How to get out of poverty trap
28 November 2019 at 11:09 pm #33485
I went back to work when my son was 2. We were made homeless by my ex when he was just 8 months, spent 9 months in a women’s refuge before we got a flat, I was unemployed as I had no job to go back to when my maternity ended so spent a year on income support before returning to work part time. The job centre advised me to work 16 hours a week so I would get the maximum in work benefits but every time the minimum wage has increased these have obviously reduced. I often have to put food and diesel on credit cards, get a loan and clear the credit cards but soon run them up again to the point that I am now in £23,000 of debt and about to sign up to an IVA to help clear them as I can no longer meet the minimum payments. The IVA advisor suggested I go back to working full time as my son is now 10. Trouble is finding a job that will pay well enough to exceed the amount I currently receive. After tax and deductions and the loss of in work benefits I fear I would be in a worse financial situation than I am now with the additional costs of after school and holiday clubs, extra diesel, wear and tear on the car and additional travel. It will be slightly easier when he goes up to senior school and gets a bus to and from school by himself but worry about leaving him full time during the school holidays. I just can’t see a way out of this trap, every time I work extra hours the HMRC inform the council and my housing benefit gets slashed to reclaim the overpayment. It’s currently reduced because of a mistake they made with my childcare costs over the summer holidays. Has anyone managed to get themselves out of this cycle? I feel like I am failing my son not being able to provide for him and do things his friends and their families manage to do.29 November 2019 at 12:31 am #33487
Mojo, you are absolutely not failing your son, quite the opposite.
I am not in the same situation as you but when I first split from ex, I was really struggling. Then I focussed on getting a job & house & school really close to each other, and finding another mum to partner with.
Everything being close cuts the need for wrap around care. It takes away commuting costs & stress. And sharing the load with another mum makes it easier too. Even now ds is at senior school, I still do morning run for another mum so I can work until 5 while she does the evening run.
Where are you based? Have you tried looking for a local Gingerbread group. Maybe someone to share?29 November 2019 at 6:25 am #33488
My debt is not as large as yours but what I did do was split it and got these credit cards with 0 percent transfer and have almost paid debt off.
Diesel cars are also expensive to run . I use just normal petrol and pay just £10 a week to get us around .my sister use diesel and it’s like £100 a week to get around .
The final straw which I know people have done is declared bankruptcy.
Take care x29 November 2019 at 9:31 am #33489
Kathymumofone is right, you are not failing your son, its the government that are failing you, me and many other people, the amount of people in ‘in work poverty’ are staggering.
I literally take any work I can get being self employed, some of it I hate, some of it so poorly paid it’s barely worth doing but I have no choice, I’m not in any major debt but I just manage to keep my head above water, I’m frightened to death to even have a couple of days off sick as money is that tight.
Sherima is also right by saying diesel cars are more expensive, my main trade is a mechanic and I despair when people tell me they’ve brought a diesel car, the only time a diesel car should be used are if your a rep travelling hundreds of miles a week, for doing shorter journeys you just can’t beat petrol. On top of that while diesel engines are fairly reliable when they do go wrong the costs can be astronomical. It might be worth you looking at swapping cars for a petrol one.
Mark29 November 2019 at 7:49 pm #33509
Are you currently working 16 hours or do you regularly exceed this. I’m in a similar situation and although I’m careful I’ve been managing fine. Regarding your Iva, make sure you have your expenditure right, the repayments have to be affordable.
Can you tell us what is being reduced and what the mistake was. If it was their mistake it hardly seems fair that you have to suffer.29 November 2019 at 7:52 pm #33511
Moneysavingexpert website set up by Martin Lewis has lots of tips on becoming debt free,living frugally, and making most of coupons etc. Many areas also redistribute food going out of date from the supermarkets.1 December 2019 at 3:24 pm #33527
Have a look at Martin Lewis pages that’s a good help
Sometimes the money hardly adds up its struggle to get by never mind christmas and birthday parties ect
Just think of every pound don’t let your debt get out of control