By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
Shoppers have said they’re wearing extra jumpers to avoid turning on the heating as surging energy bills and food prices eat into budgets.
People in Lewisham said they were also switching to discount supermarkets and eating out less to save pennies.
Prices of everyday groceries have rocketed in the past 12 months.
Meanwhile Ofgem – which regulates electricity and gas – has warned families could see their bills soar to £2,800 per year from a current average of £1,971 later this year.
Shoppers at Catford Centre said they had already been forced to make cutbacks and were preparing to make further savings when the energy price cap rises in October.
Recent graduate Evan Dowie, 26, said even friends with high-flying jobs were struggling to make ends meet.
Mr Dowie, who works as a barman, said: “Even really successful people I know are cutting back.
“I’ve a friend who is an asset manager and they’re living on the poverty borderline.
“To save money I’m going to cheaper supermarkets and only buying food when I need it.
“When I was at university I would buy stuff when I felt like it, but I’ve stopped that to save money. I’ve not gone on holiday for years.
“In some ways it feels like I’ve always been cutting back. First my family were and now I am.”
Jay Muse, 44, said he and his girlfriend were spending more time at home in order to cut their spending.
Mr Muse, a teacher, said: “I’m going out less and spending more time at home with my partner.
“I’m also trying to spend less money on electricity and heating.
“It’s not so much of a problem at the moment but will be when it gets colder.
“I’m trying to eat out less and cook more things at home and be healthier.
“I think we need to help ourselves before relying on the Government. It’s time to look after ourselves.”
Mum-of-one Liz Power said the extra strain on her budget meant she was having to cut back on food to make ends meet.
The 27-year-old said: “I’m definitely more conscious of what I’m spending and trying to plan my meals rather than buy what I feel like.
“It has made me more original when cooking.
“I’m in a position where I don’t really have the choice whether to cut back or not with childcare costs already being so high.
“When you’re a single parent you work but the work only covers childcare.
“It’s almost not worth working but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Pictured: Evan Dowie – Picture: Robert Firth