Preston people are counting their pennies as financial anxiety reigns

A lack of job security caused by the pandemic is causing people to tighten their belts, the Post’s Big Conversation study has revealed.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 7:00 am
Preston shoppers are cutting back on the spending over financial anxiety

Almost four in 10 said they are concerned about their income, while 45 per cent voiced their worry about their personal and household finances.

The survey also revealed that 53 per cent have cut back on their spending – though a similar number said they are now supporting local businesses more.

Just over half of those quizzed said they have a job, while 36 per cent were out-of-work, four per cent were on furlough, and 10 per cent said they’d rather not say.

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Leanne Yeomans, 19, is a student who struggled because she didn't receive furlough pay during the first lockdown period

Jodie Dolphin, 25, from Clayton, is unemployed and heavily pregnant – with her baby due in just weeks.

She said: “I’ve had to watch everything I spend during the pandemic. It is so hard because you don’t know whether you need to spend more and stock up on things because people ransack the shelves or not.”

“I am worried about money coming up to Christmas with my baby and am also worried about being alone over winter because I live alone and don’t want to have to isolate away from my family or for them to not see my child.

“It is hard because Christmas is a time when you are supposed to be excited and I am just not. How can we be excited when we don’t know what is happening?”

Mark Gray, 39, from Larches, has worked as a cleaner throughout the pandemic

“I have absolutely tried hard to save money in lockdown because there is so much uncertainty. It is really worrying for me as a single mum and I am petrified to bring my baby into the world and don’t know what to expect from the rules changing.”

Mark Gray, 39, from Larches, works as a cleaner in Preston. He said: “I have worked all the way through the pandemic but it was good for me to save up with things being closed.

“With the money I have earnt, I saved whilst the shops were shut meaning I am prepared now for Christmas presents.”

“I think money has been a concern for those on furlough or out of a job, some of my close friends have been furloughed in lockdown but for me everything has carried on as normal, I have been lucky.

Tracy Johnston, from Ingol, has been coming into town less and saving her money

“But I do think people’s spending habits have changed including my own in terms of being able to save and be more sensible about where they spend.”

Leanne Yeomans, 19, is from Clayton Brook and studies at Leeds. She was unemployed for most of lockdown and claims she struggled with saving money, but hopes her new job at high street retailer Footasylum will help her to save.

She said: “I haven’t been able to save really and feel as though I have spent more working in town and going to the shops on my break when they reopened. Being on social media at home is difficult because all I see is people shopping so I have been doing a lot of shopping myself online.

“I am definitely trying to save coming up to Christmas but it is hard during the pandemic, I know I need to think about affording getting people presents but that is hard with our hours being cut at work because there are less customers and less people coming into town.

“I worked in Leeds but when lockdown first kicked in in March, I was cut off from my job and didn’t get any furlough pay. It was really hard without a job in lockdown and I applied for so many but didn’t hear back from anywhere and was so lucky to have my student loan to fall back on.”

Janine Norton, 46, from Longridge, doesn’t work because of her disability.

She said: “Lockdown has had a massive impact on me because I have been able to be more organised with my money because my sister and I only get out shopping once a week.

“I will be trying to save as much as I can coming up to Christmas and will try to get deals by buying online where I can.”

Her sister, Tracy Johnston, from Ingol, said: “To be honest I am working from home and haven’t stopped so it hasn’t had a massive impact on my finances but I have definitely been coming into town less and have been spending less.

“I have saved money where I can because the restrictions have meant I can’t go out like I used to.

“Before all this I was very outgoing and worked in town so would always find myself out shopping so in that respect, it has been good for me to save.”

“I have definitely started to do a lot more internet shopping since the pandemic started whereas before I would always be out in Preston on lunch breaks.

“It has made me think about what and where I spend and cut back where I can.”

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