How We Survived Financial Crisis. Just.



I’ve made a few references to 2016 being a shitty year. The universal reasons hardly need mentioning: politics going tits up. The loss of so many amazing creatives. And of course Bake Off.

But for my family and I we also went through a proper deep dark financial crisis.

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time. Until now it’s felt too recent and raw. However the fact we have made it into a new calendar year means it feels ok to share…

  • Financial crisis affects EVERYTHING.
  • To be clear, by financial crisis I mean my husband had a business that was in far far more debt than I had realised. 

  • I felt like a mug. How didn’t I know? I knew a bit of it. But maybe I just closed my ears to the grim reality.

  • I had a 2-year-old and a new baby  too. So that some-what distracts you.

  • I don’t want to go into details but we were firmly up shit creek without a paddle. Loans. Credit cards. Debts with most of our  family. 5 figure kinda debt.

  • As I said being in financial crisis effects EVERYTHING.

  • You feel sick every morning hoping that the bailiffs won’t come knocking (7 am is their usual call time).

  • You feel sick every time you return from being away for the weekend. How many dreaded brown envelopes will there be? How much more money will need to be ‘magiced’ from thin air

  • You feel sick every time you go out and have to split a bill.

  • “Oh it’s only a fiver different. Doesn’t matter!” Exclaims someone.

  • Of course a fiver doesn’t matter when life is normal. But when you are spiralling into debt that fiver makes ALL the difference. It’s a weeks worth of breakfasts.

  • You feel sick when your kid asks “Mummy have we got any money today?”

  • Those screaming fits in the supermarket over a Paw Patrol magazine? A whole lot worse when you know you couldn’t treat them, even if you wanted to.

  • You realise how reliant we are on consumerism for a ‘pick me up’: that new top after a big meeting. Dinner out to mark a milestone. Even a coffee to break-up the monotony of being stuck with the kids all day.

  • Not being able to have these things makes you resentful to all those that do.

  • It makes you feel like a failure.

  • To be financially screwed feels really shameful. And impossible to talk about.

  • It often comes with a lack of sympathy: “you can always sell the house.”

  • Of course we would have sold our house. But when you walls are caving in. When you are: worried about feeding your kid (and your dog), trapped in you job and unsure about whether your marriage can weather the storm, the thought of losing one anchor, one bit of security; the thought of losing your home…. it’s too much to bare.

  • BUT of course what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  • Financial crisis has taught me to be frugal. To make that food shop last. To walk wherever you can. To search for bargains.

  • To be grateful to those who were there when we needed them most. Not just the ones who lent us cash. But to the mates who hung out with us during those 52 weeks, even though we were no fun.

  • We are determined to pay every penny of it back.

  • Money does not make the world go round. But not having it sure as hell makes it feel turned upside down.

  • I ‘get’ that talking money is awkward for us Brits. That’s not a good enough excuse.

  • Making it the elephant in the room throws up gigantic size problems.

  • We need to have the guts to be honest when we are strapped for cash rather than max-out the credit card for the sake of saving face.

  • We must ask to be paid what we are worth.

  • And most of all, we must be courageous enough to say to the ones we love “there’s something I need to tell you..”

  • Aside from the ongoing guilt every time I buy a treat.

  • And disbelif that it happened to us. 

  • And the slightly shakiness that stays with you after any trauma.

  •  I still feel fortunate.

  • Financial security is something I have taken for granted.

  • That monthly pay-check. That bottle of wine bought without thinking. That person who’ll lend you a 100 quid when you need it.

  • They are luxuries. Ones I now savour and appreciate.

  • And to those burdened with money worries, sometimes for life. Those forced to put their kids to bed with an empty stomach, who do not have people on-side to help and advise, who are born with the odds stacked against them. That person on the bus or at the play-ground. I see you. I empathise with you and I respect you for struggling on.


    We’re still standing. A shit time but we survived (just).



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  • Reply whatjensays January 17, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I could have written this myself – it is SO true and 100% on the money (pardon the pun). An inspiration.

  • Reply Stephie January 17, 2017 at 8:52 am

    My boy turned 2 today and is currently celebrating with his 6 month old brother downstairs. After two maternity leaves in quick succession and a house move due to rented accommodation uncertainties we are here. Financial crisis, being ashamed at having to admit to family we need help to get through the next few months and we don’t have the means to keep a roof over our heads without help. We are so lucky to have friends and family that are supportive and can lend a little help, but it’s so refreshing to read this today. After spending the weekend in tears somehow this makes it all feel a bit more normal, a bit less shameful and that it can and does happen to anyone. So nice to see people do survive it and come out of the other side still smiling

  • Reply Ooodelally_mummy January 17, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Thanks for being brave enough to share problems common to so many. It really makes you appreciate the little things more though and see jacket and beans for the filling culinary delight it truely is. 2017 certainly looks better already -keep on keeping on the only way is up k xx

  • Reply shesaworkingmum January 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Strong words mumma. I especially love how you remember those in even harder situations with hungry babes.
    Best of luck to you all

  • Reply Els January 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    This is such an honest and refreshing, I’m about to have my first child and for the last few years have burined away as much money as possible to support the family whilst on maternity leave….but life doesn’t always let you follow a plan, the boiler blew up before Christmas, house improvements have drained some resources which we were managing, then again life throws another hurdle and a road traffic accident means my partners parents are in hospital, one miles away in intensive care and another at a local hospital, then money becomes irrelevant, hotels to visit father in law, travel to visit mother in law and a longer commute from work to take care of his younger siblings all means the little nest egg of money has gone….how we will manage when baby arrives I don’t know! But like you said money didn’t everything it just makes things easier, and with events of last week puts things into perspective about money’s really imprtance it’s nothing if you don’t have loved ones around you

  • Reply CW January 17, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Thank you for writing this. Literally could have written exact same scenario for 2016 for exact same reasons (husband business) and children same ages as yours etc. I have never commented on a blog post before but this is perfect and has helped me and I’m sure others more than you will know! You are a brave mama! Thank you 😘

  • Reply Tori January 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Sat here feeling teary as my husband said to me this weekend he wasn’t sure if we could afford to have a second baby, which is something I desperately want, because of our financial situation. I hope I will convince him otherwise and it gives me confidence to hear it’s not only us counting every penny.

  • Reply Jane January 17, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you for writing this. It really is brave of you to share what many of us don’t talk about. I hope that 2017 takes you on an upward journey.

  • Reply M January 17, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    I could’ve written exactly this, I’m in the same situation. Husband’s business has folded and 2 small babes the exact same ages. I bawled my eyes out reading this, thank you for sharing. Nice knowing I’m not alone and that you’ve come/coming out the other side. We’re not there yet but I know we will be. Thank you x

  • Reply Natasha January 20, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Thankyou for writing! True inspiration. Here’s to 2017 and powering through mummas! 👊🏽 X

  • Reply Phil January 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    I have such huge respect for you for posting this. Last year my husband declared bankrupt and I vowed to pay off all of the debts in my name. Which I am proud to say I have. Living in London, paying London rent and travel costs makes things quite difficult. We don’t have children yet and have spent a long time trying. I often think we can’t afford to have any but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I wish you and your family all the best. It’ll work out eventually. Keep talking to each other and other people and you’ll always find a plan.

  • Reply thewoodlandwife February 19, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I have been waking with the dread every morning for months and months. I haven’t told anyone, I am terrified. My little girl asks for the smallest things and my heart sinks. I have a blog I enjoy writing, brands WANT to work with me, but they simply pay the minimal amount of money I ask for. I just can’t see how I pay off the debt and get my head above water. I know there are no magical answers, but just seeing someone I follow on IG has been where I am and has made it to the other side, it gives me hope. I just hope to God the brands start paying me soon.

  • Reply Tom S March 2, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    The problem with this piece is that you don’t really say how you got out of the crisis, or indeed how you got into it. Sorry but I found it really irritating – especially the bit about now being able to empathise with poor people you see on the bus.

    • Reply Clemmie Telford March 2, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Fair enough. I shared what I felt comfortable with and also tried to articulate how it made me reconsider my place in the world. I’m sorry it wasn’t what you wanted to read, hopefully you can find what you are after elsewhere.

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