‘I only cook once a week amid cost of living crisis – it’s just like the 1950s’

Source > Mirror

By Annie Owen & Sara Odeen-Isbister

16 May 2022, 19:11 BST

A pensioner struggling to cope with the cost of living says the first thing she thinks about when she gets up is ‘what can’t I do in the house?’

As the cost of living soars, a pensioner fears many like her will have adopt the “make-do and mend” approach, which her parents and other families used when she was growing up in post-war Britain.

Sandra, who lives in Rhyl, Wales believes has shared a raft of ideas to make ends meet, from cooking once a week to lighting her home with solar energy.

Speaking to North Wales Live, she said: “For people of my generation, making do with what you’ve got is second nature because we’ve done it for so long.

“You get up in the morning and the first thing you think about is what you can’t do in the house, whereas if you’ve got loads of money you can put the heating on, be warm, and do as you please. I think people are going to have to go back to the fifties and to how people lived then.”

Now in her seventies, Sandra says she’s had to make savings wherever she can to make her retirement pot stretch. This includes using solar lights to save on the electricity, which she charges during the day.

The solar lighting Sandra uses to light her home
The pensioner uses solar energy to light her home ( Image: North Wales Live)

Pensioner Sandra, who is cutting back to save money
Sandra believes many will have to return to the post-war approach of ‘make-do and mend’ ( Image: North Wales Live)

She also buys cheap wool, knitting things like draught excluders and hot water bottle covers, and only cooks once a week to save on fuel. She explained: “I only cook once a week, I fill the oven and then distribute it around my plastic dishes and freeze them, so I’ve got most of my week’s food done.

“If I’m boiling carrots and potatoes I’ll put them in the same pan and do two days’ worth so I don’t have to put the hob on again. You can think that it’s a shame to live like this, but that’s pointless.

“You just have to get on with it, there’s nothing else you can do. The only thing I can do is apply my knowledge to make those savings because even saving a pound in a week adds up and can make a difference in the end.”

Although she takes a practical approach to money-saving and doesn’t like to dwell on things, Sandra is saddened by the current climate.

Sandra has knitted draft excluders to keep out the cold air
Sandra has knitted draft excluders to keep out the cold air ( Image: North Wales Live)

Wooly items to keep warm
Wooly items to keep warm ( Image: North Wales Live)

She said: “For me, I never had luxurious things, so I’m used to it, but children should be able to be warm and well-fed but now some children aren’t missing out on that.

“Personally I don’t drink or smoke and never have, but I never thought I’d be so poor in my old age. I’ve worked my whole life from when I was 15, and it is hard work sometimes not being able to use things in the house.

“It’s very worrying for everybody at the moment. Everybody is trying to save and make ends meet.”

Despite her concerns, Sandra remains hopeful for the future and thinks others could benefit from her savvy approach. “I have loads of saving ways and I think other people on very poor incomes could use them too.

Sandra has shared her wisdom
Sandra has shared her wisdom ( Image: North Wales Live)

“It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but each little saving adds up to a bit more and there are lots of things out there. If you’re disabled for example, you might be able to get a discount on council tax, it’s just knowing where to look.

“And there are lots of changes you can make, like cooking pizzas at home instead of buying them. I’ve knitted myself a water bottle cover and it’s amazing how much you can knit with just £1 worth of wool.”

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