First and last thousand

Reading in the media yesterday about the Government’s Benefit Helpline being closed over the Christmas holidays just when claimants will need it most with changes coming into force this week, made me think about money, past and present.

When I first started work, it took almost a year for me to save my first one hundred pounds, let alone a thousand. As I grew older and wages crept up, I eventually had a basic salary of £1000 a month, but that was before taxes, so it was a few more years before my take home pay equated to a grand. I’d worked hard for it too.

So I thought I’d throw a question out there in Blogland and ask:
What would one thousand pounds (or dollars) buy you?
And if you suddenly lost said thousand in income, what would you give up or restrict?
The above chart is dated, and laughable for the gross (before taxes) income in our case, but you can see that over the ten year period 1997 to 2007 the highest increases have been in taxation, related to wages or not, something Joe Public cannot avoid.

Bear in mind there are only two of us plus Maggie, and our income is about to be reduced .
We aren’t earning enough, even jointly, to pay income tax, but council tax, fuel, domestic heating and lighting, water and insurances all apply to us regardless. We have been expecting it, so have planned as best we could to deal with it.

One thousand pounds will keep our little car on the road for a year.
It could also feed the 2½ of us for 6-8 months depending on the season.
It doesn’t cover our council tax, but would be enough for our heating and electricity.
If we were really frugal, it may also stretch to include our water supply and sewage.

So to suddenly lose £1000, what choices would we have?
We need to eat, keep warm and keep clean, so for us it would be the luxury of a car.
But to some, the loss of a thousand pounds a year isn’t even a dot on an i in the red tape legislation to TPTB with their expense accounts and high salaries.
So you can imagine the added stress benefit claimants are going to be under when their income is reduced by £1000 a month when they still have all their bills to pay.
Sure you can say that they get state help with them too, but those benefits are also all tied up with the new payment system that is being introduced and will take 6 weeks to implement, so they will be even more stressed and strapped for vital cash.
Six weeks when they will get nothing, have families and now Christmas to worry about.

Big deal the helpline was made a freephone number.
Fat lot of good that is if it’s going to be closed anyway, if it doesn’t crash first of course.

What a caring Government we have (not).

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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18 Responses to First and last thousand

  1. foguth says:

    You aren’t the only country with skyrocketing taxes – or money spent on ridiculous things. I suspect this is a huge reason why Trump was elected and further suspect that many figured that if he could run a company he would have the skills to sort out the problems with our government and it’s spending. IF Congress starts working with him, it would be good, but many who’ve been in power far too long, seem to be fighting change.

    • It’s horrendous isn’t it. I don’t know how people are managing and am just grateful we don’t have to pay rent/mortgage, credit card/storecard bills or bank loans.

      • foguth says:

        I don’t know how people in general are coping, but think my sister is taking the wrong path – she seems to ‘live’ on credit and has maxed out a few times – her solution is up the credit line… This might work in the short run, but I expect her ‘system’ to crash and burn eventually.

      • A familiar story, and a path many over here are also following. I got myself in a financial muddle a couple of times, but luckily was able to get out of it on my own by working 2 jobs and going without. It was nice when we were both earning good money though, but then all I did was save what we didn’t need.

      • foguth says:

        From what I’ve seen, my sister never thinks of ‘going without’. Years ago, she had buckled down to a strict budget and was paying off her debt. I was very proud of her. THEN, she heard of an opportunity to go to France for a vacation, which was ‘too good to pass up’… perhaps the airfare was economical, but I don’t think she has gone back to being on a budget since. Last I heard she was over 40-thousand in debt, had mortgaged her house as much as she could and needed money for food…. she had a good job and higher than average retirement, but no self control with spending.

      • Oh yikes. I would be sweating buckets if I owed that much money! I’ve been close to bankruptcy twice and now over cautious if anything. Saying that though Hubby and I are doing OK and still have the occasional treat.

      • foguth says:

        We have a credit card, but pay it off every month. Once in a while, we need to dip into savings for some reason, but then we go on a budget until the funds are replaced…. Wish the government would do as well with our tax dollars, but they seem to treat that more like my sister does.

      • We have one as well but rarely use it, but like you we always paid it off in full every month.

  2. I couldn’t hit like for this one. We are also retired and it’s looking like the current administration wants to slash healthcare benefits and monkey around with social security (pension). Taxes aren’t great but as I always say we are one health crisis from bankruptcy. There are new drugs and treatments on the horizon but they aren’t affordable.

    • I know what you mean and it is a worry Kate. Moving the State Pension age for us hasn’t helped, and our NHS over here is in crisis, but at least we get our prescriptions free as we are both over 60, but at one stage Hubby was needing 8 items a month at £8 each so we bought an annual ‘ticket’ for £104 which covered everything.
      Thank goodness that didn’t fall in line with the retirement age. However, my post cancer meds would be free anyway. Do you have such things as Tax credits or top ups from the State? Over here they give it to you with one hand and seem to take double with the other, but this Universal Credit switchover is going to cripple a lot of people already struggling.

      • Our healthcare isn’t as good as yours. They moved our age for pension too but I was only affected by 1 year. I expect kids coming up will see it disappear altogether.

      • I would hate to be in my 20s now as prospects are really low for getting on the property ladder and any retirement package.
        The nurse I saw a few weeks ago is 10 years younger than me, and won’t get her State Pension until she’s 68, so the goalposts are gradually moving towards 70, and a rumoured 75. She said that she can claim her NHS at 60 though. It’s possible that the Pensioner Heating Allowance and free TV licence will disappear, and already many are having to return to work to subsidise their existing pensions because they simply cannot manage.

  3. Sue Vincent says:

    I work seven days a week for that thousand pounds a month… I was earning nearly three times that for 9-5, five days a week before Nick was stabbed. The whole system is unrealistic when it comes to the lower end of the income brackets, whether working or on benefits.

    • I agree with you Sue. I was on double that for the bank before redundancy n 2001, and ended up taking a full time job at £11K because there was nothing else/no-one would hire me as I was ‘too experienced’.
      What boils my temper is when TPTB bleat on about taking so many people out of the tax bracket. When you don’t pay any tax to begin with, a rise in personal allowance doesn’t help, then in the next breath they say you can put £20K in an ISA each year! That is the biggest kick in the guts for the lower paid who can only dream of having that amount of money as their total income. If I had £20K spare each year, it would NOT be going somewhere giving 0.3% interest, and we would be having all the holidays we missed out on!

      • Sue Vincent says:

        Same here, Di. The notion of anything spare would be nice…
        As a carer, all my savings went long ago, I have no pension and am paid for few of the hours I actually work. They actually said ‘we expect a mum to do that’ unpaid.
        On the other hand, the ‘new’ system means I just nicly miss the benefits brackets all round…which is obviously good for givernment figures and I am classed as in full time work…

      • It’s all wrong, even Zero contracts are counted as full time employment to massage their figures.
        Could you qualify for a carer’s allowance or assistance for being in the ‘low paid’ bracket, even though you work full time?
        I took my bank pension at 50 even though I was working elsewhere following redundancy in 2001. If I hadn’t, I would have lost it as the bank was sold and only existing pensioner payments were continued. It was calculated on final salary so not that much really, but it covers the food and heating bills, and Hubby’s services pension covers the rest. One thing is sure, even if we’d moved to cheaper moorings we could not have afforded to continue living on the boat now.

  4. Leswin says:

    All too true. I worked for the NHS and worked for an extra 5 years after I should have retired just to make ends meet. Of course, after working for them for several years plus the extra 5, I accrued a nice little NHS pension – ‘little’ being the only word that could possibly describe it. The money I got from delaying my pension paid off my mortgage, which I would otherwise have been paying until I was nearly 71, and there was enough left over to do some well overdue and by then urgent repairs to the money pit I call home. And of course I get a few Pounds too much to qualify for any benefits. I do get Council Tax benefit but the amount is nothing to write home about and I do get the annual heating allowance and warmer homes allowance but, if I lose these for any reason, I will be well and truly stuffed.

    • I used my final paycheck following redundancy to pay off half our mortgae. Then Hubby lost his job so we cashed in our endowment policy which had been wiped of all profits to pay out against those maturing that year as it had more than 10 years to run, and cleared the rest. It took us down to less than £200 in the bank but it was the best move we made.
      Glad you get council tax benefit and the heating allowance, which I believe aren’t included in the Universal Credit fiasco.
      Keep warm and safe this winter. ❤

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