Beat food poverty with Aldi

When my tenant slipped into rent arrears a few months ago I spoke to her about her spending . I asked how much she was spending per week on her and her daughters food. £120.00 per week came the reply….once she had included the taxi costs back and forth from Tesco!

I told her that I shopped at Aldi and could feed my family of 6 for around £80.00 per week.

“I tried shopping at Aldi” she replied “but it was all in foreign”.

I have also during my work as a benefits officer suggested to people that they shop at Aldi and the response is always negative. “My mum shopped there and got food poisoning” “I’m not feeding my kiddies that muck” are some of the responses I received.

The lack of enthusiasm among  people on low incomes for budget supermarkets is astonishing. Aldi after all has won the Grocers supermarket of the year award for the last two years. Their food is fantastic quality and there are times at the till I have felt like I am robbing them when they tell me the price of my shop.

I used to shop online at Tesco and Asda and would spend hours trying to shave pennies of the bill by comparing offers and buying the value ranges. However by shopping at Aldi I save around £45.00 per week. That’s a whopping £2300.00 per year!

So if you are struggling financially they this week give either Aldi or Lidl a try for your full weekly shop. You , and your pocket, may be pleasantly surprised.

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Increasing my debt and losing Local Housing Allowance in one move.

When I bought my flat in 2006 I was a little naive and believed that the 73 year lease the property had was plenty. It wasn’t. 6 years on and  the lease now has 67 years to run and very few mortgage companies would lend on it.

This means that the value of the property is considerably lower as I am limited to cash buyers and investors rather than someone looking for a home.

I am in the middle of lease extensions negotiations and it looks like the whole process will cost in the region of £10,000.00. I have taken out a loan to cover this. I know this is more debt but hopefully it will put me in a position whereby if I need to sell the flat it will not cripple me completely. I’ve been looking on rightmove and strongly believe that a good long lease with no ground rent will make the property stand out from it’s competition.

However the downside of increasing the lease is that I will no longer qualify for Housing Benefit as I’m confident I would have more than £16,000.00 equity in the property. The loan will costs me £180.000 per month in repayments and I receive £450.00 per month in Local Housing Allowance. The net loss to me each month is therefore £639.00 per month.

I know that all the benefits I receive will now go as soon as my claims are all rolled into Universal Credit so my reasoning is I  may as well start to live without them now and by doing this it will be a gradual process rather than losing it all in one go.

I’m confident that even with a wife and four children I can mange my finances in such a way that we will still cover all the bills and have around £450.00 per month spare. We live in a nice home and have a great life. I’m positive that by looking to the long-term we’ll get through this in a much better position than we started.

However I’m not going to lie. I am slightly terrified.

Comping my way out of debt. Mad or desperate.

Today I have entered over 100 online competitions. My reasons for this are purely financial as Competition wins can be sold on at a tax free profit. My main skills are in data entry so I have the ability to enter a frightening amount of competitions in a relatively short space of time.

Make no mistake tough I find it dull and am treating it as a second job. up at five and on the net trying to win cash, ipads, cd, books, anything I can sell for a few pounds.

Again this isn’t a whinge but another example of an opportunity available to those who are struggling at the moment. I can enter 100 competitions in under an hour. I’m pretty sure I’ve wasted a good hour a day watching pointless vids on youtube or stalking people on facebook. I can easily afford to drop an hour a day for this purpose and who knows I may even win a few things. I’ll keep you posted on wins and profits.

Hello world…time for me to pull my finger out.

Hello world…as all wordpress blogs must start.

I am a father of four, benefits officer and private landlord. By 2017 I face the very real prospect of being out of work and receiving no financial aid from the state.

In 2006 I bought a flat for my wife and my stepson to live in. One child became 2 which became three and then 4 very quickly. The flat dropped into negative equity which led to me becoming a private landlord and renting a house to live in.

I have spent the last 4 years sending every spare penny I have into the flat and am delighted to be out of negative equity. However under the Universal Credit rules I will not qualify for any state assistance as I now have capital of over £16000,00. This is fair enough but it is frightening. No more child benefit (£240.00 per month) no more tax credits (£780.00 every four weeks) and no more Housing Benefit (£400.00 per month). That’s a cool £1485.00 per month gone if I still have a job. When my job eventually goes I will receive a redundancy payment but no Universal Credit.

Most blogs from people effected by welfare reform who start blogs spend a lot of time criticizing the world around them but spend little time looking at themselves. My situation has been caused by bad financial decisions.  I’m not going to moan. Life and the state have been good to me. I will get out of this but it will be hard.

A few stats as of 19/06/13

Mortgage £101,000.00 outstanding. Flat is currently empty.

Credit Cards  £1200.00

Overdraft – £2700.00

I am at a crossroad. Do I give up and sell the flat or do I work hard, take a few chances and try to come out of this better educated, healthier and richer. I won’t be happier. My life as it is now is perfect.