Financial Abuse

Today I’m going to write a topic that is very close to my heart. As a health professional, I have unfortunately witnessed this awful phenomenon on more occasions than I care to remember. Often within situations that would appear quite normal to an outsider – between apparently loving husbands and wives, or between families and an elderly relative. There are of course many more circumstances where financial abuse can occur.

I’m prompted to write this post today, after reading a post from a large and well-known US blog (popular within the frugal and money-saving community). The author basically promotes the idea of financial abuse within a relationship, as if it is the healthy and loving thing to do. Let me be clear right now – if you have to ask or have a discussion with your partner before you can buy something as insignificant as a kitchen spatula, then you are a victim of financial abuse.

Financial abuse is a discrete form of coercive control (a pattern of controlling behaviour which can be threatening or restrictive). It is considered to be a form of domestic abuse and as such, is incredibly serious. It involves the use or mis-use of finances, so as to limit a person’s current or future actions and freedom of choice. In the USA, they have identified 3 distinct components to financial abuse under the ‘Economic Abuse Scale’:

  1. Economic control – i.e. monitoring of resources
  2. Employment sabotage i.e. stopping someone working, making them work for free
  3. Economic exploitation i.e. use of money, generation of debts

Despite the many preconceptions, any person, of any gender and income level can be affected, even higher incomes and socio-economic groups. Financial abuse not only comprises of control of money, but also exploitation of income and time, and possibly sabotage of efforts to gain or maintain paid employment. Financial abuse is often accompanied by other forms of controlling behaviours or types of abuse – such as, emotional abuse.

To all intents and purposes from the outside, it may appear as though the finances are being addressed quite normally. But there are often very subtle cues to be picked up on. Such as; someone having to ask their other half before they can make any purchase, or perhaps an elderly person claiming that a family member just takes care of everything for them. This subtle blurring may not be obvious to the victim, particularly at the time. If the victim is living with the abuser, they may find it impossible to leave without means to do so.

In the blog I am referring to, I have noted the following characteristics over time;

  1. Being required to ask the partner before any purchase is made, however insignificant
  2. Reluctance to spend money on things like eating out, drinks out or anything new and having to justify every purchase – no matter how big or small
  3. Being given an allowance for household spending and having to document every aspect of this spending (control tactics)
  4. Not being able to buy new clothes
  5. Then spending large amounts of money and bragging about it to other people
  6. Moving to a remote location, so that one partner has a restricted ability to earn
  7. Money is the mood – everything revolves around money, it underlies everything, every conversation, every decision
  8. Being prepared to spend money initially in the relationship, but then holding back more and more as the years progressed

In the UK this type of behaviour is now recognised as a potential criminal offence and it is crucial if you recognise the signs, within your own relationship or someone else’s that you report it to the police or social services (it would fall under the protection of a vulnerable adult legislation). Financial abuse strips a person of their sense of self, and their personal liberty or freedom. It also commonly occurs with other types of abuse (in over 90% of cases), so it is very important that if you notice the signs – you mention it.

However financial abuse can be very difficult to spot sometimes, or to pinpoint when it started. Then over time, it so invades the relationship that one could be fooled into thinking that behaviour is normal. There are just tiny signs that tip over from normality to abuse. I can speak from experience to say that it can be incredibly hard to bring up with a friend, for this reason – be prepared for them to deny any problem.

References

Unequal, trapped and Controlled. Women’s Refuge. Available from: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/financial-abuse-report/ (Accessed: 12/02/18).

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Things that have gone – 21

It’s always amazes me what you can sell and sometimes you just need to be patient. This week I finally sold something which had been doing the rounds on eBay for more than a year! OK, OK, so I don’t recommend leaving it that long – better to take it to the charity shop and have rid of it.

I also sold some larger items on eBay, which I normally avoid because I think the higher postage costs will put people off. Actually by using a company called MyHermes, I have been able to send them for a reasonable price.

This week I have netted approx £100 and shifted several items. (Sorry don’t have pictures  of every item this week).

  1. Refurbished pram canopy
  2. Vintage jewellery box
  3. 2 piano sheet music books
  4. 2 jars homemade cranberry sauce (unwanted Christmas gifts, donated via Freecycle)
  5. Cassette tape storage box (Freecycled)
  6. Lampshade (Freecycled)
  7. DVD

 

Things that have gone – 20

My decluttering continues in the background. I have sold and given away a few more things.

  1. Vintage skirt
  2. Vintage dress
  3. Free gift from Boots
  4. Clothes rail (Yes, I’ve managed to downsize my clothing that much that I can let go of my additional clothing rail!)
  5. Handheld vacuum cleaner (thought it was worth a try on Freecycle, but was not powerful enough to bother with)
  6. Cardboard boxes
  7. Sewing thread case
  8. Old pram mattress

I’ve also cleared out a storage box and an old lampshade, that if no-none wants on Freecycle – will go to the charity shop.

Stay tuned for my next update!

Get 300 bonus points when you sign up for Swagbucks in February!

 

All throughout February you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 01/03/18. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

3. That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned thousands of pounds to date. Most recently Swagbucks has allowed me to purchase hundreds of pounds worth of baby items, brand new from John Lewis- FOR FREE! Including this car seat.

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Tutorial – How to Make Reusable Baby Wipes

I thought I’d write a quick tutorial on how to make homemade reusable baby wipes. I basically cut up 4-5 old hand towels and edged them with bias binding. Plus, I made some zipped pouches from leftover material scraps and a few pence for zips – have some unlined for clean wipes and some with waterproof lining for dirties. Let’s hope they work! I will report back in a few months.

  1. Cut up your old hand towels. I based my sizing roughly on commercially available microfibre, reusable, towelling wipes. I figured I’d make mine slightly larger, so as not to waste any material and it also meant less cutting! So, as my towels were folded in half, then into quarters and then again into eighths – I went with that and cut each towel into 8 pieces, rectangular in shape.
  2. I purchased a roll of white 25mm bias binding from my local fabric shop and pinned this around the raw edges (half each side of the edge, if you’re new to this). I didn’t need to bind every edge because the towels were already bound when whole.
  3. Then I stitched this in place using my sewing machine. You will need to use a heavy duty or jeans needle for this thickness of fabric. And that’s it – you have your wipes! They will be machine washable and tumble dryable at 60 degrees C, just like they were as towels. I plan on just chucking mine in with the reusable nappies.
  4. I decided to make these fabric cases to put mine in and they should also be very portable, when out and about or travelling. The design comes from a Cath Kidston sewing book (which I was very kindly given for Christmas). I have just made some unlined and some with a waterproof layer of PUL. I will see if I can get a tutorial up for those soon. I used fabric and ribbon scraps that I had leftover from other projects. The only items I had to purchase was a few zips for pence and the PUL fabric. I’ll report back on how they do – I may need to waterproof the seams of the wet bags. If you’re not into sewing, you can buy similar reusable wipes here and wet bags here.

Happy sewing people! Let me know how you get on in the comments.

Swagbucks – The First Swago: Shopping Edition of 2018!

Online rewards site Swagbucks has a smart and fun way for you to earn and save while you spend.  Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards.

If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly. Click here to get started!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 50 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):

  1. Click here to go directly to the Swago Page! If you’re not a member yet, you can join here – it takes 30 seconds. Make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items.
  2. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change colour signifying the action item is complete.
  3. You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely. Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  4. Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely. There’s absolutely no reason for anyone not to get the complete board with this one! So comment below for help, if you’re having any difficulties.
  5. The game ends Friday 26th January at 8pm GMT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Things that Have Gone – 19!

Well, I’ve had another little spot of decluttering. In the last month, I’ve put several items on Freecycle. I let go of a large mirror I inherited from a family member that just didn’t seem to suit any room in our house. We cleared out our garage and I let 2 of these double cupboards go, whilst I refurbished one. I also gave away a whole load of odds and ends of wood. People came to collect pieces for so many different reasons and it was great not to send any of it to landfill.

I sold my Sega Master System II and all its games. I had enjoyed it over the years, but it had sat in a box unused for the last 3 years. So it was time to let someone else enjoy the retro gaming. I also sold a vintage kettle and 2 vintage Laura Ashley dresses. I’ll count the items in lots, so that’s 7 items gone – some of them big bundles.

Are you having a January clear out? Why not comment and tell me what you’re up to?