I have been giving some thought lately to the journey I have been on in recent years. I am well aware that my financial situation is far from comfortable. However when I look back at my situation in previous years I know I have come a long way.
In 2005 my first autumn/winter as a single parent (although still officially married). With no money to buy christmas food or presents for my children I borrowed £100 from OJ so that I could buy a few things. Within 5 minutes my purse was stolen. My work loaned me £100 to be paid back over the next two months, one friend left me an envelope on my desk with £40 to pay back as and when I was able but not before. (she was semi retired and couldn't really afford it but she wanted my boys to have a christmas of sorts). Another friend had told her husband (who I have never met) on christmas eve she handed me a letter from him. He was reaching out to someone he didn't know with £200 in cash not to be paid back until I could afford it. That christmas we didn't have much but I knew that there are some very special people out there and I am lucky to know them. That winter was a tough one for my family as we struggled to live through the break up of my marriage with my husband still living in the house but contributing nothing towards the household bills. I was only working 5 hrs a day at the time so my wages didn't cover all the bills I needed to pay.
A few months later I had to take some sick leave as the divorce was taking its toll on my health. It was at this point that I lost my job. It took 3 months before I finally started to receive anything from the benefits office. During that time I was very lucky to have a supportive mother. When I lost my job I took the decision to not look for more work straight away. I needed some time to get myself and my children sorted out after everything we had been through. Over the next year money was very very tight especially once DC finished college and was deemed by the powers that be, to be working full time and contributing to the household bills, he was doing neither. So my income was drastically reduced but my out goings were increased. I was reduced to getting up very very early on sunday mornings and selling anything I could at a local bootsale just to earn enough money for electricity or petrol.
My stubborn streak made me do everything I could to manage on my own without having to ask for help unless I had no choice. One of the things I had to do was taking out Provident loans at very high interest rates. I couldn't pay all my bils so I paid those who made the most noise about being paid. Luckily each time one of my creditors was making a lot of noise another debt was coming to an end.
In June 2007 I took on some part time temporary work, I preferred to earn my own money rather than rely on the government or my mother to pay my way. My 3 month contract became 6 months, then I took on a full time permanent contract (my current position). In January 2008 I worked out that if I am careful and just keep plodding along paying each debt as it comes along, I hoped to be free of my debts by the end of the year. By February I had realised that this was unrealistic so amended my goal to be debt free by february/march 2009.
Now in December 2008 I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and believe that I will have paid off my debts by february. So roll on 2009 and getting straight.