Understanding young people and the ‘cozzie livs’.
For over a year the ‘cost of living crisis’ has dominated in all media. It became so familiar that younger people gave it a nickname, the ‘cozzie livs’. (4-minute read)
Chloe May and Anna Tickle are Research and Campaigns Volunteers at Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell.
At CAEE we’ve been looking at the cozzie livs through the eyes of TikTok users. While 40% of UK 18-34-year-olds communicate via the video-sharing app just 2% of over-45s do*. We wanted to understand their general attitudes to being hit hard by rapid price inflation.
What we found were similar complaints about huge rises in food prices, utility bills, and rent which aren’t reflected in their or their parents’ salaries.
TikTokers have found the rise in supermarket food prices particularly frustrating. Liv Dainton, a prolific blogger, compared the present cost of her weekly shop over the past 2 years. From £70 in 2021 it’s now £120, a 66% increase. Liv’s “Don’t you just love the cost of living crisis? here.
This is a trend we have seen on TikTok with many making price comparisons on specific items in the supermarket. Reacting to this huge change in the cost of living, thousands of TikTok users have posted videos with tips and tricks to help navigate it.
One trend is ‘How to Feed Your Family for £5’. The short video format is perfect for this kind of help. Users can suggest ideas to feed the whole family for under £5 but also show how to make them. They can give other advice too, such as where to go for cheaper alternative ingredients and deals at local supermarkets. And multiple accounts give masses of information about other kinds of support and where to access it.
They also frequently mention massive rent increases. They speak about their salaries failing to reflect these rising prices, especially in London. This conversation has created a real fear in the younger generation. Many in their early 20s are worrying about their ability to move out in the future.
Luxuries (and fruit)
Many users have been discussing what they have given up as a result of the cost of living crisis. This includes: gym memberships, subscriptions, clothes shopping, beauty treatments and, perhaps most worryingly, fresh fruit. Large numbers have sacrificed these ‘luxury’ purchases to cope with rising rents, bills and food prices.
A further common theme is resentment of the ‘upper class’. This group includes politicians and the royal family as well as large businesses such as oil companies and banks.
During the coronation of King Charles, users expressed their frustration about spending of up to £100 million on the ceremonies when ordinary citizens were struggling to afford food and rent. Similarly, they are angry about energy companies such as Shell and British Gas boasting huge profits while the average person is struggling to get by.
Our conclusion overall is there’s a feeling of helplessness about how to cope with the issues we’ve mentioned. There’s a mass of worry out there and TikTok reflects the generation’s anxiety.
Young people have turned to TikTok and other platforms to express and share worries with others who may be experiencing similar hardships. Social media enable them to give advice to people like themselves struggling with the cozzie livs. Significantly many TikTokers’ advice posts are their personal money-saving tips.
At Citizens Advice we’re here for everyone who needs us, whoever they are and importantly whatever their age. Many more people over 34 than under ask us for help, although clients often want advice for younger family members.