Mums expect financial pressures to continue in 2013 and feel that a difficult Christmas is ahead

Heather Wingfield
mumdex 300x225 Mums expect financial pressures to continue in 2013 and feel that a difficult Christmas is ahead

Heather Wingfield with her son Quinlan

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.

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  • Andrea Maxson Roddy

    Seems to me, it’s the same, no matter what country you live in!

  • Dobbin_the_Wonder_Horse

    The writer is a single mother, not working and living on benefits.She has somewhere to live and is able clothe and feed herself and her son. She should count herself lucky. Why should she expect others to subsidise her existence?

  • Serenityjunkie

    we are all finding it hard, a little compassion for others goes a long way….

  • Aman Þórr Þunraz Sandhu

    I think what is missing is some common decency and compassion on the part of many people across the country. Single mother’s have it hard enough as it is…and any help the government can provide is good for the future of the country and families in difficulty. This is a genuine british citizen who is struggling to make ends meet and to support and raise a child. You would think there would be better comments than “she should count herself lucky…should she expect others to subsidise her existance.” There are other people out there who thrive on benefits but aren’t even UK citizens nor working. You should target your anger at them.

  • purpledragonalso

    She doesn’t. She’s studying and trying to start a business. Seems to me she’s doing all she can to improve her situation. We should wish for her success not criticise!

  • And789

    Because we live in a thing called ‘Society’. by helping her raise her son in a decent manner we are building a better future for all of us. Her son is part of our future.

  • Kate

    With the exception of train fares/petrol to visit relatives, which is admittedly expensive, Christmas is largely free. Okay you still need to eat, but you don’t need to gorge. The consumer rubbish is also entirely optional. Sing some carols, read a Christmas story, go for a walk in the crisp air etc. Or you could instead choose to buy all the overpriced plastic rubbish made by third world child slaves (for the profit of huge corporations) and then complain about how hard YOUR life is. Boo hoo!

  • Lucy Isabella Goose

    It’s worse in spain!

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