"The rewards don't always have to be financial" - Asda mum May
May and her family are originally from the Philippines and moved to the UK five years ago with her husband Rhett’s work.
They bought their first house in West London late last year but just after they moved in – and took on their mortgage – Rhett, an IT consultant, was made redundant. He has since found contract work in Swindon but the three months he was out of work made the family reassess their finances and what was important to them.
Now instead of rushing to do up their home they are budgeting on groceries, cooking from scratch to save money and saving wherever they can to help put their sons Anthony, 12, and Nathan, nine, through university.
As a family they eat out in restaurants rarely – only for birthday celebrations – and don’t go on holidays although they are saving to visit family in the Philippines.
They only run one car – May is learning to drive “as an investment” – but spend a lot on petrol as Rhett’s contract work is a 3-hour round trip each day from his home.
May experienced first hand just how tough the job market is when she started looking for work earlier this year. She also realised the high cost of childcare – without extended family around to help out – would take a large chunk of her earnings.
For now she’s happy looking after her family and in her volunteer roles as a church choir leader and school governor – even though that means less family income.
“The rewards don’t always have to be financial,” she says. “These are things that are important to me.”