As gas, electricity, gas and food bills skyrocket, consumers are looking for ways to save money. D-systems, which sometimes save several hundred euros per month. Consumers in Hauts-de-France share their tips on how to spend less while purchasing power is at the heart of the campaign.
Ideas for savings, Ann-Gael offers a bunch of ideas. This single mother lives with her two adult children and receives disability allowance. “I am self-employed, but with 900 euros a month I am in a precarious position. And out of necessity I’m looking for every means to limit the bills“.
Illustrator Anne-Gael mostly works from home in a small rural town in the Oise. Therefore, his car trips are limited to daily needs. “I combine routes as much as possible. For example, I use my son’s doctor’s visit every Monday to drive to a farm store distributor down the road, and so I no longer drive to the market on Saturdays. I also reviewed the car contract with my insurance as part of the mileage missed, mileage reimbursed offers and I adjusted my distances driven.“
We have decided to stop working
While the price of diesel fuel has now reached an average price of 2.06 euros per liter and 2 euros per liter of unleaded gasoline, households are sometimes forced to save on other items of household expenditure. Fab is more radical. “My husband and I decided to stop working. When diesel prices began to rise, we told ourselves that this could not continue. Traveling to work cost us too much. Soon we will pay for the work.“A married couple working on river transport has already reduced their leisure time, now the household internet plan is being turned off.”For us, this is redundant. We no longer eat fresh vegetables. It’s too expensive. We have limited subscriptions to mobile phones, we no longer give gifts to our grandchildren, we no longer buy clothes. We’re back in time“. Their daughter also left. “Fully, every two days, it was no longer possible. We’ll have to live on the state dripDegrowth, a decision many households have made to lower their bills.
To reduce electricity, I light candles in the evening
These reviews belong to internet users collected after our call on the France 3 Nord Pas-de-Calais and France 3 Picardie Facebook pages. The challenge was to collect citizen votes to better know and understand their day-to-day bill-cutting decisions. Among the precarious or middle-class people we interviewed, all have changed their consumption habits to cut fixed costs. And it starts with saving energy. To reduce gas and electricity bills, this is System D.”I turn off the heating at 11 pm in the house and set it to only 18 degrees during the day” explains Marie-Christine.
Sophie turns off all appliances and lights at night. Ann-Gael also restricts consumption. “I lowered the temperature of the boiler, although the three of us are working from home. After cooking, open the oven door wide to take advantage of the heat. We always cover pots with lids to reduce cooking time. For example, for pasta that takes 15 minutes to cook, I turn off the heat after 10 minutes, cover with a cloth, and leave for eight minutes. I also make larger amounts and reheat leftover pasta in a broth such as vegetable broth or miso in the evening. Since we are cold people, heating pads, duvets and wool are our best friends.“.
Katherine is doing well with several organizational changes. “To reduce electricity consumption, I light candles when I eat in the evening when it is dark. And I collect water when I make a washing machine. I put the drain hose in a bucket to clean the tiles and windows.“
Food expenses make up a significant part of the household budget. And they are steadily increasing. On average, a French family allocates 320 euros per month for food. However, the larger the family, the higher the budget. To cut costs, there are several solutions. Planning the menu for the week and following it helps to avoid unnecessary expenses and check the prices per liter or kilogram of food on the shelves. Cecile, restaurant owner, is looking for a promotion: “IYou need to know how to anticipate and have a little upfront to buy in bulk during promotions such as branded detergent which is often cheaper per liter than distributor brands. But you have to buy in bulk. I cook everything at home, so I’m already saving on processed foods.“
Contrary to popular belief, buying fresh produce directly from growers also saves money. And if it’s still too expensive, forays into supermarket trash cans are another way to shop. A solution that grows in cities. “Sometimes I go to department store trash cans because they often throw away food that isn’t expired, and I take the expired food too, but that’s for my chickens. This saves me from buying wheat and corn, which have recently risen in price.” explains Katherine.
In Amiens, volunteers from the anti-gaspi association,es Robin(s) from dumpsters, regularly distribute products extracted from the bins of supermarkets and hypermarkets. The association has also formed partnerships with restaurants, merchants and farmers who distribute food for free. A way to avoid food waste and help families in need.
The Too Good To Go app also allows you to consume differently and cheaper. It connects its users with bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets, and other food service professionals to offer unsold products at discounted prices. After selecting an item from local sellers, all you have to do is pick up your shopping cart at the store.
The Red Cross has very beautiful things in very good condition
Same logic for clothes. The decline is in full swing. The latest clothing store sales balance has declined. And for good reason, destocking, second-hand shopping, and other types of clothing exchanges are big winners in the face of declining household purchasing power. All of the discerning consumers we interviewed are looking for used or low-price items. “IN Red Cross, there are very beautiful things in very good condition, even for shoes. Price from one to three euros” explains Katherine.
And for free clothes, go to the Robines des Bennes thrift stores, organized in Amiens several times a year. Completely free clothing stands are offered to everyone with no income condition.
Secondhand shopping apps are growing in popularity. You can find everything there. Even new. “This allows you to change frequently and, above all, not to spend crazy amounts. I buy everything and find everything. Even underwear and swimwear as we find new ones with tags” adds Emily.
And for those who still prefer to shop, sales are still a good alternative. Like Camille, a single mother who only buys clothes from sales. “In every sale period, I run a lot of upfront. This makes up 90% of my clothing purchases. But this is a headache for my two and a half year old daughter’s clothes. It is necessary to calculate and estimate its future size. Interesting for toys too. And I bet, in particular, on Black Friday, when big brands give big discounts.“
Vanessa has found a way to spend less. She no longer makes purchases with her bank card, but uses gift cards. Since joining the Emrys cooperative, she has been making money from her consumption. “I signed up for this solidarity cooperative in January of last year and since then I have already saved up a lot of money. I buy gift cards or checkbooks on the platform. This automatically triggers credit towards the purchase of my next gift cards. This is a system that works on the principle of loyalty baskets. I count. In five years, you can self-finance purchases“, clarifies Vanessa, 32. The co-op negotiates prices for its customers with various attributes: food, clothing, restaurants, recreation centers, online shopping…
The main problem of French households – purchasing power – lies at the heart of the programs of candidates in the presidential elections. Some of them spoke to Franceinfo in detail about the suggestions they would like to make to improve it.