A CASH-strapped factory worker says he's living off Pot Noodles as he can't afford anything else.
Ashley Goudou works 10-hour shifts seven days a week but still struggles to make ends meet.
He walks an hour to work to save on commuting costs and showers at the gym to keep his energy bills down at home.
But with rent and utilities at his one-bedroom flat in Bristol setting him back more than £1,000 a month and eight pets to look after, he has little money left to look after himself.
The 20-year-old said often resorts to eating instant noodles as it's often the cheapest option.
Ashley told The Mirror: "I used to eat two healthy meals a day and now I'm just eating Pot Noodles because it's all I can really afford.
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"I walk to the gym to shower because I can't afford gas at home to have a bath. It's ridiculous."
Despite his daily struggles, Ashley, who earns £6.81 an hour in a factory, says he will always put his animals first.
He has four rescue cats, Tinkerbell, Messy, Red and Ruby, and four dogs – five-year-old Frenchies Blue and Willow, seven-year-old bulldog Dolche and two-year-old bulldog Bruno.
"I always worry at the end of the month if I have enough money to feed the dogs, but I'd rather feed them than myself," Ashley said.
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The aspiring vet, who used to be in care and moved out aged 16, relies on kind donations from Bristol Animal Rescue Centre.
The shelter offers free vet check-ups, dog beds, cat litter, vaccinations and dog food.
"Without their donations and food it wouldn't be possible," Ashley, who has had his WiFi and gas cut off, said.
"But I don't want to take too much because some people are worse off than me.
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"Handing [my pets] into a rescue isn't an option for me.
"I wouldn't have the heart. I'd rather not feed myself."
What to do if you can’t pay your bills
FALLING behind on your energy bills can be extremely stressful.
If you’re struggling to pay what you owe, contact your supplier as soon as possible.
Your provider has to help you come up with a solution, and you should be able to negotiate a deal that works for you both.
One option is to agree a payment plan where you pay off your debts in affordable instalments.
You may be able to pay off your debts directly from your benefits through the Fuel Direct Scheme.
A fixed amount will automatically be taken to cover what you owe plus your usage.
To be eligible, you must be getting one of the following benefits:
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- income-related employment and support allowance
- Pension credit
- Universal Credit (but only if you’re not working)
If you cannot come to an agreement with your supplier, they may try to force you to get a prepayment meter installed.
In very rare cases, where you refuse to negotiate, your supplier might threaten you with disconnection.
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