That's it folks, I'm literally down to pennies. There is the grand sum of 27p in my purse. I'm almost giddy with excitement, trying to decide what to spend it on!
I shouldn't complain (I shouldn't, but I'm going to so if you want to back away now quietly, I'll understand, just close the door behind you please, it gets cold in here otherwise). There is food in my kitchen cupboards, not a lot but there are things I can work with, there might be some strange meals and odd combinations but I'll keep us both fed until pension day. I have gas and electric on my meters, and neither of them are on 'emergency'....yet. I have paid this week's water instalment on time and although the car got us home on fumes last night, we had managed to put just enough diesel in to enable us to run our errands (unless I count the car being serviced today, I had to call and cancel that as we just couldn't get there).
We have managed, with the meagre funds we get, to pay everything that needs to be paid and buy some fairly basic food. We have done those things, without wasting money on fripperies, or eating out, or buying newspapers or magazines. We haven't had a drink, or bought new clothes, or gone to the cinema. We haven't put money on the phone, or posted birthday cards, or even posted my Mum's Mother's Day present which I bought in the January sales for £1.49 and now can't afford to send. We haven't done these things and yet I still only have 27p left in my purse.
We have done what we needed to do to survive, not to live, and yet somehow from April we have to find an extra £70 a month.
Suggestions on a postcard please.
We knew we were getting stung with the 'bedroom tax' and had pretty much resigned ourselves to a difficult few months at least. We did talk about moving to a smaller property but discounted the idea for several reasons. We do actually use the 'spare' room. If hubby gets his business off the ground like he hopes he's going to need that space as his office/craft area. We have good neighbours. We can't face moving again, and well, this is our home. Life has been pretty grotty for the last few years but we've done our best to make this place a comfy, cosy retreat for us where we feel safe. when we moved here we didn't expect to have to move again, ever. Not to mention the fact that there are no where near enough one bed properties available to accommodate all those who wish to downsize.
After giving it a lot of thought, and it really was a lot of thought, we decided to stay put and find the extra money somehow. If we cut back just a little bit on everything, we thought we could just about manage it. It would mean scrimping with the food shop and using the car less, using the phone only in emergencies (although that's pretty much what we do anyway). With the summer coming and less going on the gas and electric meters we thought we could do it, or buy ourselves a little time at least.
But then WHAM! Thudding through the letter box came a council tax bill.
Now, I knew the government were introducing changes which meant local councils would now be in charge of the way council benefit tax was administered....but, and here's the thing... I checked with them back in November and was told not to worry, it probably wouldn't affect us, and if it did they would let us know in ample time. So why was it that the first I knew about us no longer being entitled to full council tax benefit was when the bill dropped through the letter box a few days ago?
The combined effect of the 'bedroom tax' and council tax will be devastating. I don't see how we can do it. I've gone over and over the figures and I simply can't find an extra £70 a month no matter what I do. So with a very heavy heart I have registered us on the list to move. It could be months and months before something comes of that though.
And I'm job hunting again. Despite the fact that there are many days when hubby isn't well enough to be left alone. What other choice do we have?