‘I live off peanut butter sandwiches to afford bills – my clothes now hang off me’

Laura March has never been one for extravagance and has always been cautious with her money. However, due to the substantial spike in the cost of living, the 72-year-old has confessed to missing meals and surviving on cheese or peanut butter sandwiches for supper.

It was reported last month that when the economic crisis strikes, buyers may expect to pay up to 60% more for goods.

Prices for ordinary commodities such as fish, fruit, pasta, and bread have risen so substantially in the last year that battles are breaking out in the aisles over discounted foods, and poor families can’t even afford to cook their meals due to skyrocketing energy expenses.

Laura, who lives in Canterbury and has six adult children ranging in age from 35 to 50, expressed that she is “truly struggling.” She just has the basic pension and pension assistance. She has never been able to afford extravagance, she does not smoke or drink, and considers herself to be quite cautious with her money.

She used to be able to subsist by being thrifty, but that is at present becoming difficult. She used to think breakfast was an essential meal, but now she realizes she can’t afford three meals a day. She waits until late in the morning to have a single Weetabix with milk, which should keep her going until supper.

Although she used to make meat and vegetables for supper, today she can only afford a sandwich, usually cheese and tomato, but occasionally peanut butter. Laura is doing her best to keep to her weekly shopping budget of £25; however, as a result, she is eating and enjoying food considerably less.

She expressed that she is genuinely scared about how this will influence her health. At first, she was hungry, however she simply had to get accustomed to it. She seldom weighs herself, but one of her sons just got her a size 12 jacket that was too big for her, even though she is generally a size 14.

Laura, who is divorced and lives alone, did not expect the increase in energy expenditures to have such an impact on her. She adds that she heard gas and electricity were going up, but she mistakenly believed she would be fine as she doesn’t use that much.

She thinks she was quite foolish to think like that. She pays as she goes since it’s the most cost-effective method for her to manage, but it looks to have quadrupled this month, from £10 a week to well over £20.

She is simply pleased summer is here so she can save money on heating. When winter arrives, she will cross that bridge when she gets to it. Laura has always hoped to be able to provide financial assistance to her family, but she is no longer able to do so.

She explained that she is sure there are a lot of individuals significantly worse off than her. She knows some families are struggling, and so many individuals are in the same situation. She hopes to cross that bridge when she gets there.


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