I need two jobs to pay for driving lessons - teen

Eighteen year old Beca says almost all her salary goes on the cost of living
Image caption,

Beca left college to help her mum with the cost of living

  • Published

Despite working full time, Beca Williams thinks she will need a second job in order to be able to pay for driving lessons.

The 18-year-old dropped out of college to help her mum with the cost of living two years ago, at one point working "12-hour days, seven days a week".

Shortly afterwards she bought herself a little purple car, which has sat unused against a backdrop of mountains at her mum’s north Wales home.

Beca has now all-but given up on the idea of driving, with lessons costing about £70 a week and most of her salary already taken up by monthly bills.

"I kept the car as motivation really, but there’s only so much you can do until at one point you turn around and go ‘there’s no point, I can’t afford it'," said Beca, from Deiniolen, Gwynedd.

"It’s not just about lessons, it’s the insurance, the tax, the petrol, everything else with it."

Beca now has a full-time job working on the sewing machines at a nearby factory but feels young people from lower income families are being "ignored" by politicians.

The general election on 4 July will be the first time she has been able to vote, but Beca is not convinced she will.

"There’s a lot of people still struggling. The cost of living crisis is still a thing. Prices of things haven’t come down yet," she said.

"Families are trying to get heard and trying to tell politicians, but nothing is being done.

"You just feel like you’re stuck in a loop – you can’t get out – and it’s going to be the same for the rest of your life, because this is what adulthood is.

"I’ve had a lot of people asking if I’m going to vote this year because I’ve just turned 18. At this point in time, I don’t feel like they are listening."

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Beca says if she can't afford lessons, she'll have to sell her car

Beca said she was grateful that her job paid above the minimum wage for her age, but the £1,400 she earned each month was not enough to afford driving lessons, pay her bills, buy food and pay for train and bus fare.

She said she felt many people her age were exhausted by the cost of living.

"I’ve noticed that a lot of people my age going into hospitality, a lot of them drop out of college like I did," she said.

"Rent is like £700 a month, that’s just not possible on an 18-year-old's wage.

"I guess you could call us anti-social – it’s just that we don’t have the money to go anywhere, we don’t have the money to go to the pubs like [our parents] used to."

Beca’s mum Delyth agreed that things were getting harder for her children.

The 46-year-old charity manager, who is a single mum to three, said she had to make clear to her children that they could not "rely on the bank of mum to bail them out".

She added: "This generation now, they’ve gone through all that lockdown and lost out on so much.

"When I was younger, if you wanted to go and have a night out it was always manageable somehow and I wasn’t from a rich family. Now they have to budget for everything."

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Delyth says the family have been cutting down on food waste by making curries from leftover roast dinner

Delyth said she sat down with Beca every week to look over her budget and finances and the only "extravagance" her daughter ever included was having her hair and nails done.

"That’s just for her sanity really," she said.

Delyth said the whole family had struggled in the past few years and would occasionally go without a weekly food shop and eat anything left in the cupboards to save money.

One of Delyth's recent inventions has been "roast dinner curry" made from the leftover meat and vegetables from her Monday night dinners.

"I do work, I do earn, but it’s just never enough really. I used to be able to do the weekly shop for about £45 – now it’s double that.

"We used to be able to have short breaks, nothing major. I can’t remember the last time we had a day out as a family, it’s not within our reach anymore."