Nearly three in four French people have the impression that their purchasing power has decreased over the past year. That’s according to an Elabe poll for BFMTV, released last week. And, given the latest increases in the cost of living – gas, fuel, electricity and even taxes – the situation does not seem to improve anytime soon.
At the same time, the poll underlines that eight in ten French people do not trust the government to correct the situation.
Beyond devices like the fuel check announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex, each consumer can therefore try to implement their own solutions.
Thus, two specialists offer a few leads.
Laurence Pavi is a social and family economy advisor, state graduate, at the Var departmental council. Within the local social action department, its regional social unit of Val Gapeau – Golden Islands works with people in great precariousness. The advisor analyzes their situation and guides them in consolidating their finances, in particular through budgetary educational support.
If the public targeted by his skills is particularly vulnerable, the advice and good practices given to him by Laurence Pavi can perfectly apply to each of us.
Like the tips provided by Catherine Sias. The Croesus Var association, of which she is the president, fights against exclusion, particularly financial. It is labeled “budget advice point”. And if most of the people who benefit from the support of Croesus “often come too late“, the purpose of the association is above all to do prevention.
# 1 Eestablish a budget
It seems to make sense, but in reality it is not obvious and many French people are not particularly rigorous when it comes to managing their budget. Thus, according to a study by the Banque de France published in 2019, 29% of our fellow citizens tend to live from day to day, without thinking about the next day, while only 41% of them set financial goals.
However, establishing a budget is, according to Laurence Pavi, the central point of the management of financial resources.
“First of all, she explains, you have to make a precise inventory of your financial situation.“In other words, knowing precisely your resources and fixed expenses. To do this,”we rely on his last three account statements. “
Catherine Sias specifies that in any case, if you have an overdraft authorization, it should not be included in your budget. Yet it is, she says, a bad habit that many consumers have.
Because they have an overdraft authorization, they believe it is a right, which they can take into account in their budget … ” Catherine Sias, president of the Crêque Var association.
The second step in establishing a budget, resumes Laurence Pavi, is its organization. The proposal of the counselor in social and family economy is to pay as much monthly expenditure as possible.
We deduct the incompressible charges – rent or mortgage drafts, heating, water, insurance and children’s canteen being priority – and we release a remainder to live which will be used for food, clothing, fuel… “The best is to divide this remainder to live by week“, assures Laurence Pavi.
To follow your budget on a daily basis, you can of course consult your account online, but there are also applications to manage your finances. The website of the Crêque association also offers a budget calculator.
# 2 Identify the expenses on which we can earn
There are expenses that cannot be ignored. Others, on which you can earn a few euros.
There, the two specialists cite an expense first: insurance. That of the car is obligatory, of the dwelling also if one is a tenant – and strongly recommended if one is an owner -, just as civil liability and legal protection can be particularly useful. But, explains Laurence Pavi, “when you take stock of your budget, you realize that the banks put in a lot of unnecessary insurance“.”Some are duplicated, confirms Catherine Sias. Some also offer clauses which often make them unusable.“The president of Croesus Var cites, for example,” accident of life “insurance or cell phone insurance.
You should not hesitate to terminate insurance when it expires or, in the case of compulsory insurance, to renegotiate it. ” Catherine Sias.
The same goes for telephony and Internet subscriptions. “This is a point on which we often hesitate to take the necessary steps because we fear disturbances“, recognizes Catherine Sias. However, we can easily earn a few euros by playing the competition, by comparing the different offers. In this area, we can also take stock of its subscriptions to streaming platforms: a-t- do we really need to have access to four audiovisual platforms?
Another item of expenditure that can be reduced a little by being vigilant is that of food. Of course, we look first and foremost at the price per kilo, recalls Laurence Pavi, while the president of Croesus notes that “gondola heads are often false friends“. Indeed, the type promotions” two bought the third free “not only encourage to consume more than what we need, but we also realize that in the department, the product by unit is less expensive at Another tip provided by Catherine Sias: avoid shopping on an empty stomach and, if possible, leave the children at home.
Thanks to this vigilance, we can hope to limit the bank charges due to intervention commissions. But we can also try to limit them by having, in a couple, a joint account rather than two personal accounts, at least for household expenses. In case of great difficulty, you can ask your bank to subscribe to the‘fragile customer’ offer. This allows bank charges to be capped at 3 euros per month.
# 3 Favor certain means of payment
On the one hand, Catherine Sias believes that we should focus on cash: “Cash makes it easier to understand your expenses and not to exceed your budget, especially if it is small.”
On the other hand, Laurence Pavi wants to ban checks: “A check can be cashed up to twelve months after it is issued.“In other words, we easily tend to forget that it has not yet been debited. Not to mention, that if we had the money in our account when signing it, we may no longer have it. Avoiding checks means avoiding rejection fees.
And the bank card in all of this?
If you use a bank card, and unless you have extremely rigorous management of your accounts, it is better that it be debit immediately. ” Laurence Pavi, social and family economy advisor at the Var departmental council.
Catherine Sias also offers the use of these accounts that can be opened at tobacconists, type Nickel account. “I recommend it in particular for food shopping: you put the money on it and you can’t use more. It helps not to unbalance the budget.“
# 4 contain energy costs
At a time when energy prices are skyrocketing, we can implement a few tips to try to reduce its consumption and therefore its cost. Basic: we prefer off-peak hours if we have them. But beware: the benefit of a subscription setting up off-peak hours can be wiped out by the price of the subscription in question.
It is essential to read your bills carefully, to watch your consumption and the amount of your subscription. ” Laurence Pavi.
The social and family economy advisor also recalls the importance of limiting temperatures. Catherine Sias takes over: “If you have electric heating, you leave it on continuously at 16 or 17 degrees and increase it to around 20 degrees when you get home, before lowering for the night. “
Regarding electricity consumption, the two experts note that you should avoid leaving your devices on standby. “It is estimated that the cost of consuming these devices on standby is between 80 and 120 euros per year.“, specifies the person in charge of Croesus Var.
Likewise, she insists on the expense related to a frosted freezer “:”We are talking about an increase of up to 30%!“Defrosting your freezer can thus be a source of energy savings.
The price of gasoline is also rising sharply. And overall, not much can be done about it. Catherine Sias still suggests reducing her pace. “By reducing your speed, you consume less fuel“, she recalls. Checking the inflation of your tires and ensuring that your vehicle is running smoothly by having it serviced also allow you to save a few liters of gasoline.
If going to the pump becomes essential, do not hesitate to look for the cheapest gas station. Visit the government website www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr allows you to find the best rates near your home.
You can also fall back on less expensive means of transport, such as public transport or soft transport, such as cycling or scootering.
# 5 Save money
Saving is to face hard knocks, underlines Laurence Pavi. It is not always easy, however, to put money aside. To achieve this, one solution, notes Catherine Sias, may be to include it in your budget: we determine at the beginning of the month what amount, however small, we put aside. “When you have a well-organized budget, confirms the counselor in social and family economy, we can try to save by putting money in a passbook.“
Still, the temptation is great, when you have three cents in advance, to spend them: who does not want to have fun? In that case, “you have to be careful, insists the president of Croesus Var, because we know very well that our purchasing power is not going to increase anytime soon …“.