As Scotland continues to recover from the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, the country is braced for further challenges in the shape of increases to the cost of living for all.
With much-publicised increases in our cost of energy, and national insurance grabbing headlines; the most basic and perhaps overlooked expenditures are also increasing including our weekly food shop.
Stepchange a debt charity based in Leeds, West Yorkshire recently said: ‘The elderly are going to be choosing between heating the home up and hot water, and eating a meal.’ While this is the stark reality for many low-income households as well as the elderly, when even the cost of eating a meal also increases; the situation grows even more desperate.
Figures released by the British Retail Consortium show that shop price inflation was the highest it’s been in January 2022 and at 1.5%, inflation is at its highest rate since October 2013. Shop price inflation is lower than the usual inflation known as Consumer Price Inflation, which was 5.5% in January 2022.
Does the weekly food shopping cost really matter?
The weekly food shop only forms part of a larger story, with average prices rising at their fastest rate in 30 years.
Bank of England data shows that households across the UK are putting less into their savings and instead, resorting to borrowing. The Bank of England said that £800m extra was borrowed in December 2021, an increase of 0.8% from November 2021.
The slightest of changes to the cost of living affect those on lower incomes the most, primarily because it’s far easier to cut back on spending without affecting your living standards when you are from a higher income bracket.
The basic cost of energy, for example, impacts those of a lower income bracket more because the energy rates are the same for all, but those costs account for a larger percentage of their monthly expenditure.
However, the difference between solvency and insolvency, or more plainly, our ability to repay our debts isn’t exclusively the difference in income alone. Higher earners may have a disproportionate amount of personal debt to pay off, with credit cards and other forms of borrowing accruing interest. For those individuals, subtle increases in their cost of living can push them beyond their ability to repay their debts also.
What can I do to get more value for my money when I food shop?
The cost of the weekly food shop in Scotland may be alleviated by changing supermarkets. Which? found that a saving of £20 per week could be gained by switching shops. Aldi and Lidl may result in a better value for money weekly food shops compared to Waitrose, Sainsbury’s or even Tesco, or Asda.
Following individuals and groups on social media can help save money also. Feeding a family on £1 a day is a typical example where a working mum prepares meals for struggling parents where a shared meal plan can feed a family of four for 87p per person per day.
Using meal planners and batch cooking can also help you save money by reducing waste and reusing meals. Batch cooking can result in cheaper weekly food shops for Scottish residents but also save time and carry additional benefits such as encouraging healthier eating, and actually batch cooking is kinder for the environment with less plastic packaging and waste.
Food banks are community organisations that can help families most in need. Typically requiring a referral from an organisation such as Citizens Advice Bureau, food parcels can help make the difference. Nationwide food banks such as Trussel Trust cater for people across the whole of the UK but smaller, more regional organisations exist. Find foodbanks in Scotland.
Where can I get help with problem debt in Scotland?
Separate research from Which? also estimated that as many as 9% of UK households may have missed at least one debt repayment or a bill that should have been paid during the early weeks of 2022.
Trust Deed Scotland help people with unaffordable debt in Scotland by providing tailored debt advice and administering formal Scottish debt solutions on behalf of our customers including Protected Trust Deeds and the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) but we also advise on alternatives such as Sequestration; Scotland’s equivalency of bankruptcy.
Whilst a weekly food shop itself, or the rising cost of living, in general, may not be the sole reason someone may seek to enter into a formal debt solution, the reality is that many households are already overwhelmed with problem debt. A call with our experienced debt advice team may allow an individual to understand their options and to find a solution that improves their situation.
Having advised over 25,000 people in Scotland and having gained over 7,000 Scottish debt advice reviews on Trustpilot, you can trust us.
For more information, call today on 0141 221 0999 or try our calculator tool to quickly check if you may be eligible to apply for a formal debt solution.