Friday, 6 October 2017

Wean needs your help

Hi. I don't know everything there is to know about money saving, budgeting, and frugal living. The only way I know how to get out of debt is to not get into it in the first place, but if you do find yourself backed into a corner, then then my simple solution would be to cut back on all but the essential spending. Mortgage/rent has to be paid. Council tax has to be paid. Utilities need to be paid, but savings can be made there. Food has to be bought, again savings can be made. Transport to work needs to be taken into consideration, distance, cost, can a bicycle be used rather than a car. Medication needs to be paid for if needed, or can you claim for it if you are unemployed. Everything else can be cut back.

That's the way I see it. It's a balancing act. Household expenditure can be itemized, income can be logged. Money in and money out can be tracked and checked against each other. I suggest anyone in dire straights could check that they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to. 

Wean poses a question, perhaps you can help. Copied, edited, and pasted from her recent comment.

Don't you just love these videos that tell you how to manage your money, create a budget and get out of debt ?
How do you do that when you have more going out than coming in ? I'm not talking about cable TV, new or expensive car, holidays, hairdressers, nail extensions or even tattoos if that's what you like, I'm talking about after your rent is paid and a couple of other non-negotiable bills, there is literally nothing left ? how do you budget with that ? how do you save from that ? Don't say 'yellow stickers' I am the yellow sticker Queen of the Midlands, but the point is, you cant save what you haven't got, you can't cut back any more, there's just nothing left.
Work is not an option, in your mid 70's no one will employ you. Sell stuff on Ebay - that should be rephrased as 'put stuff on Ebay' there's no guarantee it will sell. It's becoming increasingly difficult to sell on Ebay. Etsy is the same.
So while these 'help yourself out of debt' videos can be helpful in some small way, I find the people that put them out extremely smug and would like their opinion on how to save from nothing, cut back on nothing, and get out of debt

I don't have all the answers, so maybe as a collective I could ask that you savvy people out there all chip in with your ideas. Of course we don't have any more background to Wean's story, so replies should be generalized to cover a situation where someone/anyone feels they are at the end of the road and can't do any more to change their situation. She is in the UK I should mention.

Thank you Wean for your questions, let's see what ideas our readers come up with.

Thanks for popping in, the weekend starts here, enjoy. I'm off to the council tip now because I have got some real rubbish I want to get rid of. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

126 comments:

  1. Hi hun, The first thing I would do is to check to see if I am claiming everything I am entitled to in benefits. This webpage has a calculator. You will need all your income, rent etc details before completing it(even if you are retired);-
    https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators
    If after paying bills that you have to pay (ie rent, c/tax etc) there is no money then it sounds like you will be able to claim something towards your rent, c/tax etc. After that, if I am not entitled to anything then I would book an appointment at my local Citizens Advice Bureau for help. I would also look at this website which sees if you are entitled to a grant from a charitable fund;-
    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Find-Benefits-Grants/Applying-for-Grants/Information-you-may-need-when-making-an-enquiry-ap
    And lastly as my hubbie was in the RAF I would be able to contact SSAFA a charity for ex and currently serving armed forces personnel and their spouses/partners. The website;-
    https://www.ssafa.org.uk/
    Hope this info helps anyone that may need it. Love your blog Ilona :)*hugs* Sue

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    1. Thank you, that's very helpful. xxx

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  2. I think the above post is very helpful, would def. check you are getting the full pension/ top up to make it a full pension. It is a sorry situation when an older person ends up like this, what a loathsome system we operate in this country.

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  3. In that situation my first port of call would be the Citizen's Advice Bureau. If I had debts which were draining all my money I would ask if they could arrange debt counselling for me. These days debt can sometimes be written off but the CAB would at least check if I am receiving all my entitlements to benefit. Years ago I took my mother-in-law to the CAB and the gentleman was marvellous to her. He examined the paperwork she had taken showing her rent, pension and council tax bill etc and helped her to complete a claim form for benefit. In a very short time she was allowed extra money to supplement her income and her council tax was reduced to nil. It helped enormously. Things may not be so simple these days but if you don't ask you certainly don't get. Have courage anyone who needs help and go for it x

    This is a very thought provoking post,Ilona, thank you. It shows how caring you are x

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  5. I would echo the comment about going to CAB. My husband volunteers there and these people are highly trained and do not judge. In most cases they can help. Please try.
    Jax

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  6. Don't be too proud to use a foodbank if there's one in your area. The one where I volunteer usually has a Citizens' Advice Bureau adviser in attendance to offer information and help where needed. We've also just started a Community Fridge where anyone, whatever their circumstances, can help themselves to bread and other items donated by a local supermarket - and where those with allotments can share surplus produce.

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  7. Guess there are little things wean can do. Surveys? Ok income not great but can bring in £15 to £20 a week. Light gardening/ cleaning for neighbours or slightly further away. Make up flyers so many people don,t have time but have pennies.
    Can wean move to a cheaper area?. Home base and BnQ actively advertise for more mature people with life skills. At 70 wean will have a pension, bus pass. Why not go along to every business cafe in area selling your worth?.
    My neighbour works in a cafe a few hours a day loves it connects her with community, they love her too!.

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    2. Perhaps the contact socially would be?.

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    3. Wean an elderly neighbour weeds my garden, £10 an hour . Sure cash in hand. Yes is black economy, but suits us both.

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    4. I used to do gardening and dog walking for friends, they gave me some perks. Helped me get by when times were lean.

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  8. I agree head off to the CAB first class service and advice and costs nothing.

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    2. I suggest you try again Wean, see a different person. How long ago was it since you last saw someone? Giving up at the first hurdle is admitting defeat. Fight for your rights.

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  9. I've been in that position so I know what she's talking about. I was lucky enough to be able to move back in with my parents and help with stuff around the house in lieu of rent. I'm wondering if there is any way she could have a roommate to help with the regular monthly costs? Or possibly finding a cheaper place to rent? I'm sorry I'm not much more help.

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    2. That was going to be my suggestion, too. Find a roommate.

      Wean, perhaps with a roommate you could find a different place to live with a better landlord.

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    3. I agree, the landlord seems to be the cause of some of Weans problems.

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  10. When I was in that situation I went to the c a b who helped me best wishes col

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  11. Get to the CAB as soon as possible. It is possible that you may qualify for a DRO, which will write off your debt. If not, they will help you figure out how to live more comfortably on your income. They have proper financial advisors and the service is free. Even if you think you have looked into every possibility, they may find something you aren’t aware of. They did with me and my life changed for the better almost overnight. I can not recommend the CAB highly enough, I don’t know anyone who has not been very pleased with their financial advice.

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    1. Ween has said she's already tried the CAB.

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  12. Hi Wean,Well i dont know if this telephone number is any good to you....Its ran and oragnised by Ester Ransen...not sure if thats right spelling,but im sure youll know who i mean.Its called Silverline...0800 4 70 80 90...Its free to ring from landline...im not sure about mobiles.....And its for older people who are having any sort of problem of any kind.Even if the person who answers the phone is not sure of your problems they will put you on with someone with more experience.They are really friendly,i know cause i have rang them.You can ring then 24 hours a day 7 days a week And like i said its free call.Google it if you want to first.It is all for older people,thats why its called Silverline!.At least it can be rang from the comfort of your home.Good Luck and let us know how you get on,cause its horrible being alone with all these problems.And you know now that Ilona and her gang...us frugal lot,lol...will offer whatever advice we can think of.Best Wishes Wean,Debi,xx

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    1. That's really nice of you Debi-I'm going to jot that number down x

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    2. Hi Flis,Hope the number will be of use to you.I think it covers any problems that people maybe having,even if you are just wanting someone to talk to.Problems that are big ones in the daytime..are massive ones at 3 oclock in the morning...Thats why if it all seems to much to cope with,there is someone on the end of the phone 24hours,7 days a week....Although,when i told my mam about it,i mentioned that the guy on the phone was lovely and friendly..she said..oh nobody could ever take your Dads place.She thought that it was a Dating line i was telling her about!!!.I do wish she would get an hearing aid!!,Debi,xx

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    3. For financial problems Silverline tell you to contact CAB. Ween has already tried them.

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    5. Thank you Debbi, that's useful.

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    6. Wean, don't make a note of it. RING IT NOW.

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  13. I personally would possibly become a doggy day care home .That would suit me just fine.There is one near me and 3 times I've spotted them escaping and had to take them back.It's on a busy road too.One owner,saw and said she'd never return.So I think I may go into completion if necessary x

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  14. My daughter went to C A B with debts They wrote to each one she owed money to stating she could only afford £1 a week.

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    1. I've read about that option on Money Saving Expert. Your debtors can't take what you don't have. Wean could set up a payment plan through Stepchange, a charity which will negotiate low payments for those who can't afford anything more.

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  15. It's uplifting to read the heartfelt advice & suggestions readers of your blog are offering Ilona. May they, yourself & Wean be blest & success attend such kindness.
    Metta.

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  16. Just another quick thought Wean...you say that you are mid 70s...do you still have any clothes left from the 60s,70s,80s?.Its just that a lot of people are into buying Vintage stuff these days...I know its not a long term solution and maybe only a bit of cash one week...I dont mean selling on these e bay things,i wouldnt have a clue how to do anything like that!..But Wilkinsons shops,have a free selling board in their stores so its just a thought.You just put your Ad in and your telephone number and see if you get any interest.There are lots of people these days who do Vintage fairs,so you might also get interest from them.Like i said,not a long term solution but any cash coming in one week would maybe help?,Debi,xx

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  17. I would call stepchange it's a debt charity and they will advise you. They are really helpful. Speak to shelter/cab. Have you tried to get discretionary housing payment's to help with how much you have to 'top up'. My parents where refused originally but then citizens advice helped them ask for it to be reconsidered and was awarded it.
    Food banks/a friend you can eat with?

    If you lived local to me I would help as much as I could. It makes me feel so sad that people struggle to feed themselve's. I really hope you get something sorted x

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  18. Oh,my mind is going round and round now trying to think of things...Hows about looking after people cats....feeding them,fussing them and genrally keeping an eye on them,in their own homes when people are on holiday.Obviously,it would have to be very local and again not a long term solution.But im sure people would be happy to pay for someone to go to their homes,maybe 3 times a day...thats why it would need to be local...but to have the knowledge of knowing that a fellow cat lover is looking after their fur babys?.Debi,xx..PS..Im sure that as soon as i press...Publish...i will get another brainwave,lol...Maybe lapdancing.....Lol,just trying to make you smile Wean!!xx

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  19. -- I like the idea of going to someone (CAB?) who can negotiate away debt. I have heard some of these folks are very skillful at putting up your case, and sometimes get it wiped.

    Here are some ideas I have read other folks have tried...
    ---Are you mobile? Do you like dogs? maybe dog walking small dogs?
    ---Are you mobile enough to hire out for "checking" homes while others are away?
    ---Do you have any sort of skill / hobby /Teaching English or other language you can charge for?
    ---Write poems for charge for folks for special occasions.
    ---Coul

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  20. Social housing? Get your name on a list for over 55s housing. Look at housing associations such as Johnnie Johnson. They don't always have waiting lists and are not the same as council run HA's. Rents are a lot cheaper and you don't need a bone or credit check.
    Don't know what is in your area re housing associations. Talk to Shelter. You can get outside space for your cats.

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  21. Sorry Ilona I forgot to send you my miles walked for last month. Not a very productive month so only 53 miles.

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  22. Housing associations with over 55 housing or one bedroom ground floor garden flats ? Rent is much cheaper and no bond required. Charities such as Johnnie Johnson Housing only have to give50% of their stock to local councils. The other50% they can rent to who they choose. Which ones operate in your region?
    Would it be worth considering bankruptcy?

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  23. Wean-I do hope you things improve for you very soon.I think a lot of us are of the same opinion-that The Citizens Advice Bureau would be a good place to start.Give it a go and ask for an appointment ,it's worth a try x

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  24. You don't tell anything about your family, sisters, brothers or children. Often they are willing to help. E.g. bringing a weekly shopping bag or take you out on a monthly basis for a simple treat. Ask your neighbours for help. Try to be friends with people and reach out. If you get stuck in a rut your problems grow bigger and will depress you even more. Greetings from Greetje from the Netherlands.

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  25. ok, so you can only keep a bit of what you declare earned?

    You NEED to find a way to earn some
    -cash/off the books
    -get yourself paid in food/goods

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  26. That's a sad and worrying situation for poor Wean. Difficult to comment constructively unless we know the ins and outs of her budget. Haven't read all the replies yet, but get the gist about checking for benefits - I know the wretched present and past governments have overseen DWP/benefits agencies who DO NOT INFORM people especially the elderly, of potential benefits - result, millions of £s going unclaimed, and left in the coffers of the govt. Only quick thought, Air BnB, if a pensioner she would be there to keep an eye on any "guests". Will now read all the other posts and keep scratching my head for Wean
    Elaine in Lorraine

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  27. Hiya
    1) try to renegotiate the debt payments to something more rational. Most firms will do this - otherwise they realise that they might not get any of it back ( if you do s bunk or, get so I'll with stress etc.
    2) £5 per week is £20 per month. Last year I fed myself on that much for various reasons. I hope it's ok to suggest this but go and look at Money saving expert.com and follow the threads in the Old Style board - the folk on there helped me through ( and Illona of course!)
    3) find free or cheap things to do in your area that will cheer you up and keep you positive ( library? U3A? Fetes? Christmas Fairs ( take own food and drink) helping out at homeless centre? Hoping out at a charity shop? The later two can make you count your blessings. Yes you have some a) your lovely pets b) access to the internet c) folk who offer advice if you just reach out d) friends? c) family?

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  28. Sorry can't get the darned thing to sayy name it's still put me up as unknown. ( my comment just finished while counting blessings!)
    5) do exchanges not earning for example: I house and dog sat re ently for a friend who is driving me to Bath for the Christmas Fair and paying for an overnight stay in Travelodge. My son's partner makes stuff for a l ocal shop and is rewarded by being g able to choose gifts for family birthdays etc as testers for the shop. Make cakes in exchange for something such as veg from a garden etc
    6) lastly dont dispear lots of us have been there - take a deep breath look at the suggestions and pick what might suit you

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  29. Ask your local church, a registered charity, or other organization if they can set up a "Crowd Funding" ( or whatever it's called ) account for you. I - and I assume many other readers - would gladly donate via the mail or PayPal to help folks in need once we're assured the recipient is legit. They would then post the address / website of where to send donations. Don't let despair take over - there are many good people on your side. R/Tim

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    1. Good Morning Wean!!,Ive not got anymore ideas...but just thought i would have a read back on here to see if there are any solutions to your situation.Its difficult,without knowing what help you have available in the area you live.I know in my local area,the libraries have small posters up of any free things going on..last week i saw afternoon dancing,with free tea n cake!Its a chance to get out n meet people.One place local does a dinner n desert for about £1.I know this doesnt help your situation moneywise,but by getting out and about,and you do sound like a very interesting person..Im sure you would meet others who could maybe help in some small way,even with just their friendship!.I know what its like not to have much.Our lifestyle is alot different to what it used to be years ago...holidays abroad,cruises...to now 2 nights at the seaside 3 times a year!..But to be honest i much prefer doing what we do now!!Anyway,i hope you have a lovely weekend and somewhere along the line you can find an answer to your money problems.Best wishes,Debi,xx

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  31. What a difficult situation! I echo go to a debt management charity/CAb as it is based on affordability and when I worked for them £1/month was sometimes the offer!Look for local foodbanks/church groups ( you dont have to be religious) as they often help with toiletries/clothes/support as well as food. Your local animal charity may help you with cat food if you are struggling to feed them especially if you offer to help them by volunteering. Age Concern are a great source of help specifically aimed at older people and problems they face. Local lunch clubs offer hot meals at reasonable prices ( saves buying the expensive food and using power to cook), community veg schemes often allow you to buy at reduced prices. When I was skint I went round the market on a Sat late and often bought fruit and veg for pennies, sometimes free if left by the stall holders. Money saving expert forum is often a good source of info/advice on how to live on very little. I echo the posters who suggest cash in hand, needs must! Dog sitting/walking,would be an option,general pet sitting inc rabbits/small furries or offering to feed them while people are away. House sitting for local people who are away would also mean you use their electricity and could nip back to feed your cats. I'm sure there will be lots of advice here that may beof use!

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    1. Wean,
      Personally, I would not jeopardize what you have.

      That is not to say, you (I) can not surreptitiously start a business.

      If it is the case of "something you can make yourself"...
      then make it at home. Get your self a second address / post box for mail/invoices/delivery etc.. (Perhaps you know someone who can let you use their address?)

      At this point it is ONLY a hobby. Seriously. There (to my mind) is no need to tell/blab to any landlord or anyone else. A person most certainly can do any (LEGAL) hobby.

      Have NOTHING mailed to/received at your current home/address. There are businesses which rent post boxes/ and many more options such as this.

      If perchance your HOBBY takes off, and you suddenly make scads of money, why then you can consider "moving on up"/"get a license"/a business premise, ETC.

      For now,enjoy your HOBBY.

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    2. You would get help for the first year on benefits. then if it doesn't work you will have abit income. when you have a job, you can then move to a property of your choice.
      Remember running your own business and all the stress and hard work.
      Mine took me to 17 hours aday. Lots to think about.

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  33. I don't know if it is still the case but when my brother found himself in a similar situation regarding rent (he had been made redundant in his early 60's and his age meant no one would give him a full time job). He got the forms for housing benefit and found he could have it paid directly to him - not the landlord - which he did and has been doing now for a few years. Fortunately his landlord has never asked - as long as the rent is paid he is happy to keep him as he is good tenant. Might be worth getting the form and see if you could do the same (it was just a tick box apparently when they asked paid to you or directly to the landlord).

    Have you tried Age Concern? I don't want to put a link in here but it is www dot ageuk dot org dot / money - matters

    They can also help with housing. You are entitled to help with independent living housing. In fact they have a range of help - I have never tried them though so can't say what and how good they are but everything is worth trying.

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  34. I have to go out now, dog walking on a voluntary basis, I take no money for this but I like the dog and the lady, and it gets me out. Back later to look at this again.

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  36. Ok...you have said be honest!!!..I would say no,no and no again!.Like you have said yourself..using the words...a gamble...no guarantee it would work..having to use credit card cause no savings.We lost thousands on a small business,through no fault of our own,had to close down.It was a few years back now..but it is a very hard world out there now trying to earn big money.Think very hard before you go ahead!!.Maybe others think its a great idea..we will see with the comments..and at the end of the day,it is up to you.But i have been there and got the very worn out T shirt!!,Well you did say be honest!!!,What ever you decide,Best wishes,Debi,xx

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    1. I thank you for your honesty and am sorry you suffered losses.

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  37. Wean mentioned needing insurance at craft fairs, I think at some fairs if the organised has insurance you would not need one, what about a stall at a car boot or in your garden also you could maybe raise plants and sell them next year. Some very good suggestions have been made and I do hope you can do something to help your situation. Hazel c uk

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    1. You are right Hazel, they don't all ask for insurance. Smaller village fete's, church fairs, and car boot sales are the way to go.

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  38. Where I live Wean,there is a lot of activities at the Methodist Church.I am not a religious person,I like to take a bit from each-I would describe myself as more spiritual.But there is always something I could help with .In the tea shop,or weekly luncheon-I think they have a free lunch if they help.I only help at Christmas for 2 days and once or twice during the year.It is really good.I could get more involved,and I may one day but at the moment my dogs take up a lot of my time.At another church in the village they occasionally have a meeting and chat to help people with money worries -but not sure if it's any good.When I used to have Reiki I paid £25 an hour about 4 year.The person used to go to peoples at their home x

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    1. I meant to say it was £25 -4 years ago.So they possibly charge more now.The advert had been placed in our village free paper x

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    2. I loved my Reiki work, but again comes the problem of insurance (and you do need it to operate legally) especially if you go to peoples homes, so with that, comes the perrenial problem of becoming a business set up - catch 22 all the time.

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    3. There are many churches nearby of course, but there is one just called 'Free Church', I know they have a lot of things going on, I did go there once, but the upshot is, they want you to have Bible lessons and then get baptised - don't think it's my thing, like you I am a spiritual person, and of course they frown on Reiki work and think the Tarot is from the Devil - so don't think I'd be welcome !

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    4. I'm sure mine wasn't insured-he was a postman ! don't laugh.I have seen adverts on walls in health food shops.I am not I promise you a follower of any religion but the Methodist church where I live are not at all judgemental.At the allotments also are a nice bunch too.As everywhere,there are people you get on with and people I prefer to keep my distance from.Most are good fun when you get to know them x

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    5. I know lots of people practice without insurance, but I guess I always think of the worst - what if someone complained etc., at least I would be covered if I were insured, also you are suppose to be qualified to practice.

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    6. Yes ,I remember he said he had done stage one and two I think-then met up with 2 other Reiki healers before he began practicing .Well,so he said.He also wore a tee-shirt that said so.And please don't laugh anyone ! x

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    7. Yes, that sounds correct, stage one and two enables you to treat people, stage 3 is if you want to teach others. I am a stage one and two practioner. Why should anyone laugh ?

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    8. Sadly,some people thought I was a bit silly having Reiki healing but it really helped me when someone who I believed was a friend went strange and called me some awful names because I was a bit late and she ran at me ,almost to attack me.She was diabetic and had an episode.I couldn't stop shaking for days and the reiki calmed everything.It's just that some people think that if they don't understand something ,they close their minds to it x

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  39. Everyone mentions CAB. I went to CAB. Only advice I got was to make sure I payed my council tax. top priority. That was it!!!!!
    Not quite, found out about help with my boiler which had packed in. and asked and got one weeks free food. most of it was tinned packet stuff and tins meat. Other than that I had to research and do my own work to get out debt. I expected them to do more maybe unfairly.
    However by researching I found Ilona. That's helped a lot.
    I don't over spend and live within my means that's what I've learned.
    This was a huge learning curve to be responsible for your money and actions. Learning to do with out and live a simple life within my means. Doing without like Ilona, heating etc if you want money for car or holidays. If you write everything down you spend. see what you can do with out.

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    1. Thank you, everyone does recommend CAB, but I have been several times, and like you, ended up doing my own research, and one instance, following their advice cost me a lot of money.
      I appreciate people are recommending them with a good and kind heart, but they don't work well for everyone. My expenses are cut to the bone already, but I don't go without food, I love yellow-sticker shopping and through that find I eat very well.

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  40. I have just read through this thread, it is distressing to read that in this day and age someone is in the situation wean is in, paying off debts that are not hers on very little money. To be honest the obvious thing would be for her to go bankrupt, but that brings its own problems, she would loose her home, although in that situation the council could be forced to help her. Moving to a cheaper house is an obvious answer but again that costs money. It cost us almost £3,000 when we moved 2 1/2 years ago. We were in private rented accommodation and were lucky enough to get this bungalow which halved our rent payment. It still took me over 2 years to clear our moving debt.

    I am really sorry I do not have any answers......the gals on MSE are great, I have posted there for many years especially on the old style board. All I can say wean is keep going girl, try the various options other posters have pointed out. Have you tried the Salvation Army? they have specially trainer officers who may be able to help. I do hope that you manage to get some help. Have a ((((((((hug))))))

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    1. I agree, MSE forum is a big help to many people.

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  41. Not sure if your religious but joining a church could help with making friends, somewhere to go to discuss your problems. Many churches especially modern ones are happy to help with food and even heating, or inviting you over to share a meal. They may organise free trips. These things may enrich your life and improve your well being. They may have suggestions to get you out of debt, or maybe willing to help by paying you to do a small job for them paying off your smallest debt first. I did this with my daughter she did some house keeping for me and I paid her by paying off some of her bills

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  42. Sorry if this appears twice, my laptop just had a hissy fit - but thank you SBBE's - I have followed your move on your blog and am glad you are out of the tunnel now, but it's not easy is it ? as you say, even moving to downsize (assuming a landlord will rent to you and doesn't consider you the scum of the earth because you claim HB) - is expensive. I'm taking all comments and suggestions on board.

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  43. Hi Wean,
    Regarding not being able to sell your vintage clothing. This blog website;-
    https://vintagevixon.blogspot.co.uk/
    She buys in carboots/charity shops/from people etc and then sells vintage clothing as her business at festivals and in London markets and I am sure if you contacted her she would buy your clothing and give you a decent price :)
    Regarding your idea for a business,I would be worried at the moment about starting costs being put onto a credit card, which would be quite high with premises, equipment, utilities and then the high interest rates to pay it back.
    Regarding your debts if they are in joint names your ex spouse is jointly legally liable for the whole amount (I also had a similar experience).I would contact your joint creditors advise them that you have no money and give them the address/details of where they can contact your ex spouse.It is unfair that you should be left to shoulder all the worry.If they are not in your name then you are not legally responsible for them (even if they are gas,electric and water). You would need to contact them and advise you want them to be in your sole name from now onwards.Any bills that come to you in your ex's name mark *return to sender no longer at this address*(unless it's utilities/council tax - see above).
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel - I am living proof :)
    **Big hugs and chin up** Wean xxx
    Sue

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    2. I was going to suggest Vintage Vix as well!!..I think she is from Black Country way...And im not sure where abouts you are Wean.But i do know that she does Vintage Fairs and Festivals over a wide area.If you look on her blog...Its brilliant! and full of vintage clothes that she wears daily.The list of her up coming vintage fairs is on her blog,so there maybe one near you?.Just Google ...Vintage Vix Blog...and its all there.She looks fantastic!!,Debi,x

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    3. One last thing hun that you could do. Goto your local Council Housing Department and speak to them (take your tenancy with you). You maybe classed as vulnerable and they may have a duty of care to help you find affordable housing/council housing. It might be worth just seeing what they say.Hugs Sue

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    4. Thank you Golden Sunflower and Debi. Your comments are very helpful.

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  44. Hi wean just wanted to add to my last post - I am not a legal person regarding debts. This was just what I found to be true in my past circumstances :) Ilona - wow you have really started an ongoing thread! Great post :) Hugs Sue

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  46. Around here we have a bartering society, could you do something similar and do casual jobs for people and get paid in goods ie groceries, no money changing hands, no problem with the benefits.

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  47. Wean, that's not true about the discretionary housing benefit. You can apply and receive it any time, not just if you've just moved in. You do only get it for 3 months, but then you just reapply and can get it for another three months..... Your local council will also have a housing worker who will help you find cheaper accommodation/give you advice. You DO NOT need your landlords permission to apply for housing benefit! He doesn't even ave to know!

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  48. Contact your energy suppliers if you are getting a single penny of pension credit you are eligable for a £200 winter fuel grant from them .

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  49. I'm back after a busy day. Wean, I don't think you should try and start a business. Don't go into more debt when the income from a business is not guaranteed, it's too much of a gamble. You don't say what your proposed idea is, but if you start something now it's going to be at least a year before you start making anything from it.

    I wonder why you are so tied to the house you live in, and why you won't consider moving to somewhere cheaper. Your landlord seems to have some kind of hold over you, I don't understand that either. You should be free to do as you please, but at the end of the day you choose to pay an extortionate rent. Why?

    You have been in this situation a long time. Reading back over one of your blogs, you stopped blogging for a while, then you started again, then you stopped again. Did you get fed up with it? After all, it doesn't cost anything to write a blog, except the broadband.

    How did your book go, did you get some sales? It must have taken you a while to write it. Could you start promoting that again?

    I still don't understand how you could be paying off someone else's debt, you need to contact Stepchange for help. Everyone on Money Saving Expert forum say they are so good at sorting things out.

    There has been lots of good ideas from our helpful readers, I hope you are going to follow some of them up and let us know how you get on.

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  50. All the time on money saving expert people ask for advice in dire situations, then spend time telling everyone why they can,t or won't change their lifestyles. Get work economise, so I guess everyone gets the lifestyle they wan,t. Otherwise they would change. A few years ago my situation was bleak!. Turned my life around with hard graft, lodger economising. House is now mine. Almost lost it 5 years ago!.Was not easy was living on less than equivalent of jsa to turn things around, was determined and did it!. Guess Wean needs to want to, actually wean beads to really, really want to then act on it!.

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    2. Kirrie, I think age is an important factor as are the struggles one has faced through life. You may have missed reading that Wean is in her 70's and has had some hard blows to deal with. I am not yet in my 70's however I know that I find major life changes increasingly difficult. Please tell me how a person in their 70's can get work readily?? Yes, some do but hey most don't. I will also say that setbacks in life like Wean has experienced do not necessarily make one more resilient. They make just make one weary and yearning for a quiet, stable life. Jane

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    3. yes, Kerrie as we become older we find making changes not as easy as when we were young. They can make us anxious or more worried. Or for private reasons not the right time to make big changes. or we have private reasons as to why we cant change them right now. even thou, we realise that this could indeed be the reason or one of the reasons why we have this problem. Life is hard at times climbing up from the bottom rung is hard. Takes lot guts get up and try and change things for the better. slowly step by step. eventually the sun shines as it always does.

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  51. A lady at work I will call Ruth had a lovely council flat low rise in the poshest area of edinburgh. She was given the option to buy it for £25000. She decided no because the hallway was damp, rent £420 from council. She decided to move to housing association as it had a sparkly new kitchen rent was £530. Housing association now put up rent to £575.
    Council flat she was in was in was worth at least £200000 she has no concept she has lost £175000. Tried telling her but doesn't get it!. Only sees cheap, housing association mod cons flat with cheap sparkle she will never own!.

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    1. Crumbs Kirrie what a terrible decision! I agree with your previous comment as I noticed Wean was very resistant to any suggestions

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  52. Ilona, I think you have done your very best to try to help this lady. Your readers have given her a lot of good advice, in the hopes of helping her. Now it is up to her to decide if she wants to use any of the advice and suggestions that have been provided. I hope she gets some help and relief from her financial problems. Patricia

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  53. Hello. I'm joining in on the end of this convo but I recommend that Wean move to less expensive housing. And, surely there is some society or people who could help you to move. Also, here in the US we have senior housing for fixed income. Do you have anything like that in the UK? I would think about it because housing is eating up your money. I wish you the best. Pat

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  54. Everyone has done their best to help Wean, and I thank you all for the time and effort you have put into the discussion. I am sad that Wean has deleted a lot of her comments, not sure why that is. She did ask the questions in the first place and I thought that we as a collective could help her. But unfortunately no matter how much help you offer, it is up her whether she takes on board any of the suggestions.

    I am going to leave this post up here because anyone in a similar situation might find something useful in it to help their own circumstances. People who find the blog do read older posts, some even start at the beginning.

    I think all possible solutions have been covered, thank you for your support and help.

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  55. Almshouses offer decent accommodation at below market rent, so recommend Wean looks to see what is available in her area.

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    1. There are some lovely Almshouses in the village where I live.Last year a lady passed on and there was a vacancy which was advertised in the Parish paper.Not sure of cost of rent,it didn't say .Don't think they come up often though.You could have a small pet too x

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  56. I feel really sorry for someone in their 70s who has fallen on hard times although as others have pointed out Wean seems very resistive to suggestions offered. I was able to read a little of her blog before she deleted it and got the impression she’s already very resouceful. For what it’s worth I would suggest growing as much as possible - herbs, fruit, veg. Forage during the summer/autumn months. Shop at Lidl/ Aldi/ home bargains. Get rid of the tv or internet. Get a basic talk and text mobile. Use your local library for the internet and free heating whist your there. Attend art exhibition openings for free wine and nibbles and save on heating whilst your out of the house. Again I would seriously consider moving to a cheaper area and one with a better sense of community. There are landlords that accept pets. I would also try and make an extra £5 a week as this equates to £25 a month which you could use to repay the debt. I wouldn’t have given up on the blog as again this can be a way of making money, however small. I hope things improve for Wean. Kristel

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    1. £5 per week is £260 per year. It all adds up however small the amount.

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    2. Absolutely Ilona. People often fail to take into account the accumulative effect. Kristel

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  57. A small suggestion to raise some pin money. A 15 pack of individual tissue packs from Poundland costs £1. Buy 2, so 30 individual packs, initial outlay £2. Find a spot in a busy shopping area, set the packs out on a small folding table or covered upturned box. Sell 2 individual tissue packs for a £1 or 60p each. 30 x 0.6 = £18 (£16 profit). 15 x £1 = £15 (£13 profit). I call this The Big Tissue. Could be a money spinner as the season of coughs and colds is upon us.

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    1. People are not so daft as to fall for that, they could go into Poundland themselves. You need a licence to trade in a public place. Only homeless people are allowed to sell the Big Issue.

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    2. Some people only want a pack or two. Trading / pitch depends on individual council, but selling from a roll-along trolley suitcase would probably be covered by a pedlar's licence, which costs £12.25 per annum.

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    3. Meanqueen...
      i totally see the basis of your reply to the tissue pack "scheme". However, i suspect that many would be so daft as to fall for it. Seriously. I see this kind of "resell" all the time.

      And, i even see this type of "scheme" in big stores/grocery stores where i live. We have gotten to be extremely careful/frugal/cheap shoppers, so we are contstantly figuring out amounts / best price etc... For example, using canned beans as example, many times we have seen (even on regular price) where it is cheaper to buy five small cans of beans rather than a larger one of same "amount". One time we picked up a box of dishwasher tabs. It was the sort of box wich had two individual packets inside. Got it for a screaming good price. Next week as we walked through the store (and checked to see if there were any more), we noticed the individual packs for inside the box had been hung on a post, and labelled at two times the price (each pack) of the entire box...

      And i see the sort of thing spoke of (dividing up a bigger packet and charging scads for the smaller) often at comminity markets/farmers markets.

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    4. I had a pedlars licence once, I had to apply at the Police Station. Didn't use it though, I found another way to make money.

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  58. To speak "on Wean's behalf/point of angst"....

    I think, from personal experience and talking with others,
    that when one gets in a tough position, (financial/emotional/even keeping a house tidy), it is very tough to wrap one's mind around suggestions (even though they are desired and asked for) and implement them in a manner which is useful to one's self, and available to one's self, and implementable by one's self.

    What i have found works for me (and some others i have spoke with),
    is to read it all over/listen to all,

    and pick one small thing to start with. Just one. And find one good reason (in your own mind...) why you want to stick with it. Don't try to do a bunch at once.

    Also,
    honestly, if i was in this sort of situation, i would unashamedly consider bankruptcy. Especially if i somehow got stuck paying for debts not mine. I am not sure how that happens. BUT, i have know a number of folks who have co signed bank loans, etc.. for folks (thinking that so and so is such a good sport, they would never stick me with it), and gotten stuck paying for this while the real culprit danced off. It happens.

    Please consider,

    "just one thing"

    and

    Bankruptcy

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  59. wean you could go to the council and explain your circumstances. If your landlord wrote a letter saying he was making you homeless they have a duty to rehome you.(maybe ask him if he would do this for you) If your debts are in both your names your ex can be traced, but while your paying they won't bother doing this. Debt collectors don't care who pays as long as they get their money. If this is the case stop paying and tell them you can't afford to pay. It may go to court which you will then fill out a financial statement, the courts will determine how much you can pay, and may even track down your ex for his share(if in both your names). I should think age concern should be able to help aswell

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  60. Rather than going bankrupt it is possible to enter into an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) which will set a manageable schedule for repayment of debt, usually an agreement is made with unsecured creditors to repay only a proportion of the original debt, there are pros and cons to bankruptcy vs an IVA. Wikipedia has a good summary.

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  61. Wean, good suggestions here. My only thought which I don't think has been mentioned is to contact your MP and go to his/her surgery. If you don't know who he/she is google 'who is my MP' and type in your postcode, this will tell you. Your MP ought to be able to put you in touch with various organisations and government bodies who could assist you. Worth a try. Best of luck. Amanda

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  62. Hi, I have just listened to the Food Program on the radio they mentioned sikh temples all feed anyone who turns up whatever their religion for free, might be worth a look. Also you could look at volunteering to a charity who cooks meals for the elderly etc, volunteers often get a meal free. An old friend of mine used to go to the library using her bus pass to save heating her home, she took a sandwich for lunch and used all there facilities.

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  63. Interesting thread, hello to Wean. I bet you feel a little bombarded with helpful suggestions. my advice would be to make a cup of tea, go through and just jot down different ideas that you may try out, we don't have to have reasons why you cannot do this or that, they are only ideas and you may try a little part of what someone says not all, and that's absolutely fine. I work for age uk, there is a lovely girl there that will talk benefits with you for free. They often put events on so maybe sign up to your local facebook age concern page. I have worked at a community hub and a foodbank, she not only gave out foodbank vouchers packs, but also gave out dinners to struggling families, tea and cakes during the day and often food from the supermarkets to whoever pops in. Look out for "Places of welcome", put it into google and it should come up with your local, these are usually churches or hubs inviting you in for a cup of tea and chat and maybe some help with your situation. on the money front, surveys etc to get a little bit towards food. Etsy I think is better than ebay for small shops selling their crafty makes, not sure of the costs for that site though. Your local facebook selling sites, join them all, I sold some ps2 games for £8 the other day, no problem and its only clutter. Competitions, enter every foody money voucher type comp you can. (Jesting but maybe find yourself a sugar daddy :)) partner, lodger. Rent your driveway, shed heard that done before. cant think of anything else at the moment, but wishing you very well. xx

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  64. Hi, I notice that noone has mentioned CAP, Christians Against Poverty. They are a debt management charity, UK wide, recommended by Martin Lewis. I used them 4years ago when I was at my wits end and was already using all sorts of money-saving hacks.They go through your budget with you to the nth penny, and will work with you every month to help. They also will be the go-between with any creditors/providers. eg they managed to negotiate a gas/elec grant on my behalf direct with my supplier. They also hold regular free events where you can meet with folk with similar issues, and do fun free things like bbqs. They use a network of churches and libraries, so there should be somewhere near-ish to you. You don't have to be religious at all and their help is free. I cannot recommend them highly enough - very efficient, friendly and non-judgemental.

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  65. The Food programme on Radio 4 this week was talking about eating with strangers and one of the items that came up was that every Sikh Temple offers free food to anyone. No questions asked, just turn up at lunchtime and they're happy to offer a hot meal. Do that maybe a couple of times a week, company, free food and maybe ask if you can help there as well so some focus to the week.

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  66. Thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to try and help Wean. It's a shame that she has deleted most of her own comments.

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