"I want to cry. Or scream. Or something. I got paid today. £1200. £400 straight to rent. Then council tax, water, gas n electric, phone, internet. Another £300 ish gone. Then other bills, debts, another £200 n a bit gone. Added £200 to my Iceland card so that we have money exclusively for food so no hungry kids later in the month and I've less than £100 left for the month. That's meant to cover travel to job centre later in the month, additional food needs, surprise bills. My sofa broke last week, my wardrobe broke last month. I patched them up as best I could (I'll be honest I didn't think the sofa would last this long so I should be grateful, it was old when I got it). Got it three years ago, second hand, it was meant to be a meantime price of furniture, as so many items are when you're on low income and you just get what you can afford that will see you through. I've had my eye on a sofa in Argos for a couple years. My plan pre covid was to get a new sofa last year, a brand new one, and then new carpets this year as my council house was once an office and still has house officey wire carpets that aren't so great for kids. Now my aim is new sofa this year and new carpets next year. I could ask for a lone, to get a sofa, but I don't want more debt. I could try to get on credit but again, debt. Every option is either take a risk on secondhand, old or dirty furniture or end up in debt to buy new (this sofa I got second hand, from a charity, a week after we got it we found fleas in the house even though we had no pets or other furniture at the time, when I'd contacted the charity to complain about the sofa having giving us fleas they said it's probably because I'm a poor housekeeper and no proof their sofa caused it - but I've had many similar stories of second hand furniture in the past, and many stories of amazing second hand furniture finds also, it's a gamble. I don't want to take that risk again. So we're still using our broken sofa for now, I've taken to sitting more in the floor anyway, and we'll try to save up for another sofa. But if today is any indication I'll probably be using a broken sofa for a while, I've not enough money left over today to secure us for tomorrow let alone the month ahead. How I'm meant to save money like this is beyond me. On a plus side, a family friend surprised my kids a couple weeks ago and has gotten them tickets to a theme park later in the year, they're also gonna cover our travel costs. A birthday/Christmas gift of sorts. My kids are thrilled and I'm excited. I'm also nervous, it's a theme park not far from where my ex used to live, I know the odds of him happening to be there when we are is extremely slim (especially as he hates theme parks lol) but that fear is still there. Still, it gives the kids something to look forward too. On a sad, self pitying note. I've been hearing lots of stories of suicide and suicidal attempts in my local area. Even someone I know had a close call not long ago and I know many people on the edge of giving up. How this relates to me is that I've noticed, in recent months, my goals have changed. In the past when I'd struggle with hopelessness, I'd tell myself "it's okay, keep going, kids will be adults in a few years then I can worry less." But this last year I've found my time goals changing to smaller, shorter bitesized targets. "It's okay, I've got this. Let's just make it through Christmas, they'll be less to worry about in the new year." "It's okay, I've got this, let's see the winter few, the spring will bring new hope and opportunities." This morning, when I paid the bills and saw what was left in my account, I cried. Then I told myself "it's okay, I've got this. We've been through harder times. Let's just make it through the summer, give the kids some happy memories. I'm not giving up." I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, I'm not suicidal in any way, but I have alot more empathy for those I'm hearing about who are. I don't think many people really understand how debilitating stress can be, especially when stress is combined with lack of funds. Someone who's stressed but has money has options to cope with their stress. Most don't. It's all so very sad. But, I got this. My kids are loved and they know it. I won't let them go hungry and they've an excited trip to look forward too in a couple months. I've can find some joy and comfort in knowing they're loved."

Victoria B
May 28, 2021

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