Reply To: Anyone out there actually surviving on Universal Credit private renting?
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If you’re not currently working, you have some geographic freedom- move to an area with lower rents.
Put all your essential outgoings in a spreadsheet- look at what you can easily live without e.g. Netflix is not a basic necessity! Put those things in a ‘not actually essential’ list, separately from food and heating, etc.. Make reasonable estimates for groceries and clothing, then try to spend less than that e.g. for one month. I found we could get by on spending less than normal, which is still really reassuring today.
Shop around really thoroughly for everything, like bank accounts, utility bills.
Do free stuff with your kid(s) in your community! Take packed lunches everywhere, eat at Foodcycle, do other community based things like borrowing and sharing items from your neighbours. Join a local trading scheme or go to a repair cafe. If you choose shared accomodation it is even easier, you can share the cost of appliances like a vacuum cleaner, toaster or a hairdryer. Having housemates can also be really nice socially, I’ve been pleasantly surprised how many childless people actually enjoy housesharing with a family. Of course it can lower utility bills quite a lot if they are shared.
Apply for Warm Home Discount, Help to Save, concession-rated swimming tickets, etc. There is actually a lot of help available.
Also find some paid work, however small. A few hours a month or a short-term contract is better than nothing.
Good luck- and always remember this is just one season of your life, it’s not forever.