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When the price of gasoline turns into the red


For some, that’s the increase too much. The one that destabilizes a budget with a fragile balance. Electricity, gas, petrol… For several months, the French have been experiencing a general rise in prices. Inflation that puts some households in the red, despite the public aid implemented.

“People don’t make it anymore”, summarizes Fabienne Demeyere, employee of the Lille association Bartholomé-Masurel, which works with people in financial difficulty. “We feel the increase in the price of gasoline enormously. It poses a big problem, especially for home helpers. » Fabienne Demeyere also points to the weight of the accommodation: “Most of the people we support are tenants in the private sector. However, rents have become very expensive in Lille. »

More and more retirees

In the Cantal, it is the flight of the price of gasoline which affects the budget of inhabitants dependent on their vehicle, for lack of public transport. And faced with rising energy prices, heating homes that are often poorly insulated is a money pit.

“Today, we support employees whose remuneration has not changed for years, while the cost of living has increased significantly. They can’t buy as much as before. And if they don’t review their spending, they can’t get out of it,” asks Lydie Hiron, adviser in a “budget advice point” in Aurillac (Cantal).

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Single mother, family where both parents work, beneficiary of social minima, but also more and more retirees… The profiles of these French people with finances in the red are varied. Since 2019, they can contact one of the 500 “budget advice points” located in the territory. These state-funded structures are supported by associations (such as the National Union of Family Associations), communal or social centres.

The accident of life, triggering factor

Very often, financial difficulties have their origin in an accident in life – divorce, job loss, long illness… “For a single person with an already tight budget, losing 50% of their salary due to sick leave is catastrophic. Because the charges do not move, illustrates Fabienne Demeyere. The two advisers also cite the proliferation of short contracts as a factor of precariousness.

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In an attempt to get by, these modest households cut corners on everything: health, leisure, shopping carts, heating. Very often, they take out consumer credit. “Unfortunately, many believe this is the solution. They also use supermarket cards that allow food on credit. But very quickly, it is not tenable “, deplores Fabienne Demeyere, who would like the school to teach the art of managing a budget.

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Revise all expenses

Faced with debt-ridden households, Lydie Hiron’s first instinct is to check that they have indeed applied for their rights – activity bonus, social minima… Above all, the social worker makes them list their expenses, to encourage them to take consciousness. Because too low income is sometimes added poor budget management.

“I received a family of five who realized they had seven telephone subscriptions. And she was spending €4,200 a year on insurance, which is more than 10% of her resources,” chokes Lydie Hiron. These households are very often over-insured, pay little attention to the conditions set out in the contracts, and they do not dare to change operator (telephone, electricity, mutual), frightened by the steps. “Actually, they feel like they’re trying a lot, and they’re trying, but they’re not efficient. »

When the situation becomes inextricable, the workers of the “budget advice points” support households in the over-indebtedness procedure. In 2021, 121,000 files were filed with the Banque de France. In nearly one out of two cases, the process resulted in total cancellation of the debts. What then, assures Fabienne Demeyere, “to be able to relearn to live normally”.

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