Saturday, 3 May 2014
Life never stays the same! Our story straight from the heart x
I've been reading round blog land about the recent living below the line fund raising event and the tremendous efforts of the people participating to raise money. Sue I'm think of you and your peanut butter!
The challenge was to eat and drink on £1 a day for five days while people sponsored you.
There has been twice in my life where I've been this poor myself, once as a single parent on benefits and once as a married, working woman with four kids (ok the eldest has left home but we still have four kids)
When your young you think this is it for ever but you plod on as you feel you can take on the world. It seems such a distant memory now and if truth be told I can't remember how many times we had a jam sandwich for tea but I do remember taking the tad pole nets on the common and coming back hours later with tired kids and smelling to high heaven.
The second time I vowed never to be in that position again but it just takes one huge bolt to bring you down to rock bottom and it's not always expected.....
As I mention before DH has custody of his two boys and they live with us permanently after he was awarded custody. This cost £23 000 in solicitors and divorce fees.
The crunch came when the solicitors said they couldn't take small installments any longer and their fees had gone up as the estranged Grandparents had jumped onto the court case and as the solicitors were fighting two cases at the same time it doubled our legal bill over night!! The court awarded that DH would be responsible for half the travelling for the contact but the Mother had moved across the other side of the country so this cost £40 every fortnight and the child benefit should go to the estranged parent during the children's stay.
The other parent had legal aid and every time we received a letter it cost us £80!!!
We were drowning, no expensive cars, no holidays, absolutely nothing but we were drowning. We earn't too much for help but didn't have any money.
We had a self pity day full of every swear word you can think of...........the air was blue and then it was time to just get on with it.
We both worked, Hubby full time and me 20-30 hours a week and we were poor!! Hubby was in the RAF so he was not on minimum wage and neither was I........ the working poor there you have it.
The first step was to cancel the Solicitor who was also known as the blood sucking leech .......... we asked for a breakdown of their charges and found a few errors which took some off the bill but still left a hefty chunk. We then bartered with them for the chance to pay off in larger installments but they were determined to stick us on a finance plan. We stuck to our guns and said we couldn't afford anymore finance and we offered them £500 a month to pay off the bill.
This left us with £50 a week for five of us to live on..............EEEEEKKKKKK
Hubby was ok as if he got sick it was covered by the RAF but if I got sick a prescription charge could wipe us out. Of course as fate would have it a few things popped up during this time.
The stress of working full time and taking on a double court case was never ending. Letters would always land on the mat on a Friday when you could do nothing about them and it ruined your weekend but we managed to hold Birthday parties for £10 including cake and a full buffet but we had to go without other things to save up the £10.
Everything regarding money made me panic, if we had to use the car ........... how would we pay the MOT? Our biggest saving grace at this time was that the supermarkets would take coupons even if you didn't buy the product, oh this was such a life saver I can't tell you. It brought our grocery's down to just over £10 a week as this was the minimum they would accept in cash and the rest could be in vouchers.
If you got a £2 coupon it was like a winning lottery ticket. We had "interesting" meals and just managed.
We Ebayed when we could and traded in favours for favours, hence the name Paidinchickens
We got through it .......... we're still here to live the tale. The main things I remember through these times is getting the Monopoly money out and showing the kids what we had to live on each week and what things cost and coupons, lots and lots of coupons! Wrapping up in blankets and walking round the house with candles looking for draughts, the neighbours thought we were raving lunatics!
Things are easier now but we are careful, very careful and if your sitting there thinking life is shit I just can't do this, you can....you can do this, pick yourself up and look at what you do have as it won't be like this forever I promise as life never stays the same.
If your sitting pretty and life is good to you just keep your eyes open and keep an eye on that family across the road who's Dad is going to work with the sole of his shoes dropping off. Tell them if they are ever stuck for anything you will gladly send over a loo roll, as we all know loo rolls can be the breaking point when your down on your luck.
It's so easy to be down on your luck through no fault of your own. I have sat and listened to people go on about benefits this, that and the other and sit as judge, jury and executioner on the "unworthy" well careful sonny because karma knows where everyone lives and it could be you next.