Vicky Whitwell opens the fridge to get a snack for her kids. “We don’t have much in our fridge,” she says, gesturing at the half-empty shelves. “It’s the waste. We can’t afford to throw food in the trash.’
Vicky lives in Coventry with her husband and two children, 11-year-old Chloe and Charlie, 9. She has her own business and works in a care home to supplement her income. Her husband works for John Lewis.
“We’ve got good revenue, but it’s just budgeting around what could happen, what could happen, what happens,” she says.
“If you go from refueling a car for £70 to £130, that’s double – nobody could have foreseen that.”
Cooking pasta at home with the kids, Vicky thinks about how different summer vacation is for them this year.
“If I’m honest, I’d just like to be able to spend a day out like I used to, without looking at the bank balance, seeing what’s coming in, what’s going out, what might happen in the winter.
“Because the income that comes into the house goes into bills and everything else, because everything just gets more and more expensive.”
They used to have an annual family vacation, but not this year.
“We haven’t planned a holiday. In 2018 we went to Portugal and Croatia, in 2019 we holidayed in the UK. We haven’t taken a holiday since COVID just because the money isn’t there.
“We went to a farm for the weekend over the weekend — that’s all we have planned at the moment, just because we need to make sure we have the money to live on when we get to October, November.”
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Her main priority is still trying to maintain payments for the children’s activities. “He’s a swimmer and a football player,” she says, gesturing at Charlie. “She’s a dancer and a musician,” she says, pointing to Chloe.
“Music lessons are the most expensive, but it’s what keeps her mental health where it is and keeps her happy, so you do what you do for your kids.”
Her biggest fear is rising energy bills. “You just look at what you have for the winter, because then it will affect us.
“Right now we have sun, we don’t use the heating. But we all know that winters are cold and of course the children need to be kept warm.”