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Whilst I totally support our government helping Ukraine defend itself against the invading Russians, things in this country have also gone from bad to worse. With rising prices in every area it's getting quite difficult and this winter is set to be one of the toughest for a long time.
I am currently on Universal Credit whilst I try to start a business and one that isn't faring particularly well as it is related to the hospitality industry. Having already taken a serious blow with Covid19 many of these businesses are either struggling or have given up altogether. Everyone, including me has hoped that we'll turn a corner soon and things will get better but I'm not feeling very optimistic at the moment. At the beginning of the year the numbers were going up, but since February they're just going down. There are a lot of factors such as energy costs, the Ukraine conflict etc. It's almost a perfect storm.
We're pretty savvy in our household and generally only buy stuff that's affordable and save money where we can. Some of the most recent cost cutting measures are too embarrassing to elaborate on here. However, we make use of our community shop which has been set up for people on low incomes and it helps a lot. It's not a food bank and you pay a fixed amount, but there are a lot of donated products at reasonable prices and some free things such as fruit and vegetables. It was difficult for me to swallow my pride and use the service at first, but there was no other way.
Shopping for food at reduction time is the norm and planning meals on what's available rather than what we'd like. Food is all home cooked and we don't eat ready meals or junk. It's actually cheaper to eat like that anyway and if I fancy a takeaway I make it. I've noticed in the last month or so that the shelves are empty quicker and I think it's because more people are doing the same thing as the prices go up.
Conserving energy has also become an important daily routine and it takes a bit more effort to save money there because it's far too easy to slip into old habits and leave something plugged in. When it comes to heating we're okay for the moment because it's the summer, but winter will be here before you know it and I expect it to be more difficult than last year. During lockdown I used my plant pot heater with lard candles and I expect it'll be back out again when it gets cold.
Unless something profound happens I think a lot of people will have to decide whether to eat or heat this winter. I'd be keen to hear what others think. How do you cope and what can we do?
By: Eternal Optimist