Inflation and the energy crisis: Michèle, a pensioner, opens her accounts to us

Inflation and the energy crisis: Michèle, a pensioner, opens her accounts to us

“It’s everyday, I don’t know if I could still buy cheese at the end of the month and it’s pretty sad. As thousands of French mobilize against Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, 20 Minutes gives the floor to Michèle Attal. A Dijonnaise who has been retired for six years and has agreed to open her accounts for the month of December 2022.

On the income side, the calculation is quick, 1,193 euros in old-age pension, plus 47 euros APL (Personalised Housing Benefit) for a total of 1,240 euros per month. A fixed and almost definitive amount that will be eroded by increases in food and energy prices. “I have neither a 13th month nor a profit-sharing”, specifies Michèle, “as soon as there is an increase, I am directly charged to my budget”.

The 68-year-old retiree is doing whatever it takes to reduce her grocery bills. Not only does she visit several supermarkets to find the cheapest prices, she has stopped buying alcohol, has reduced her coffee consumption and bakes her own bread. Despite her best efforts, Michèle has noticed that the price of her groceries has increased by around 50 euros a month since September.

300 euros more could make the difference

The 60-year-old has also developed strategies for heating to reduce her bills. At night she turns off her boiler. “I told myself that I would have to pay a third less fuel during the day,” she estimates. The same applies when she goes to gym class in the morning: “I don’t turn on the heating and only turn it on when I get home, so I save 10 hours on heating”.

Everyday life for Michèle Attal, who is struggling with financial planning for the coming months. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to buy cheese at the end of the month and it’s pretty sad. According to her, just €300 more could make all the difference, allowing her to “worry less” and maybe even go on holiday this year.