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Tough Times

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's been one thing after another lately and I haven't dealt with the stress well. I didn't track (on spark or in my brain) at all for over a week and quite frankly I just didn't care. I'm not using this blog to have a moan, just to clarify a few things in my head and work out a plan of action

Firstly Matt has been behaving pretty odd, we've ended up bickering a little, that has NEVER happened in the 5 years we've been together. I have mentioned before about his obsession (I'm not using this word lightly here) of running his own business and this has been causing problems. I want and need the security right now while Amelia is so young and I can't work. I don't mean this to sound disrespectful but some people are not meant to run a business and that means us. He is a very well respected engineer and has been rewarded several times by his company for it too!
Matt earns a reasonable wage and although it's not doing something he loves, that's one of the prices we have to pay to have Amelia. However a bigger problem has emerged for us which I fear will add to Matt's urge to run his own business. I was getting Maternity Allowance (government paid because I was made redundant when I was pregnant) that stopped a month ago so I had to sign on Jobseekers this month (I'm in the UK) Now I feel a complete fraud because I have no desire whatsoever to work, my work is taking care of Amelia. Don't get me wrong I understand completely why some people choose to work when they have children, it's just not for me and that was never in the plan. Jobseekers is roughly half what I was getting on Maternity so needless to say our bank balance has taken a bit of a hammering recently. If I do go ahead and get a job I would have to pay for childcare, which in the kind of jobs I am looking for cost very nearly as much as I would earn. So I wouldn't be any better off either, I'm stuck between a rock a hard place here.

Today I had an interview at the jobcentre where they told me that because my husband works he is expected to support me and they will only help me for 6 months. This means that in 6 months time we won't be able to pay for our needs. We don't have sky TV, we don't drink alcohol or smoke, we don't go out in the evenings. Our entertainment involves going for walks and anything we can do for free. This month I have been finding more ways to save money and we're still struggling. I have added some pink trim to a grey boys coat I was given for Amelia, I have set up the sewing machine to make bibs and scratch mitts. (Matt had to fix is because it would only sew backwards?!) Any little thing I can find that helps us to save money I have been doing it. I just can't see how we are going to manage without some help. I know I shouldn't expect financial help but I have worked since I was 16 and this is the only time I've needed help and i can't get it.

Anyway, now that is off my chest please don't think that I am looking for a free ride, I just want to take care of my family. I don't want luxuries or anything fancy. So my challenge is to make things work with what we've got, I really don't know if I can do it but I have to at least try. Even if I can't do it completely, it'll help at least.

Here's where I have achieved savings so far:
*Switched to value nappies - half the price and still no nappy rash
*Use the 400W halogen heater or burn free wood (waste pallets from Matts company- with permissions of course!) in the open fire instead of the central heating in the daytime.
*Wash hands in cold water as often as possible, our boiler is extremely inefficient and firing it up each time I wash my hands is juts too expensive
*Reduce grocery shopping budget from £100 per week to £60 - ALL our food choices are value options

Here's my plan to reduce our outgoings further:

*Keep tracking my food for the time being at least, while I track calories I can try to find nutritious foods that are low cost. Todays lunch cost 39p plus a dash of milk (that's less than a dollar)
*keep on keeping fit, if I don't look after me, how can I look after my family
*Start making Christmas gifts, crochet, cross stitch and baking. I'm also going to price up the ingredients for a Christmas cake for my parents - I've heard they can be expensive to make.
*Consider switching our gas/elec supplier our bills went from £65 per month to £165 after we've had Amelia because we want to make sure the house is warm for her
*Compare the cost of running two oil filled radiators to keep our bedroom and Amelia's room warm at night and use the central heating every few days
*create a budget and stick to it
*ask Matt to walk to work regardless of the weather (within reason!)
*Create additional crochet projects and find a way to sell them (this one's a maybe but worth a try)
*Use ALL leftovers, freeze ice cube sized portions for Amelia

Any more frugal living suggestions would be very welcome

One other thing which has been causing me some concern, my hair is still falling out after having Amelia, it has even started falling out on my legs too and TOM is missing for a few months, I'm definitely not pregnant so as much as I'm happy for TOM to stay away I think I'll make my way to the doctors for some blood tests, I can't get there til next week though, dentist tomorrow, and then back to the jobcentre Friday.

Hope everyone is having a good week and hopefully my next blog will be more positive :-)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Electricity is a shocker - leaving the TV on for 'company' can really add up. Also, turning off appliances at the wall helps reduce your expense. And lights of course - turn off those you don't need.
    I agree with the suggestion about 'green cleaning' - my surface spray is a squirt of dishwashing liquid & a spoon of washing soda dissolved in boiling water and allow to cool. There are lots of recipes on the net that revolve around bicarb soda, washing soda, vinegar etc. Cheap!
    Make meat go further in stews etc by adding lentils and vegetables (grated if necessary).
    Creating a budget is a great way to work out where you can cut cost - just sitting down you find yourself saying 'We spend HOW MUCH on that?"

    I kept losing my hair after I had both my kids - but by the time I stopped breastfeeding it had stopped & TOM came back. I assume you are passed that stage? It might be worth a chat to the doctor next time you go.

    Chin up - you can get through this.

    2048 days ago
    I don't have any suggestions, but i feel for you. Jason and I were in a really tough spot like that after our first child was born, and it took us a very long time to work our way out of it. Even now, 12 years later, I still haven't finished my degree and couldn't get a job that would pay for after school care for the kids. In my case, I never wanted to be a stay at home mom but I have no choice because my husband's skills were more marketable/profitable, and he would love to stay home but there's no way I could support us on any income I can make. I hope to go back to school next year and maybe one day all of that will change. But it's rough. You guys can make it through. I wish I could say it gets easier quickly, but it doesn't. It takes time. :/
    2048 days ago
    Don't buy even off brand surface cleaner--you can clean with baking soda and vinegar. Use this for floors and countertops.

    That's all I've got, unless you want to buy washable diapers? It looks like you're cutting everywhere you can.

    Matt's primary responsibility should be his family. I wouldn't stress too much--if he loves you and Amelia (which in sure he does), he'll realize that some dreams jut aren't meant to be.

    A friend of mine never finished his degree. He at the last minute switched to education, wanting to be a chemistry teacher, but then his girlfriend got pregnant. They married, he dropped out, she finished her degree as we worked at the university in IT. She works full time. He still thought that he could go back to be a teacher, but he had three years that he would have to cover. They later had a second child, and that's when he decided to start working on an IT online degree instead (since he had all this experience now), found a better, higher paying job, and devotes most of his time to his family.

    It's hard to give up dreams, but at some point, reality smacks you in the face and you realize what you must do. He'll figure it out, simply in time. Because starting his own business will never be more important than you and Amelia.

    2048 days ago
    guarenteed its your thyroid!! It's very common after pregnancy for your thyroid to be messed up. Classic symptoms are hair falling out, depression, fatigue, missing TOM. They can give you a supplement pill to help boost it back to its working self again. Definitely go to the dr tho...its not something to take lightly and can cause serious problems!
    2048 days ago
    Yes, definitely get to the doctor ASAP. Stress can also cause hair loss and TOM problems but it's important to rule out any other issues!

    I'm sorry I can't offer a lot of advice on your financial problems. It looks like you have some good ideas that I'm going to try to implement, too! I can't work for various reasons and my ex wasn't able to make his full support payment this month. Thankfully I have very generous parents who are able to help me out some!

    Best wishes! emoticon emoticon
    2048 days ago
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