‘Sometimes we don’t have money for groceries’

Janna is a highly educated hardworking woman. Yet she and her husband Jort and their family are often in financial trouble. “Recently the washing machine broke down, then we had no money for groceries for a week,” she says famme.

“Since the arrival of our two children, I work three days a week. My husband Jort still works full time, just like before we had children. Financially this was manageable. We were tight, but managed just fine.


Everything has changed since last year. After compensation, the childcare bill suddenly became almost 850 euros per month for three days a week. We also had a very bad deal with our energy supplier for electricity and gas.

We were always able to pay the mortgage well, but suddenly we had to fit and measure. Our monthly fixed costs are higher than 3000 euros. It became impossible to put money aside and save.

No money

Last year I could easily buy groceries for 500 euros a month and put a healthy meal on the table every day. I really can’t do this anymore. Every day I walk out of the supermarket for 25 euros worth of food and then I only have a few products.

The bottom line is that we fall short every month. Every time an unexpected bill came up, we paid it from our savings. The problem was that no money is added to the savings account, so it is now completely empty.

No money for nice things

We never do fun things again. Recently the four of us went out for dinner because we had a nice walk in the woods and we wanted to end the day in a nice way. The bill was over 80 euros. For the next few days, I felt guilty all the time. We could have had dinner for a week with that money.

Last month we reached a low point. Our washing machine broke. The thing was already six years old so it was coming with the amount of laundry I do for the kids, but you hope it doesn’t happen. No savings so we had to empty our checking account to buy a new one. Everything was gone, down to the last penny.

Ask for help

I normally don’t dare to ask for help, but I subtly dropped it to my dad. Fortunately, he was able to help so that we could still do some shopping. Every day I worry that we will have to pay another big bill, such as a fine or a dental bill. Or that friends organize something that we can’t participate in because it’s too expensive. Working more doesn’t help either, because that money then goes to childcare. I am desperate.”

Pauline (30): ‘I sometimes use my children’s savings for myself’

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Janna (34): ‘When the washing machine broke down, we couldn’t do any more shopping’

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