Friday, 31 August 2018

Us In August 2018: Making Plans & Handling Changes...

If you caught my last family update post back in June then you'll be aware that 2018 hasn't really been the best of years for us, due to financial difficulties and job insecurity.

And although things are FAR from perfect on that front, I'm pleased to report that there have at least been the beginnings of what I hope will turn out to be improvements.

Namely - Jon has started a new job!

He was actually offered two jobs this month - one being a full time job and the other a part time job - and to my surprise, when we did the calculations it actually turned out that the part time was going to be significantly better for us financially.

As I don't yet drive it also means that Jon is around more to take the boys to their various clubs and lessons, and keep Tyne able to attend his regular home ed groups which is important as he's made some good friendships there and I want him to be able to keep those going.

For the past few months I've felt pretty hopeless whenever I've thought about our future - I've never been able to see a way out of the private rent trap that we've found ourselves in. 

We have a bad credit rating after having a DRO 4 years ago, we don't have any savings at all to speak of, we live pay cheque to pay cheque (except without the luxury of an actual pay cheque because, until now, we've survived on my income which is unsteady and unpredictable) and it felt like there was absolutely no way that we'd ever be able to save enough for a deposit on a home of our own - if we could even get a mortgage which I couldn't see any way that we'd be able to do.

Things got even worse for us financially in July after a couple of bad work months for me, and we weren't able to get the rent money together in time which left us risking being evicted. We applied to be put on the social housing list, but until we were actually evicted we were told there was nothing they could do for us.

Things felt bleak, and we were in a situation where we were just waiting to be kicked out of our home so that we could be given some help - which is a terrifying and demoralising situation to be in, particularly with 3 young children. 

Honestly I don't think I've ever felt lonelier or more hopeless in my life at that point.

In the end, we managed to sell some items and make up the rent money - albeit a few days late. Which has kept us ticking over until this month when the rent is due again and we're back in that same limbo.

But a few weeks ago we visited some friends of ours, one of whom works for a housing association dealing with shared ownership properties.

He spoke to us about shared ownership and how it all works, and exactly what we'd need to do in order to be eligible for a shared ownership mortgage ourselves - and for once, it didn't sound completely impossible.

We went home, worked out our monthly outgoings and figured out where we could save money on those, and worked out our budget.

Around the same time, Jon's luck changed with job hunting and after 7 months of searching he was offered those two jobs.

And now we finally have something resembling a future plan in place.

Our hope is that once Jon's wage starts coming in and we get ourselves back on an even keel with payments, we should be able to afford to live off my income and use Jon's income to save up.

It will take around 2 years, but we should then have enough money saved for a deposit on a shared ownership mortgage.

By that time, our DRO will have cleared - we are working on building up our credit ratings between now and then, and we're keeping everything crossed that we should then be able to be approved for that mortgage. And FINALLY be able to move into something that feels more like our own home.

Yes it will be shared ownership but that's the only hope we have of getting on the property ladder in our circumstances, and although it still feels like a distant dream at the moment - it at least feels a little more in sight than it did before.

It means making changes, learning to be better with money, and curbing the plans for a Disney World holiday next year unfortunately but it's all for the best if it means a more stable future and no more extortionate private rent.

We're still in a sticky situation in the meantime until Jon's wages start accumulating (he's on fortnightly pay!) but I'm keeping everything crossed that we can make things work.

So now that Jon is working, I'm back to being the full time mum again (i've spent the last 5 years being the working parent while Jon has taken on the stay at home dad role) and it's been strange getting used to those changes.

It's odd going from spending every moment with your other half to feeling like you barely see them, and it's probably been a bit of an adjustment for the kids too but I think it's done us all good.

I'm loving being the one to cook the meals again and I love doing things like planning out activities to keep the boys entertained in the day, having movie afternoons with them and trying to keep things interesting!

Unfortunately my anxiety is still pretty high around going out for walks and using public transport and that's an issue considering I don't drive - we are very much stuck at home, so I really would like to be able to pass my driving test soon but these things cost money and that's something we haven't got right now!

I'm not sure how much more difficult it's all going to get once September rolls around and I need to start up Tyne's home ed work again ( we take the summer off) as it's going to be quite a juggle to try and keep the little two entertained and help him with his learning at the same time, but I'm sure we'll find a way.

We're still toying with the idea of sending Noah & Sailor to nursery a couple of days  a week as they have childcare entitlement they could be using, and I do think they'd benefit from it - it's just a case of working out the logistics as Jon's work hours tend to change daily.

So that's where we are this month!

It's been all change, but I'm hopeful that they're positive changes and that maybe we'll finally start to see an improvement in our circumstances...keeping everything crossed!

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