Sunday, 25 November 2012

# 125 How Poor is Poor?

We're all complaining about rising prices and keeping a tight grip on the purse strings as things sink just that little bit further.

Christmas is just around the corner and just another pressure many of us really don't need right now.

Somewhere along the line most of us have felt the pinch and scrimped on the usual luxuries. But how poor is poor?

I was prompted to write this blog by a ridiculous article I read on xojane the other day about a new arts grad budgeting on unemployment. She couldn't afford Dior foundation. Jesus, really??? My heart BLEEDS. You know the last time I bought anything even remotely that expensive makeup wise. Lancome. June 2003.

I chuckled in disbelief when she said that creative grads have to complete weeks, sometimes months, of unpaid internships. Last I heard it was 1 to 2 years for some. Welcome to the real world. Uni doesn't tell you there is no yellow brick road. And why would it? Noone would ever go if they knew the truth.

I don't count having to ditch your favourite overpriced makeup brand as poor. Not by far. I get really sad when I hear in the news how parents are skipping meals so their children don't go hungry in what is being called the biggest squeeze on household budgets in 60 years - that's about the time rationing ended after WWII for those of you who don't know your British history. It's starting to sound like Victorian working class life.

And it's no wonder when food prices have soared 32% in just 6 years. These are working and middle class families in suburbian Britain today. This is real poverty in homes in your town right now. Families are relying on food banks and charity handouts.

Supermarkets are improving their own brands to take advantage of savvy shoppers (source)

These are terrifying statistics. The price of everything is going up except the value of wages and nothing is reining it in. And so people are forced to cut back on everything, even essentials - heating - food - travel. The basics.

The prohibitive costs of the house market mean many couples will never get themselves on the property ladder. Ironically many who want to split can't because they can't afford to live apart.

Last year statistics suggested 18 million Brits would have to put holiday plans on hold. Even holidays at home were too expensive for many. This year even days out with the kids are out of reach for many.

We are caught between a rock and a hard place. Businesses need to make money, meaning they have to keep shelf prices high, but less and less customers can afford these costs. So instead of putting prices down and making money they sit tight. Some change their selling methods enabling them to lower costs and keep up with the competition. Those that can't go under. And this is happening from small independent shops to huge brands like Comet. But even then efforts to sell stock fast were met with slow sales because their prices still weren't competitive.

Comet's 30% off didn't cut it
We've been in recession for 5 years now. And there is no end in sight. Some predictions suggest we could still be feeling the effects in 10 or even 20 years. Even if it lasts another 5 years, how will it effect you? Can you survive as you are now or will something have to give?

  • One in ten families are skipping meals or relying on charity and hand-outs
  • Mothers are putting their health at risk by eating only every other day
  • Food banks now forced to ration the donations they give to hungry families

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    1 comment:

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