Cathy Dobbs: Cutting costs as shrinkflation bites

Cathy Dobbs’ weekly look at life.

We all know costs are going up, but there’s something else happening in our shops that is a bit more sneaky – shrinkflation.

This year we’ve seen a Cadbury Dairy Milk sharing chocolate bar reduce in size by a tenth to 180g. Also, a box of Kleenex now has 64 tissues, eight less than it had in January. It has even affected our coffee, as Nestlé has reduced its Nescafé Azera tin of instant coffee by 10 per cent to 90g. If this is your favourite brand then you’ve been cheated out of five-and-a-half cups of coffee. I think it could be time to put pen to paper and give Nestlé a roasting.

In the Dobbs household, we’ve decided to try to balance out the £100 a month rise in utility bills by slashing our food bill. Instead of choosing our usual branded goods, we’ve gone with the lowest cost option available – and haven’t really noticed a difference in taste or quality. I’ve been told by my financial advisor, AKA my husband, that we are saving £90 a month. Never has a trip to the supermarket been so satisfying.

You would have thought the price increases would make people hungry for work. However, recent figures show that the proportion of people that are neither in work or looking for it is higher than it was in the mid-1970s. There are still more than five million people claiming out-of-work benefits who could probably all work as baggage handlers at the airports.

It looks like being out of work is now in trend. TikTok has seen users posting Quit-Toks as they hand in their notice at work. Also, a Reddit forum called r/antiwork, which has “Unemployment for all, not just the rich!” as its slogan, has over two million subscribers and is one of the site’s most active groups.

Even the rich and famous can’t escape from the debate as Beyoncé’s new song, Break My Soul, has been called the “anthem for the great resignation” as it contains the lyrics “I just quit my job, I’m gonna find new drive". However, in the past she has said: “I’m not bossy. I am the boss.” Can someone let the younger generation know that it’s a lot easier to quit your job when you are the boss. It means you don’t have to do any grovelling to get your job back when you realise you can’t even afford a shrinkflated Cadbury Dairy Milk sharing bar.

Lastly, on the subject of rising costs – have you booked parking at the airport for your summer holiday yet? Prepare yourself, as the price has almost doubled since before Covid. So, £150 for ten nights was the cheapest option I could find at Birmingham International. If they were throwing in a free valet and car wash then I could understand! – but £150! The question is, are we going to see the term ‘Rip-off Britain’ coming back from the 90s to haunt us?

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