A mother who works full-time says she barely uses the heating because she is worried about how much it will cost her. Nicky Singh said soaring household bills were making it difficult to get by, even though she and her husband both have full-time jobs.
The mum-of-one from Sutton Coldfield said her struggles made her worry about how pensioners, people in low-income jobs and on benefits would survive the current cost of living crisis.
Families are beginning to feel the pain of rocketing bills. Energy bills are soaring at an average of £ 700 a year from this month, while council tax and National Insurance has also been hiked for millions as food and petrol prices remain high with inflation at a 30-year high.
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Mrs Singh, 43, who works as a contract manager in the aerospace industry, said: “Honest to god, since January I’m paying around £ 245 a month on gas and electric. It’s getting difficult to survive because if we have to pay a chunk of money towards gas and electric that’s not just the only factor.
“I’ve got a child at home and I’ve almost completely switched off the heating since March. I know I can not afford it. You’re looking at your digital reading, the bill’s shooting up £ 10 when you’ve used the heater for like three hours of the day.
“It is really, really concerning. Apart from gas and electric, the phone bill has gone up, average shopping for three people is like £ 55 a week, now it costs around £ 70-75 a week. Petrol is also going up. “
It means, as much as possible, the heating is left off as Mrs Singh, who has been married to hotel manager husband Chi for 17 years and has a 13-year-old son, is worried her rocketing energy bills could leave her struggling to afford food.
She said: “We have jumpers on at home. All the windows are closed, it’s not really a healthy living situation. We do switch on the heating sometimes in the evening, when my husband is home.
“When I’m working at home alone, even if it’s freezing, I’m wearing two jumpers but the heating is off. He has started calling me crazy. I never used to worry about switching off the lights.
“If I have to pay £ 245 on gas and electric, what will we live on? We need food. Without heating we can still manage but we need food and with a child, his schooling, his books, that’s more important.
“We’ve had to cut down, cancel our subscriptions as a family, reduce our phone bills. I know money is going to be tight. The bills are going up, we have to cut down.”
Using the heating as little as possible, putting on extra layers, switching lights off – these extreme actions will be being replicated in thousands of homes up and down the country and it shows just how anxious families are about the impact of soaring bills.
Mrs Singh added: “I’m not kidding, we’re earning a good amount for three people, it’s really difficult to survive at the end of the month with bills going up. I’m thinking of finding another job so we can go on holiday. I have not had a holiday since 2020, I can not afford them because all I am doing is paying bills. “
The mum is eager to point out she understands she’s fortunate to be in a two-job household and she says it makes her wonder how people worse off are supposed to manage.
“It’s worrying. I’m working full time. People who are not working, people who are old, people living on pensions, think about those.”