In the Gelderlandplein indoor shopping center in prosperous Amsterdam-Buitenveldert, you can get the impression that the increased cost of living barely affects consumers. On a Wednesday morning there is a lot of shopping in the Albert Heijn XL. The Coffee Company branch, where a small cappuccino costs 3.65 euros, is full.

    Yet inflation is not far away here either. Nahima Romero (38) from Amstelveen has just visited the (paid) playground with the children. She immediately nods in agreement when asked if she feels the price increases. “Our income has stayed about the same, but things have become more expensive very quickly: gas, electricity, food.” She just noticed it at the playground. “A coin used to cost 1 euro, now it costs 1.50.”

    Romero provides manicure and pedicure treatments as a self-employed person. Her husband has a permanent job at a bank. Romero’s clients seem to be cutting back and book treatments less often. “Instead of once every two weeks, someone comes once every three or four weeks.” Her income has become “a little bit less.” Her husband has received a modest wage increase, but that does not make up for what they have to pay extra every month.

    ‘Now we go out maybe once every three weeks’

    “Life is more expensive, so there is less money for fun,” she says. “We used to go out about once a week, to the cinema or to a restaurant. Now maybe once every three weeks.”

    She also takes the car to the city less often to save on parking costs. “If we go by car, we try to plan all purchases in one route.”

    Outside it is eight degrees, but at Romero’s house the central heating is not on right now, to save gas. “It sure is very cold. We have a small electric radiator that we turn on for two hours, electricity is also expensive. And we shower very briefly.”

    The family also saves on groceries. “We used to eat fish three times a week, now once a week. We buy cheaper brands. We go more often to Dirk or Lidl, less often to Albert Heijn.”

    “The way things used to be,” Romero summarizes her experiences, “is no longer possible.”