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Anxiety is starting to spiral. Best budgeting advice please?

102 replies

Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 20:59

Hi

I really dont want to make a big deal out of it as an awful lot of us will now be feeling the same way. However my anxieties over financial worries is starting to cripple me. I'm scared, I'm upset alot and I'm losing sleep worrying how I'm meant to manage.

I am single parent working 30 hours a week around my 7 Yr old DS. I have tried working full time but im actually on near the same income now as I was working more hours (as had to pay for childcare and lost tax credits). My net income a month is just under 1100. I then get topped up by tax credits. I also receive CB and maintenance, however despite it being via a DoE maintenance is intermittent so its hard to count that as guaranteed, and the CMS have been very unhelpful and never seem to be on my side.

My outgoings have already been stripped back. Sim only phone, no TV contracts, cheap broadband of 20 a month, 12 plate car paid off. Remortgaged to a better deal. Energy is crippling me. Cheapest deal was a 48 percent increase which come as a shock as I have never ever used more that my monthly DD and have always been in credit. Now the usage is being used up by my monthly payment and I am now scared to put the heating on over the winter! (Not extra units being used than normal). I cant see how I can drop any other outgoings as they are your main ones they everyone will need. I get the single occupancy discount on my CT too. I also repay the exs debt still that he ran up in my name. This has been shifted to 0 percent over 27 months which has given me abit of breathing space.

I've lived in my home 10 years. I am mortgaged. I should be able to live fine. It's making me feel like a really crappy mom. My Ds clubs have all been stopped. We don't have days out. Even though I work I am poor! And I am regularly mocked for not having a life. I cant bloody afford one!

I have had a benefit check and already receive everything I am entitled to. A move to UC doesn't work out well for me and is a big decrease on tax credits.

I hate all this worrying.

I'm looking for better paid work. Ideally with some work from home involved so I can work around my Ds as much as I can. Family are unable to help and he has no contact with his Dad. I feel a better paid job now is my only real option. I'm good at what I do but it will never pay more than I am currently on. I also want more from my career.

Does anyone have any good budgeting tips please? For example I was thinking once DDs are all paid maybe I could withdraw cash and use cash envelopes per week so be more mindful when I food shop. I am pretty good really and ive managed to cut the bill down well but its easy to scan my debit card isn't it.

Sorry for rambling. I just think today has been a hard day. Though my DS dad is absent by his choice he seems to have landed on his feet. Lots of travel, nights out, flying lessons and recently enrolled as a mature student at Uni. When I was told this I stupidly checked on the fees and was saddened to see the course PT was more than double what he is ordered to pay my son per year. And on a FT basis the yearly course cost is the equivalent of over 5 years worth of maintenance for my son. It just seems so unfair that we are struggling and he has been able to self improve. He left me with somewhere around £30k debt 6 years ago which I am still paying off but he has been able to better himself and his career potential. This is now the second uni degree in 7 years! But strangely remains in the same low paid job he has been in since his teens!

Sorry to rant.

Thanks for your time x

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pennysays · 10/10/2021 21:03

Didn’t want to read and run. You sound on it op and that’s great. Have you thought about a budgeting app? I use an app called neon that tracks my spending. Might be easier than cash these days. Some great apps out there.

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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 21:05

Are budgeting apps free?

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TillyDevon · 10/10/2021 21:09

Is your food bill something you can reduce? We often buy reduced food eg bread and freeze it eg can toast bread straight from the freezer. I also like budget recipes from a Girl Called Jack. I believe there’s an app to reduce food waste too but don’t remember its name, where shops list food which have reached their sell by or about to and sell cheap. I saw it mentioned here somewhere

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TillyDevon · 10/10/2021 21:11

I share your worry about heating. We have heated blankets that cost pennies to run which can help at night but are expensive to buy!

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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 21:14

Yes I already by cheap and freeze. I batch cook as well and bulk out with veggies.

Do you mean too good to go? I'm on there but haven't had success yet. I also had a friend who worked at one of the stores and she said the bags they offer really should be thrown away

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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 21:15

I never thought of a heated blanket. Are they cheap to run then?

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FusionChefGeoff · 10/10/2021 21:17

It sounds like you've done everything you can on the Money Out side so how about your options for improving the Money In side? What sort of work do you do / have experience in and what ideas have you thought about to try to bring more in? Maybe someone in a similar area / role might have some ideas.

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catsandhens · 10/10/2021 21:19

to good to go is the app - we have had a whole weeks worth of shopping from morrisons (i think) for £3.50 - its technically on its sell by date but we've normally had enough of a range of dates for some good meals across the week

do you have an incredible edible or community allotment near you? our nearest one encourages people to come and get veg if they need it, which could help bulk out your meals

also frozen veg from asda is dead cheap and nutritious if you have the freezer room

(sorry most of my tips are food related which might not be your biggest worry and not really budgeting related)

also what job do you do? someone here might know of a good career that can lead to with minimal retraining that could get you a higher salary sooner rather than later?

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Gardenlass · 10/10/2021 21:21

It's not budgeting, but this site has ideas for making a bit of extra cash.

mumsmoney.com/uk/make-extra-money-uk/

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Elephantsparade · 10/10/2021 21:22

I think slow cookers are much cheaper to run than an oven and are often in charity shops round here.

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Caterw1nnerp1llar · 10/10/2021 21:22

I've had some food from some of the "reduce food waste apps" from Too Good to go.
The food included; bread, fruit, milk, pasties & vegetables.
One even included some cut flowers, it was amazing !!! Really made me smile & such a lovely surprise

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Kitkat151 · 10/10/2021 21:23

You sound like you are doing all you can....but I get how hard it is with electric/gas/petrol/food price hikes.....you definately aren’t a crappy mum .....I think most people are starting to feel the pinch....can you cut back on Christmas/birthdays ( not presents for your son obviously ....but for others) ....what about your food bill....maybe batch cooking? .... could you ask family members for ‘experience’ presents for your son ....eg days out.... or for fees for an activity he likes....instead of presents?

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TillyDevon · 10/10/2021 21:29

Yes the Dreamland Intelliheat blankets cost literally pennies to run and make a big difference. You can find them on eBay or gumtree as unwanted presents if lucky but I did have one break so was grateful for a Lakeland 3 year guarantee. Argos have them too with a 2 year guarantee I think

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TillyDevon · 10/10/2021 21:30

OP you sound like doing admirably on all fronts already I must say, and even managing batch cooking. I think you should be a lot proud of yourself too, it’s hard at the moment

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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 21:32

I already do. I only buy for my son. My family are happy with this and understand.

Thank you for all your advice I really do appreciate it.

I'm from a business development background in the corporate world but for the last 6 years have worked in a completely different sector and job in customer support/sales support. I dont really want to say what I actually do as its abit different so may be outing. I'm trying to get back to the corporate world where I did earn well but that was 10 years ago but am scared if I'll be good enough

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TillyDevon · 10/10/2021 21:32

I also use Freecycle often for things I need as well as when have things to give away - you can request things eg You could see if there are any outgrown children’s clothes . I like the concept of reusing but I know it’s not one for everyone.

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LastStarfighter · 10/10/2021 21:34

A couple of thoughts -

  • to reduce the food bill, see if there is a food sharing network near you. This is not the same as a food bank. It’s an initiative to reduce food waste by providing food that would otherwise be wasted for free, but it depends on whether something has been set up where you live


  • take some good professional advice as to whether there is any way you could get rid of the debt that your ex saddled you with.


  • is there anything you could do to boost income, E.g. an eBay business. Get stuff from freecycle and resell? (Making sure you are clear to people that it’s what you will be doing - many won’t mind!)
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Elephantsparade · 10/10/2021 21:34

And thinking more microwaves use less electricty than an oven too.

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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 21:58

Again thank you for all your replies.

Yes you are right. It's not really budgeting as such it's more about how to save money on living. Living has become so expensive. To be honest though if it come to it I would live off beans on toast or something similar to keep costs right down.

Deep down I know I am sensible and am probably doing the majority of what I can to get us in a better position. But hearing of his Dads new university studies has hurt me to be honest. I will never forget him telling me he was going to enjoy watching me suffer and struggle. I feel every year I have been fighting that and now I am here and struggling more than ever.

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poppymaewrite · 10/10/2021 22:05

StepChange or Citizen’s Advice might help with the debt. Heard lots of good things about StepChange.

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3luckystars · 10/10/2021 22:09

How is he getting away with not paying his debt?? Can that be looked at again?

The Barefoot Investor is a brilliant book and well worth a read if you can get it from the library. Sounds like you are doing amazing. Well done.

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Artdecolover · 10/10/2021 22:20

@Needanewadventure2021

Again thank you for all your replies.

Yes you are right. It's not really budgeting as such it's more about how to save money on living. Living has become so expensive. To be honest though if it come to it I would live off beans on toast or something similar to keep costs right down.

Deep down I know I am sensible and am probably doing the majority of what I can to get us in a better position. But hearing of his Dads new university studies has hurt me to be honest. I will never forget him telling me he was going to enjoy watching me suffer and struggle. I feel every year I have been fighting that and now I am here and struggling more than ever.

Your son will be SO proud of you when he is old enough to understand op
You do sound like you are doing admirably tbh although I realise that doesn't help you
I second a heated throw. Love mine. Check ebay.
There are "emergency menus" if you Google (look for one by boffinmum) which cost very little but are really nutritious.
Reach out to your sons school - there is usually a pot for kids whose parents can't afford clubs etc
Could you do freelance work in the evenings? Virtual PA or similar?
Good luck x
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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 22:21

Thank you for all the kind words. Have brought a tear to my eye. It's nice to hear people think im doing well.

Unfortunately nothing can be done. I have all the evidence that the debts were his but it was all done in my name on credit cards and catalogues and a loan. I very naively never thought he would disappear, afterall we share a child! I took everything to a solicitor in 2015 and she said it clearly proves that the debts his but in the eyes of the law it's all in my name. And then she told me to think about it, we could take him to court and it will be costly. The evidence is clear to see it's his debt. But even if I won there is no guarantee it will be paid. She could also tell simply by all his emails and texts the kind of person he is and suggested I think if I really want him to continue controlling me. I chose to not pursue it and be free of him and have been paying and shifting the debt around every few years ever since

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Needanewadventure2021 · 10/10/2021 22:23

How do I find these evening wfh jobs?

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NCsobroke · 10/10/2021 22:28

I feel your pain, seriously. I posted on here a few days ago a thread ‘what do you eat when you are broke.’ So many great tips on there and cheap eats.

Something I really think is going to help us is finding out local ‘social supermarket’ or ‘community it’s fridge’. Have a google of what’s local. £3 a week gets a box of fresh fruit and veg plus 10 items of choosing at our local one.

I wish you all the best, it’s so bloody hard isn’t it Flowers

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