Sophie, single momDaily arbitrations

Neither poor nor “middle class”. With her €1,806 per month (salary and social assistance), a little less than the median income, Sophie Benoit, 46, feels preserved… halfway. “I live with small pleasures, not big ones, and the art of good plan”, she confides. Hostess in the Leclerc hypermarket in Lexy, near Longwy, in the north of Meurthe-et-Moselle, she works 30 hours a week. A part-time suffered: With us, it’s like that: 26 or 30 hours. It suits management to have a lot of staff to rotate. Full time only concerns office staff. she comments.

Result: she only earns €1,080 net per month. She can also count on the activity bonus (€120/month), the housing allowance (€226/month), and a huge “plus”: the family allowance paid by Luxembourg, her ex-spouse being there employee. This amounts to 380 €. Added to this are the thirteenth month, participation (€780 in 2021), and the Macron bonus (€725 in 2021). She still hopes to succeed in obtaining alimony from the father, but the case takes her time in court.

Even if she considers herself lucky, Sophie’s daily life is marked by choices. For her 13-year-old son, evenings with friends are pizza or cinema, but not both. Fortunately, with the works council of Leclerc, the places are at 5 €. For her, it’s jogging (free) and a swimming pool, but not a swimming club. And meat only three times a week. Examples among other frustrations needed to stick to your budget. Frustrations accentuated by the fact of having lived a comfortable life for seventeen years, with a monthly family budget of €6,000… until the separation from her spouse two years ago. Earn more, she could cross the border: the minimum wage is just over €2,000 net in the Grand Duchy. “But it can take two hours to cover 20 km, and I am lucid: for receptionist positions, they take on younger women, and require mastery of foreign languages. »

Helped, but not assisted

So she made up her mind, and is fighting to improve her condition and that of her colleagues, as a CFDT union representative. One of his recent victories: having obtained that employees can finally, soon, benefit from a 10% reduction on their races. “It was time because with the price increases, filling the fridge is becoming more and more expensive. Working in mass distribution, I am not reassured for the future because we are told of a phenomenon that will last. »

Regarding gasoline, she is lucky enough to be able to fill up on the Luxembourg side, where fuel is a little cheaper. And if she agrees to give up shopping, she wants to dress and put on her son in Nike, as he wishes, thanks to the sales and the two shopping centers selling designer clothes near her home. He was also able to receive the latest game console at Christmas, with the contribution of his aunt and grandfather.

With the situation, it is not yet this year that she will be able to take him to Italy, where she would like to introduce him to Rome and Florence, he who is passionate about history, nor to the amusement park of his dreams. For the holidays, they will be able to get away from it all at a lower cost thanks to family and friendly pied-à-terre in the South. Not by going far away as she would like, nor to a partner campsite of the Family Allowance Fund, because being helped is good, but Sophie wants to live as she sees fit. This is why she is happy, especially as a single mother, to have been able to avoid a district of social housing thanks to an understanding landlord… and her sister as guarantor, for her rent of 670 €.

She also makes it a point of honor to save each month for the future: My son is a good student, so I couldn’t bear not being able to offer him the studies he wants to follow – he’s thinking of a chartered accountant – and which are long, nor being able to pay for his license and participate in his first car. » For Sophie, it is a priority.


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