Mums expect financial pressures to continue in 2013 and feel that a difficult Christmas is ahead
The latest Asda Mumdex report, based on 5,500 mums found that only one in 10 mums said the news about the UK coming out of recession made them feel more positive about the UK economy. Two thirds predict it will get worse still in 2013.
My son, Quinlan, began primary school last year and, as a single mum, I thought that would mark the time I could begin to get back into regular employment and begin building a more solid foundation for both of us. However, with my lack of flexibility around childcare, a job that fits in with my commitments is very difficult to come by, even living in a large city like Sheffield. I’m still looking for a job but in the meantime I decided to start my own crafts business, which is hard work, but allows me to work around my son, at times that suits me.
I am working towards an Open University degree and would ideally like to find a role in customer service, but jobs are so competitive round here and a lack of experience in this area and my childcare commitments make it difficult.
Where I live is what I call ‘white van land’, there are lots of small local businesses, like builders and plumbers and the majority of jobs tend to be more manual than academic. This recession is really biting working class people and has been for years now. People talk as though everyone in the country had loads of money before the recession, but that simply wasn’t true – most people were just about doing OK, and now they are really struggling.
From my point of view it is the increase in bills that is causing me the biggest headaches. Five years ago, my gas and electric bill was about £50 a month, but now it is over £90 – and my house is small and is insulated to the hilt.
I would love to see just one politician come and live with me on my income and benefits for just a week, and then they might really have some understanding of how difficult it is making ends meet.
Mums feel that the Olympics and Jubilee have injected the national mood with a shot of optimism with six out of 10 mums saying the events made them proud to be British.
The Olympics and the Jubilee were great occasions and I think they gave people a real lift during the summer. I took my son to see the torch go through Chapeltown and watched loads of it all on TV – it was nice but the feeling was very temporary. I don’t think there are any more jobs as a result. I can’t see things improving much – not for people on small incomes anyway – and it is a shame that politicians seem to live in another world to the rest of the country.
A tough year means that 45% of mums will be spending less on Christmas this year. 46% will spend less on Christmas decorations, 39% will spend less on their spouse and one in 10 won’t send Christmas cards.
Despite everything, you have to try and make Christmas special – particularly for my son. People have definitely become better at budgeting over the last few years – Christmas is a difficult time if you don’t have much money as all you see are adverts for toys and presents, but I think people still want it to be as magical time as possible. Next year is going to be tough enough for people so they want to have as much fun as they can over Christmas, and I guess that means making the best of what you have.
Heather Wingfield lives in Chapeltown, Sheffield with her five year old son.
The Mumdex panel is a subsection of Asda’s Pulse of the Nation panel, made up of just over 5,500 female Asda shoppers, all with kids, across a broad spectrum of socioeconomic groups, regions and ages.
Tagged in: Asda, christmas, mumdex, olympics, open university, recession, Uk economy
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