There is a very interesting article on the BBC News website today, asking 'How Little Money Can a Person Live On?' I certainly score a massive fail on the £12 per week to eat healthily part - though the article does concede that the actual cost would probably be double that if people are not confident in the kitchen or don't have the necessary equipment. I am fairly confident in the kitchen and probably have all necessary equipment but I still can't manage to feed myself on only £12 per week.
Transport costs would also be impossible here in Bristol. I see the article cites that a four-mile single trip can cost as much as £2.20 in the North East. I've got news for them, a single trip that is no more than a mile costs £2.20 in Bristol!! Yup, our bus fares here are shockingly expensive - much more so than for the same transport company (First) than they were in Essex. There is a 'Fares Fair' campaign underway in Bristol to try and get the bus fares brought down to a more reasonable level. We can only hope that the campaign succeeds.
I do much better with the clothing side of things as I don't think I spend the average of £4.80 per week on clothing - approx. £250 per year. I can't remember that last time I bought anything new to wear (though did have some new knickers and socks for Christmas and two new bras for my birthday last year.)
I also don't spend anything like the £11.50 per week average on takeaways or restaurant meals and alcohol - though I did have to buy a bottle of red wine last week for cooking purposes (cheapest I could find was £3.99 from the corner shop.)
I don't have a pet (though Mum's cat Lily is a pretty good substitute), the car is off the road at the moment, and I only have a cheapo pay-as-you-go mobile phone which I bought five years ago for a tenner. I still couldn't live on £53 per week and I pity the poor souls who have to.
Anyway, have a look at the article and see what you think? Some of the statements really annoyed me - this one for example
'Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke has called for a welfare cash card to ensure
that benefits are spent on "essential" items only - food, housing, transport,
clothing and energy.
They would be prohibited from spending the money on "luxury" goods such as
Sky TV, cigarettes and alcohol - items which "hard-working families" have to cut
back on when money is tight.'
But then a Tory, who's probably never had to worry about money in his life, would come out with a crass statement like that, wouldn't he?