Money Advice - Case Stories

Sheila (Not real name)

Sheila shared her housing association home with her two dogs, she worried constantly about paying her energy bills and when we visited her in mid-winter she hadn’t been putting her heating on at all for weeks. Sheila’s income was made up of pension credit and disability living allowance, she relied on her mobility car to get about.

She had a daughter and two grandsons who relied heavily on her for support as they too were a low income family and couldn’t afford to run a car. Sheila’s daughter worked long hours for minimum wage and needed Sheila to pick up the boys from school and give them tea until their mum got home. More often than not Sheila would end up taking them shopping and cooking meals for the family – all difficult on her small amount of income.

Sheila was desperate for help to make ends meet. The Pennysmart adviser had sat down with her and put together a budget of income and expenditure, highlighting areas where we thought we would be able to apply for extra help and save her money. After working with her we were able to improve Sheila’s income by £60 per month or £720 per year, as follows:- £10 pm off water bills; £20 pm off gas bills; £10 pm off electric bills; £30 pm off phone bills. We also helped her open a credit union saver account so she could buy presents for the grandchildren and a £200 grant to buy a washing machine.

Sheila was happy, at last she could put her heating on again, and still have the peace of mind that she was spending only what she could afford and was staying in control of her money.