As the cost of living weighs heavily on our minds, columnist Grace Victory explores the pressures on parents and her personal tips for budgeting when you have growing offspring.
I think it’s fair to say that most of us feel financially precarious at present. Whether you’re literally going through every month, a nursing student trying to make ends meet, or a mother trying to get back to work but childcare costs get in the way, the rising cost of living affects us all.
I grew up poor. I grew up knowing about payday loans and child allowance, and I understood from an early age that if I wanted anything out of life, I had to go out into the world and grab it, because nothing was wrong with me. was given.
We lived in an apartment in a housing project, then a housing project, and at 18, after finishing my studies, I chose to work rather than continue my studies. I knew I needed money and had to contribute in some way to my family home, so I said no to college or professional musical theater school (which was really a dream of mine). And while I don’t regret my decision at all, I often wonder if I would have made that choice if my family and I had had financial freedom.
I don’t remember ever being without it, but I do remember my mom budgeting, saving from January to pay for the next Christmas, and never buying anything for herself . I believe my mother sacrificed a lot to make sure my sister and I were clothed and fed, and I will be forever grateful to her. I know all types of family dynamics, but single moms don’t have it easy in any capacity, so I respect those who go it alone.
I started making money from social media in 2015 and since then with each passing year I am earning more and more. It’s no secret that influencers, content creators, and YouTubers earn a substantial sum through ads, paid partnerships, or affiliate links – I’m no different. But I often have trouble knowing where I am in my identifybecause I grew up with very little, and now I have so much.
And it’s not just about having the money to buy things, it’s about the opportunities, convenience, and mental relief that come when your bank account is plentiful. It’s the lack of worry or anxiety that I’m grateful for, because early in my career I struggled to pay my rent, and the level of stress I felt was enough to make me vomit. I saw people online flying business class to Bali while I was sinking deeper into debt.
I am very proud to say that I now have £0 in debt, which is truly amazing, and I have made a life for myself and my children that is different from the life I had as a child. But I’m also becoming more and more aware of our ever-changing world and the fact that money just doesn’t seem to be going as far as it used to – or as far as it should.
I am fully aware that I am speaking from a privileged place here. I am financially stable, earn money regularly and even though I set a budget each month, I know that some months I can be indulgent and provide myself or my family with things we would like. But even I’m a little worried that the energy bills keep going up, the grocer’s apparently going up £20 every week, and the price of petrol too – I could go on! Every aspect of everyday life costs so much, and if I feel this ever-increasing burden, I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety that people less financially privileged experience, including people close to me, like my mother. .
I don’t live a particularly glamorous life, but rarely worrying about money is definitely one of my biggest blessings, but that’s slowly changing, and I have to adapt and change some aspects of how we live in family, for factor in the current state of the UK.
I’m tightening my budget even more and making sure I know exactly where each book is going.
I do our weekly grocery shopping where there are the best deals or discounts (this week it was Ocado because they had £15 off, plus their usual savings).
I cancel subscriptions and apps I no longer use, and unsubscribe from emails so I don’t get tempted to overspend.
I buy things like diapers, wipes and toilet paper in bulk because it’s cheaper that way.
I usually don’t spend money on clothes (unless it’s maternity leggings because my bump is bigger LOL).
I opt for free, discounted or cheap family outings.
I check my bank account every other day, just to make sure I know where I am with my spending habits.
These are just a few of the things I do to help ease the pressure, but at the end of the day, if you don’t have more money coming in than you are taking out, you’re going to struggle. I’m angry and frustrated that so many people are put in horrible situations (especially during the winter), and all because of greedy white men in suits and an absolutely disastrous government – and it’s me who am nice.
I also donate plus size clothing and baby items to charity, toys to local playgroups, and donate food to food banks.
Love Grace x