Victoria B on 30 January 2021

£146.09 I got paid yesterday. I received £1207. Paid rent first, naturally. Then heating, electric and added £200 to my Iceland card for the month. Paid five above the monthly requirements for creditors/repayments (I find by paying the extra five each month it makes them more likely to give me a month off in case if emergencies in future). Then paid all the normal things, Amazon prime and prime kids (useful for home schooling and entertainment and get discounts for pet food), internet, phone, Disney+ (a luxury I know but nice for kids to have easy access to the feel good movies and the educational documentaries, plus by keeping them on top of pop culture it'll make them feel less like outsiders in future when they'll be back in groups with their peers, what kid wants to be in a social group and asked "did you see xyz?" And have to reply with "no my mum can't afford that"). Some months I'll get Netflix also, but not this month. Then once everything was paid off I did a little shopping. Wilko has a pay weekly option, and a slow cooker on sale (ours broke just after Xmas) so got the slow cooker for £12 (3.5lt that's a bargain, same item is £19.99 in the sale on studio) plus the needed cleaning items, such as sprays, wipes, soaps, shampoos, etc. Vitamins and paracetamol. £30 shop is about £5 per week over six weeks, so use the child benefit weekly for that. Child benefit weekly also covers our milkman deliveries. Growing kids need milk. And I treated us to a takeaway. Last night kiddies went to bed very contented. This morning I placed an Iceland order for £100 worth of food, used £50 from the Iceland card and £50 from my bank account. Then I ordered a couple items my daughter asked for her birthday. She wants a sewing kit and some fabric, so I found a cheap sewing kit on Amazon (free delivery cos I pay for prime) and a bag of fabric scraps for her to practice on, then some cheap fabric spare sheets. I've also got a bag of fabric a neighbour gave me which I will iron out to make it look newer and add to the cardboard box I'm gonna paint to look less cardboardy. Nice cheap way to give her what she asked for. And little lady has also shot up again, turning her leggings slowly morphing into crops, her tops showing her tummy more, her dresses will likely be tops by summer (this lass is gonna tower over me when she's a teen haha). A neighbour gave us some of her son's 10-11 clothes, which kinda work a little with a belt but she finds them uncomfortable and would rather wear her too small clothes than the too big ones. Luckily I got her some next size up clothes for Xmas (knowing she'd likely have a spurt in the new year as kids seem prone too). So I'm trying to decide when I'll need to get more clothes or shoes. Nice thing about lockdown is that I have more time to save up for shoes or clothes before we need to be seen out n about again hehe. No big deal to wear ill fitting clothes within the home. Little man has also had a smaller spurt, but he likes his sister's hand me downs (he likes pink and doesn't care about boy/girl clothes differences, he'll wear whatever takes his fancy each day, which saves me money) so other than his shoes (he'll only wear wellies or crocs, it's a sensory thing) I don't need to worry too much about his clothes.

After all that, £146.09 is what's left. Til the end of Feb. That's meant to cover any emergencies we have, any possible trips out, preparing for little ladies birthday in four weeks, food needs, etc. I budget very well, my bills are always paid on time, often with a little extra paid whenever I can. I'm a responsible shopper, savvy and search around and use discounts and vouchers and whatever else I can. It riles that as careful as I am we're left with so little after bills to see us through. It's scary. Not able to relax, always worried about things breaking or surprise bills or last minute emergencies. It's stressful.

But what really pisses me off is how much less others get. Would MPs want £1200 per month as their wage? I know people getting less the £900 per month. Our local community centre has started a weekly little shop (5 toiletry items for £1, bag of mixed veggies £1, two boxes cereal £1 etc. That kind thing) which I won't go to, not cos I wouldn't find it helpful but cos others need it more and once they run out for that week then they've run out. We still get a bag of activities each week from the youth club at the community centre that my kiddies would normally go to. Last week that included ingredients for tuna pasta and cupcakes, plus sheets of colour pages and some pens and some Egyptian style colour in headdresses. Which was fun for kiddies and saves me from needing to buy extra craft items. At least after paying bills and doing a food shop I have enough money left to know I can do another food shop in a week or two. I'm pretty lucky when it comes to benefits, lucky in that my debts are low (compared to people I know at least, to me they're still high cos I've always tried to avoid debt in the past, heck I even opted to not go uni cos I was scared of the debt and I got a offer for an excellent uni. Debt wasn't something I needed to worry too much about about until Universal Credit), lucky that I found different websites that have payment options or regular deals. I just hate that feeling of having next too nothing left each month, the £146.09 will go on food for the rest of the month. Maybe some sweets for kiddies as a treat. It won't last long. I'm trying to save £50 of it. Trying to save £50 each month so I can get us a trip somewhere special in the summer. For less then £400 we can get a package deal to visit a theme park (2days 1night type), coach and hotel and breakfast included. The deposit for each person is £50 (so £150 for me and two kids) then pay off tickets in full by two weeks before trip. So tight but manageable. So long as I can save up for the deposit before tickets run out. So long as no emergencies stopper the plans. We all need something to look forward too. Until then we have Google maps for some travel escapism.

Contributors featured in
More media logos