Rich House Poor House mum too poor to buy carpets swaps £143 weekly budget for £3300 – and blows £126 on one bottle of wine
Category : Fabulous
A STRUGGLING single mum who is too poor to carpet her house had a festive shock when she traded places with a millionaire family in the Rich House Poor House Christmas Special.
Tanya Buck and her three children – Dylan 16, Faith, 10 and three-month-old baby Esme – swapped her three-bed council house in Basingstoke for a five-bedroom Farnham mansion for a week.
Tanya with Faith, Dylan and baby Esme outside their Basingstoke houseHat Trick Productions
The part time cleaner, who survives on £142.80 a week, was stunned when she counted out the weekly disposable income of private investigator Noel Hogan and his artist wife Lisa – totalling £3,300.
She said: “People don’t have this money much do they? A week?
“That is half my year’s earnings. What do they do for a living because I want to do it?”
Money is so tight for Tanya that putting food on the table is hard enough so there’s little money for Christmas presents.
She said: “Christmas is a struggle but I go in to debt for it because I have all year to pay it off.
Amber, Noal, Lisa and Aysha Hogan in their five bedroom mansionHat Trick Productions
“Maybe that’s stupid and irresponsible but as a mother you want to give your kids the best you can.”
But with over £3k in her pocket, the delighted mum-of-three wasn’t holding back.
She splashed out on a fancy French restaurant – trying snails for the first time – and joyfully chose a 9ft Christmas tree for the living room at a cost of £120.
She laid on a Christmas feast of turkey and all the trimmings and visited Noel’s favourite wine merchant, where she splurged £126 on a three litre bottle of wine for Christmas dinner.
Unlike the Hogan’s £1.9million mansion, Tanya’s home has bare wooden floors and wallpaper ripped off most of the wall but, to her, it means everything.
The family spent four years in temporary accommodation and this is the first Christmas in a permanent home.
Tanya said: “This house is a home. It’s got four walls, a roof and a front door that works.
“We’ve been through a lot. We had to live in a B&B for six weeks. You feel like you’ve failed them. This is the first home we’ve felt safe and secure in.”
Dylan added: “I definitely think that all the bumps in the road and everything we’ve been through have made me and my mum a lot closer and my mum and my sister close. I’m a real mummy’s boy.”
Tanya takes presents to the homeless charity to help those who are in the position she was in last yearHat Trick Productions
The family are incredibly close and in heartwarming scenes, the two older children hug their mum when she breaks down over their past homelessness.
Tanya said: “As a mum I felt terrible. As a mum you’re supposed to feed and clothe them and give them somewhere to live. It’s soul-destroying. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I think I’ll ever do.”
Dylan recalled his first night in the B&B, with three of them sharing a room.
He said: “I couldn’t sleep. It was a houseful of strange people, you don’t know what they’re like and there’s not even a lock on the door.”
Tanya said: “Last Christmas was not good at all. I hope the kids didn’t pick up on it but I was really stressed and I had a lot on my mind.
“Christmas is a financially stressful time anyway but then to find out at Christmas that we had to move and you’re having a baby…
“This Christmas is completely and utterly the opposite end of the spectrum. This is going to be one Christmas we’ll never ever forget.”
Noel said: “This time last year we spent Christmas in temporary accommodation. It will be good to see how the other half lives. “
Faith added: “I’m looking forward to living in a house with carpets so I don’t get any splinters.”
After settling into the spacious mansion, Tanya indulged in some Christmas shopping, treating the kids to a mountain of gifts.
She said: “People are looking at me because I’ve got so many bags.
The Hogans used the artificial tree and tinsel found in Tanya’s cupboard to decorate the living room of the council houseHat Trick Productions
She said: “I’m going into nice shops and looking at the size not the price. It’s the best feeling. I want to do this every Christmas.”
But she didn’t forget those who are still suffering, the way her family had been the previous year.
She said: “We’ve bought some gifts for homeless families. Some games, toys and chocolates.
“It’s easy to see the sleeping bags in doorways but there are a lot of homeless kids in B&Bs, up and down the county. They’re the forgotten homeless.
“It’s nice to let them know we are thinking about them.”
Noel and Lisa and their two children Amber, 21, and Aysha, 18, normally spend Christmas in Thailand.
Having both grown up on council estates, they thought they were better prepared than most for the swap.
But they were shocked at the state of décor in Tanya’s home.
Walking into the house, Noel said: “It will be good for the girls to see how I grew up. I’ve gone back in time to my childhood.
“It really reminds me of where I grew up, almost the same layout.”
The Bucks have been brought closer by their troublesHat Trick Productions
But he added: “I really can’t believe that someone with three kids is living in a house with no carpet whatsoever in 2018. It’s unbelievable.”
There were more surprises when they counted the weekly budget of £142.80
He said: “That’s £20 a day which has to all go on food.
“I don’t know what we’d do if we had to buy nappies or anything else. I don’t know how she manages.”
The couple were moved to tears by a trip to the food bank, where the manager revealed that demands quadruple at Christmas.
Noel said: “You can’t help but be moved by seeing people coming on their last hope to get food for their children. But when they turn up there they are treated with kindness and people who say ‘you’re in trouble, we’ll look after you.’ We need organisations like that.”
At the end of the show daughter Amber also broke down in tears over the plight of the Buck family.
She said: “I’ve never been not grateful but I’m even more grateful now. It just shouldn’t be that hard for people.”
But Tanya and her three children return to a special festive surprise from the Hogans and they are over the moon.
And she reveals the whole experience has left her with a positive outlook.
She said: “At Christmas you realise what’s important and it’s love and family. Things like that yo can’t buy.
“Money isn’t what makes a person. It’s your morals, your work ethic. This has revitalised me and it’s made me think about how I can push my business forward.”
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In October, a single mum on the show broke down in tears after surprising teen daughter with first laptop.
Last year viewers were left in tears after vets in Rich House Poor House paid off a struggling family’s £11,000 debt.
Rich House, Poor House Christmas Special airs on Channel 5 at 9pm on Boxing Day