“I can’t give my children everything”

Whole or half loaf. Not cheese and sausage as extras, but one in the basket. Or that jam box that Shirley and her three kids can use for a longer time. These are sharp choices that a single person in Apeldoorn has to contend with given the sharply rising cost of living. “As a nanny, I earn well around 3,500 euros per month. But saving between 500 and 700 euros per month is no longer an option.”

puzzle mode

Like Shirley, many Dutch people have to keep a close eye on their spending. “One in three households has to adjust their spending pattern,” says Arjan Fligenthart, director of the National Institute for Budget Information (NEBOD). Half of them belong to the middle class. These are roughly families with a group income of up to €60,000 and are not covered by compensation plans. “The group that has gone through a reasonably stress-free life, has room in the budget and doesn’t fall into debt immediately in the event of a relapse.”

However, the home notebook is now a problem for this group. Because of the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the associated inflation of more than 10 percent, there was no margin left in the portfolio. They realize that the high costs are not temporary. If it continues like this, the savings account will be empty after a while and still not work. Suddenly they have to make decisions so that they can solve the financial puzzle every month.”

double rate

What are these families related to? Shirley explains the impact of higher prices on her monthly budget. “In my rented house it is as warm indoors as it is outside. In winter I use stoves because electricity is cheaper than gas. In summer, the air conditioner keeps the temperature tolerable. Although I also use less due to other measures, it has increased My monthly price is from 160 to 400 euros.”

Then the fuel costs. Shirley drives a passenger van that takes two of her children with her to receive special education outside of Apeldoorn. A weekly refueling now costs her about 100 extra euros a month. Shirley says she’ll lose an extra 50 euros a week if she doesn’t adjust shopping for both her host family and children.

Broadcasting and false eyelashes services

Stephanie de Vries lives in Forrest. As a budget trainer, she helps residents of Apeldoorn, Deventer and Zutphen have a financially healthy family. Middle-class people often knock on her door. What amazes her: “Families that generate a good income, but find it difficult to put well-being aside because of high energy prices.”

She’s the first to make a list of fixed expenses, because they’re always underestimated: “Seven subscriptions to streaming services, is that much needed? Why sign up for a gym when you can run outside for free? Is a monthly pedicure or false eyelashes treatment necessary at a salon?” Cosmetics or the outside world?

She continued: “A cheap phone subscription of 20 euros per month is structurally overrun? Then it is better to have a more expensive subscription that becomes cheaper every month. Many people are also over-insured or have a second expensive car. I can usually save between 300 and 500 euros. per month, which is a lot of money.”

Stephanie de Vries of Forest is the budget trainer.Statue of Stephanie de Vries

Save regularly

“We find it hard to adjust our lifestyle,” says Fligenthart of Nypod. “While walking you feel in your wallet a lot faster and that can hurt. For example, if the neighbors are doing winter sports and you can’t. When dealing with money, we are more emotional than we think. How rich we feel depends largely on the environment. Social “.

Paul Schindeling emphasizes that adaptation is a matter of perseverance. He is an economist and follows the principle of “sufficient living” with his wife. “Our economy is designed in such a way that many products break down faster than is absolutely necessary and that consumers spend far more money than is necessary to replace. For five years now, we have been looking to see if we can systematically save by purchasing products with a longer life.” .

His findings: “After five years, we’re 10 percent cheaper across the board. It’s about electrical appliances, household appliances, clothes, and carpets. When you buy it, they’re more expensive, but the shelf life is two to three times that. It takes some research, But it seems to be paying off within a few years. Also from an environmental point of view.”

Paul’s advice: “Start gradually and buy only when you need something new. Don’t immediately turn the whole family upside down. Try to stick to your New Year’s resolution on 80 percent of purchases. Being completely consistent is hard, and if you don’t succeed, you give up faster. “.

Paul Schindeling is an economist and works for the management consulting firm Berenschot.  Jaap Schurmann's photo

Paul Schindeling is an economist and works for the management consulting firm Berenschot.Jaap Schurmann’s photo

innovative solutions

Shirley emphasizes that adjusting her lifestyle is a setback, but it’s not an impossible task: “Until a few years ago I was working on debt restructuring. I know what it’s like to convert every cent and think ten times what you spend money on. But I miss going to the store and spoiling my kids without worrying.” On whether I can afford it. I feel like I’m back to square one.”

“I see candy and a bag of chips as a luxury that isn’t a necessity in and of itself,” she continues. “The two young men walk into a volume area for their phone subscription. They are very aware of the situation we are in and are thinking about it, but to me it feels like limited parenting. I can’t give my children what I want to give them when the reason is beyond my control.”

At the same time, it makes it creative. “It pays to drive to Germany regularly. I can satiate here cheaper and it is cheaper to buy large quantities of meat products, soft drinks and large diaper packs. In the Netherlands, for example with dishwashing liquid, you can save money in the more expensive supermarkets” “If you compare the price to the content. I learned that in debt counseling…”

Appearances can be deceiving, Shirley van den Berg of Apeldoorn Notes.  It is cheaper for some products in the supermarket with an expensive picture.

Appearances can be deceiving, Shirley van den Berg of Apeldoorn Notes. It is cheaper for some products in the supermarket with an expensive picture. “Did you learn in the field of debt counseling…”Martin Sprung statue

Two tips from a budget coach

In addition to fixed costs, you also have to keep volatile expenses in check, budget coach De Vries advises. “Because of the debit card, there is less control over expenses. Set a weekly budget, lock in that amount and pay cash everywhere. Write groceries in a list, so you only buy what’s essential. Realize that the clothes you buy are at a discount, but you don’t wear them.” It’s still expensive.”

The budget coach goes further: “Select how much you want to save each month and transfer that money right away. Was that €500, but are you having trouble making ends meet? Lower it to €300, but then don’t withdraw anything. out of a savings account. For many people, it doesn’t matter what they earn; the money left must be spent on a more luxurious life.”

make it clear

In fact, middle-income earners don’t have to get into trouble, says Nybod Principal Fliggenhart. “Exceptions. It doesn’t matter if you have children or you are single, you have a good or poorly insulated home or high medical expenses. The longer this situation lasts, the more group that is in trouble. Think about families who also have a relatively high mortgage.”

What is the golden tip for budget trainer de Vries from Forest? “Sit quietly and write down your income, fixed costs, and debit card transactions. Discuss necessary expenses or not. Without this overview, you can’t put your money in order. Not working? Then ask for help. There is a taboo about this, but if you don’t do something, you’ll end up with to debt counseling or you will be put under management. Then you are far from home.”

Arjan Fligenthart is the director of Nypod.  nipod picture

Arjan Fligenthart is the director of Nypod.nipod picture

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