39:32

Wine - you've missed wine!!

Seriously, budget in your own expenses, clothes, toiletries, phone top ups.

You may be entitled to free prescriptions, eye tests etc. If you are the tax credit people sort this, and you get a little card through the post, and it covers kids as well, and dental care. So free dental appts.

Talk to tax credit people like I suggested, they'll have more idea than CAB.

And you need to budget in a small amount you can save for emergencies - plumbers, that sort of thing.

Octopus3 Wed 06-Jul-11 20:10:21

Yes I forgot the house insurrance! And the wine lol (even though since having the dcs, I don't seem to be able to cope with any sort of alcohol. A glass of wine is enough to make me feel dizzy!)

Thank you all. I (again lol!) started to think that I wasn't relistic/not looking at the problems correctly. But no I know I am about where I thought I was.

Up and forward. That's the way to go smile

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