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No bread

Discussion in 'Personal' started by JayDean1, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. I’ve searched bags, and purses and coat pockets, and delved behind all the cushions on the settee, and finally had to accept that I can’t afford both vegetables and bread this week. We have run out of money. I’m a full time teacher and a single parent. Both my youngest have needed new coats this month, and one needed new shoes. That aside, here are some of the expenses I have had this month, which I wouldn’t have had if I were on benefits. Rent. Council tax. Prescription charges. Opticians. Childcare. School meals. Transport to work. Union fees. Smart clothes. Tights. Board markers. Nor would I have had to pay the full amount for gas, children’s sports or transport aside from work. I have been following the arguments on the “opinion” forum about child poverty. My children are living in poverty, because I work. They would not live in poverty if I refused to work, but what sort of example would that be setting them?
    Fortunately we have flour and yeast in the cupboard, and the children like homemade bread. They think I am getting up early in the morning to make bread, simply as a half term treat.

  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I know it's unfair. Why work when you could get full support if you are on benefits? You are setting a great example working. Do you qualify for tax credits? Do you get maintenance? And yes - I do know some exes are awful at paying maintenance.
    And I do know it's possible to be on what is a decent wage and be in poverty. Especially if you have children and all the associated costs like heating, food and clothes.
  3. It's 'cause you are a single parent, presumably. If you are on a FT teacher salary and have income from the absent parent, you should not be in such difficulty, unless there is something you are not mentioning.
    Why exactly should anyone else be paying for the fact you have chosen this course or ended up in it?
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Lots of assumptions there. News for you - some exes don't pay maintenance. Childcare costs a lot of money. And don't think it won't happen to you because life has a funny way of dumping you in it when you least expect it. Situations you just don't expect can happen to anyone.
  5. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    if you are that desperate..and i am not doubting for a moment that what you say isnt the truth.can you find an agency to help you.such as those who give out free veg or handouts.Yes i realise its blow to the pride, but your health is as important as the childrens.....if you are ill you risk losing the children to care,Can you not clain free meals for the kids as this benifit is means assessed.
    I have, as a man, lived on single incomes for years as my wife didnt work while my kids grew up and i was a teacher and i was the only waged one..I had all the same bits as yourself to pay but survived,,,,,but the kids never went short...but we did have to economise in some areas.such as heating and making do with clothing, plus help from both parents occasionally to buy a coat of shoes( bloody hard to swollow pride and ask though)
    I hope you manage to sort it out.....but if say ,you have a local fuit wholesle market go there at end of day.......leave the kids though if you can.its incerdible what food they throw away and more thn enough to feed you if you chose wisely and adapt the diet.
    Friend of mine on benifits he survived by realising that his local icelad store threw all their sell by date stuff into a big hopper at the back of the store....and all packaged and useable.
    In the end we all have to seek a solution.....but you have to find yours.......there is even a teachers fund somewhere that helps teachers in distress......but i think that is more for retired teachers>
  6. gergil4

    gergil4 New commenter

    I'm a regular in my local co-op for their reduced food, and always browse through the charity shops for kids clothes, books and toys.
    Good luck and I think you're setting a great example to your children.
  7. No practical advice to give but just to say you are a great person to do as you are doing.
  8. Are there any schemes in your area that offer help with food for low income families?

    I'm a single parent and have been through similar times, they're far behind me now but I remember them well (and not very fondly). You're setting the best example and in the long run are doing the right thing.

    Kids love stuff like bread making, if you PM me your address i'd be more than happy to send you a recorded delivery package on Monday with some art stuff like acrylic paints and a sketch pad, my little girl has insane amounts that have hardly been touched and which have been sitting gathering dust for over a year if they'll help to entertain the troops.

    Good luck to you x
  9. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    I was listening to the Food Programme a few weeks ago where they tackled this very issue. There are food schemes springing up all over the place to help out, and it isn't just the homeless they cater for. They report an increasing number of "middle class" working families who can no longer make ends meet are turning up and being helped.
    I'd suggest to anyone who has a few bob to spare and would like to do some good with it, these food schemes are worth investing it in. Buy the food yourself if you think charities waste the money you donate. They won't refuse it. It doesn't get much publicity, but it does exist. More could be done if the awareness is there, and I don't mean just in the promotion of the food schemes, but an admission by more as the OP has done that they are skint and can't cope despite doing all the right things.
  10. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Oh, right.

    Next time I can't pay a bill, I'd be really grateful if you could tell me exactly how to persuade my dead husband to provide extra income.

    OK - my kids are now grown up, though 1 is unemployed at the moment, despite degree, and the other is disabled and can't actually work and DLA isn't actually enough to live on, you know. So I'm supporting 3 adults on one income. I had 3 of school age, primary and secondary, when he died, though. How inconsiderate was that?

    More practically for the OP, try Freegle for really good second hand/used stuff - especially a bread maker. They save a fortune and the bread is so much better than bought stuff. It does need a bit of planning, though. I usually put mine on before I go to bed so that there's fresh bread for breakfast. Makes wonderful pizza dough, too.

    Check out special offers from supermarkets online. The Co-op has been doing 3 for £10 on meat products for about a month and Asda does it all the time. That's most of a week's meals for about £30 with a bit of imagination and (again) planning.
  11. I can fully sympathsize with you now as a single mum . Have gone from living a comfortable life to worrying constantly about money .
  12. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    I know exactly what you mean about the expense of working and raising kids - there is always something which needs to be replaced and if you travel too that takes a big chunk out of your wage.
    However, I still think it is much better to be working than not have a job so try and focus on the positives of that. Being on benefits is not a good experience. I did it for 2 years and I would not want to go back to it.
    I was studying for a post grad course which took up most of my time but I still hated depending on benefits.
    At least you are in a career and going up a pay scale with the chance to get a decent pension and promotion if you go for it and you are not stuck with the prospect of working for a very low wage with no chance of earning more money.
    Just try to think of the positives - would you really want to be stuck at home with no job and living off even less than you are now and still needing to buy the same stuff for your kids.
    If you feel hard up on a teacher's salary (which is actually very good compared to other jobs out there) ,how do you think the single parents who have to do the same on very little once they have made up their rent deficit feel - even more stressed probably.
  13. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Jaydean1, you have my full sympathy.
    You are doing a terrific job, working full time and bringing up your children.And by working, you are the best role model for your children.
    Believe me, living on benefits is not an easy answer, and does not necessarily lift you out of poverty. I live on benfits myself and in the past have been in a similar situation to you (albeit without children).
    On a practical note - have you been onto Martin Lewis' Moneysavingexpert site? There are tools there to double-check that you are claimimg all the in-work benefits you are entitled to. There are general tips for coping. And there are forums to talk with others in the same situation.
    Wishing you all the best in this tough situation.

  14. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Good advice from Beth.
    I think most people are finding all their outgoing increasing very rapidly at the moment with fuel and energy bills rocketing as well as food prices. Most of us are working harder for less. I haven't had a pay increase for the last 3 years (4 years this year) as it has been frozen ,although I am at the top of the scale at my college.
  15. I grew up in a household like this- where my mum struggled on her own. Keep going your kids are worth it.

    Hearty homemade soups are a great thing to make and you often don't need bread with them- plus you can buy reduced veggies to go in them as it doesn't matter if they are starting to go a bit squidy.

    you shouldn't be buying board markers - that makes me cross.

    Primark is great for tights- i used to spend a bomb on tights but now i wear thick black ones all the time and they last forever! and are much cheaper than the flesh coloured ones. Worth a thought?

    in the winter we used to have to sleep downstairs in the lounge as we could only heat one room. mum always made it an adventure though and we thought it was great!

    charity shops are great. i still shop in them. also don't buy the kids books- go to the local library.

    stay strong
  16. I don't know if this is any good but it lists food banks in the UK


    If you click on 'find your nearest food bank' it will take you to a UK map.

  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You might qualify for free or reduced cost prescriptions (+ free dental/optical) even when working. You can get the application form from chemists' and enetr your income nad dependants etc.
    Get a refund form from NHS providers for any costs incurred once the form is signed and sent off as you will be able to claim back the expense, or part of it, if your application is successful.
    Find out about Salary Sacrifice for childcare costs (vouchers). It means that you don't pay tax on the portion of your pay used to pay for childcare. Where there are two working parents, the one paying 40% tax, if applicable, should apply for the scheme.
    If you have a spare room, consider taking in a lodger as you can earn up to £4250 per year, tax vree, under the Rent -a- Room Scheme. You don't need to declare the income to anyone but should notify your mortgage lender and insurance company.
    Don't buy board markers out of your income! School provides them or you manage without until they do! Ditto for pens, pensils, printer ink and paper and rewards for pupils.
    Cut coupons out of newspapers and magazines. I recently had 30p off a loaf of Allisons bread. The loaf was reduced to 49p and still had a day on the Use By date; it cost me 19p and half was put in the freezer.
    I can't believe that someone said that £30 on special offers almost covered the meat for 3 adults for a week! When I'm budgeting, I work on the basis of £1 per person per day tops. Mince is bulked out with kidney beans and other pulses/veg; sausages bring down the cost allowing for slightly more to be spent on other days; a chicken makes at least 6 main meals and the carcass is then boiled for stock for risotto or soup. Eggs make a nutritious and cheap meal. A spanish omelette makes a hot meal one day and the leftovers make lunch the next (in salad or sandwich).
    Charity shops near posh areas often have lovely clothing, toys and books. Miss jubilee works in London and checks out charity shops first when she needs clothes and she's earning more than an NQT in London.
    When my children were small, a group of mothers in my area circulated clothes and equipment for the children. We made a small donation to charity for each item and then put it up for grabs again when we'd finished with it.
    When with Social Services I ran a toy library and encouraged our clients not to spend so much on new toys that their children soon tired of. Many were deep in debt with the Pru because they regarded £200 per child at Xmas to be what you should spend in 1995!
  18. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Tescos accept Sainsbury money off vouchers.
    Farm foods have lots of cheap food including lots of basics. I have bought frozen veg from there and they also do 2 bags of potatoes for £1. They also do bread,milk,cheese,tins of soup,beans...etc
    Lidl is cheap for bread and milk and they have lots of fresh veg.
  19. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Years ago when we were really struggling, we missed out on the cash version of Family Income Supplement but qualified for 7 milk vouchers per week for our little boy's daily pint. The milkman accepted them in payment. I don't know if a similar scheme still exists.
    I also used to take advantage of special offers to build up a store cupboard/ space in the freezer for a week or so free of grocery shopping and spending every so often. I'd manage with the stored food for over a week when Mr jubilee was abroad on business (with all his expenses, including cigarettes, funded by his employer.
    I also liked the way his payroll worked. He was paid every 4 weeks, meaning 13 payments per year. We budgeted a month's expenditure based on the 4 week take-home pay and thus had 2 wages in one calendar month that catered for Xmas/birthdays or a short holiday.

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