“You keep on working but it’s almost like you’re chasing a carrot. It’s dangling in front of you and you’re trying to catch it, but each time it’s further and further away.”

These are the words of Jassu Randhawa, a 34-year-old full-time worker from Southampton who’s been getting to grips with the cost of living crisis.

After losing her business as a result of Covid, she is now working as a sales manager at Grand Cafe, in Terminus Terrace.

But like millions of other people, she too is struggling to make ends meet despite the security of a full-time job.

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“The amount of money that I’m making doesn’t reflect how rapidly prices keep going up,” she said.

“Living costs have gone up so dramatically, but it doesn’t mirror the wages. How can you expect people to pay for that all?

“They say that minimum wage is enough, but the thing is, are you not supposed to be more than just surviving?”

The price of food, fuel and bills has gone up exponentially in the past few months.

The financial fallout of the Covid pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have contributed to rising costs and record inflation levels – the highest since the 1980s.

The Daily Echo launched a new campaign yesterday – Your Money Matters – to raise awareness of the impact of the crisis in Southampton and offer practical help to readers through giveaways, competitions and deals.

Jassu, who used to run a coffee and cocktail place on East Street, said finding a work-life balance in these current times is increasingly difficult.

“I would love to have more free time but it’s impossible when you’re constantly fighting the idea of ‘if I don’t work this many hours, I cannot afford my rent, my car, etc’. 

“So all those things that you have worked for up until this point can quite easily be taken away from you if you cannot keep up with the price. There’s no work-life balance left.”

The business itself has also been feeling the pinch. 

“Although everything’s kind of reopened or is starting to reopen properly, without any social restrictions, there are still many people that don’t go out,” she said. 

“They might have got used to the fact that they’re just going to stay at home, because we’ve been locked away for so long. And alongside the fact that things are so expensive now, what people previously had budgeted for, they don’t have that to play with anymore.”

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