TESTIMONIALS – Despite state aid, many French people continue to struggle to make ends meet.
“Every month I spend 300 euros more than what I earn“. Like Paul, 38, many French people find it difficult to finish their months balanced. Whether because of excessive spending or, on the contrary, too low income, managing their budget has become a real headache. 15% of people questioned as part of the 15th edition of the Ipsos / Secours populaire poverty barometer, published on September 9, say they live in the open, and 34% that their income just allows them to make ends meet. On average, the French estimate that they lack 467 euros every month to live comfortably, according to the 10th Cofidis purchasing power barometer, carried out by the CSA and published on September 16.
“I avoid going out at night after work to avoid being tempted to buy unnecessary things», Explains Aymeric, 25, a work-study student in Annecy. His monthly salary of 1,040 euros plus the 250 euros in state aid is barely sufficient to cover his constrained expenses such as rent, food and the costs of his vehicle: “compulsory to go to work“. As a result, the slightest expense must be considered, anticipated: “Even going to the hairdresser is complicated», Admits the student, who must sometimes deprive himself of this service, however basic. A fragile situation, where even the extras are used to cover constrained expenses: “I had to use my thirteenth month to overhaul my vehicle. If there is a breakdown, I don’t know what to doHe breathes.
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Difficult ends of the month are not the prerogative of low wages. Many French people find themselves in difficulties because their expenses exceed their income. This is the case of Paul, 38, “I have always been very expensive, I used to borrow money from banks, family, friends … I did not care too much about repayment“. A lifestyle for which he is now paying the consequences: “I have a decent salary, but because of my credits and the recent arrival of a baby, my expenses have become too important. I still have reservations but I don’t want to use them like thisHe worries. Rather than reducing his expenses, Paul seeks more to increase his income: “I asked my company if I could work one more day a week. Otherwise I’ll find a second job for the weekend“.
Take back control of your spending
These precarious times, where every unexpected expense can throw you into a downward spiral, are naturally extremely stressful for those who experience them. Like Violette *, barista in Bordeaux, who saw her fragile financial balance shattered at the beginning of the summer, when she suddenly had to increase her health expenses: “I ended the month uncovered, then the following months were used to fill the gap, but did not allow me to meet my expenses», Explains the young woman. To this daily stress, we had to add that of: “having to say no to all my friends who offered to go outShe adds. A difficult period but which is bearing fruit: “I should be able to make up some of my overdraft this month», She rejoices, relieved.
The Covid crisis has also brought many economically fragile people into a precarious situation. This is the case of Luc, 28, who found himself almost without money during the first confinement. Indeed, at the beginning of 2020 he decided to spend all his savings to realize his dream, to embark on painting and sell his works on canvas or on supports such as bags, cushions … Two months later, everything was closed because of the Covid. . “I was hoping for a quick start, so I had stocks and could not sell them», He explains disappointed.
A return of inflation
The vigorous economic recovery made possible by the improvement in the health situation risks being a sham for the French. If the reopening of many companies has allowed a resumption of hiring, prices are on a lasting upward trend. Gas has reached historic records, electricity is close to 80 euros per megawatt hour on the wholesale market, against 46 euros last year and the trend is the same for gasoline.
These trends fuel the feeling that “everything increases», As emphasized by the people questioned in the context of the Cofidis purchasing power barometer. And complicate the lives of those who are already in a fragile situation. Brigitte, a 64-year-old retiree, makes the bitter observation: “a few years ago the shopping cart for the week for two cost around 90 euros, today it is around 120 euros and the income has not increased accordinglyShe squeaks. If, for the moment, it has not needed to change its consumption habits, the current trend could force it to reduce or even eliminate certain expenditure items.
* The first name has been changed