We are now about a third of the way into 2022 and inflation has just hit 7%, interest rates are 0.75%; petrol is £1.68 and a lot of people have received notification of what the increases in their new utility bills are going to be, and have gone into panic mode.
It is not a good time if you are on a limited budget and savings will need to be made. This is sometimes a daunting thought but analysing your finances and seeing where the cut backs can be made will help, and you may surprise yourself with how much you can save on unnecessary expenditures.
The older generation, in which I include myself, will remember when mortgage interest rates hit 15% and a £50,000 mortgage cost £640 per month. We did not have Netflix or Sky and people gave up smoking and we had no food banks – we simply went without. I say this, not as a badge of honour, but from living it first-hand. I can tell you from personal experience, hiding from the milkman until pay day and never having a spare few quid was not nice, but we cut back everywhere we could.
As Bob Dylan said “The times they are a changing” and just at the moment they are not changing for the better, so we have to ask ourselves how we ride the storm and make plans longer term.
The country, however, is at near to full employment and yet there are still so many vacancies that are not being filled and average pay increases are 4%.
So, what can we do, and who of us are managing to help? Well, I have mentioned food banks, and I am sure that they could do with more donations or deliverers. But what else could we do? Why not offer advice and guidance to those who you know would benefit, child mind or parent sit if you are able to, to enable someone else to go out to work.
Investment markets did well last year and although they were hit in January and February, March was not so bad and April has been pretty flat, so those with a reasonable level of savings have not really seen much, if any, real impact to their lives. Fund values are, after all, up over the last 12 months.
The gap will get wider between the haves and the have not’s and whilst some of us have traversed from one to the other, a little assistance I am sure would be gratefully received.