The UK is currently facing a cost of living crisis the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 1970’s.
On 1st of April, 22 million homes were hit by a 54% rise in the energy price cap, pushing up prices by £700 per year. This price increase, along with all the other rises in water, food, fuel and more have taken a massive toll on peoples pockets. When this is added to all of the other price rises, it is clear to see that there will be a material drop in the standard of living for most families across the UK. Lots of families will be looking to save money in any way possible, so we have compiled a list of our top tips for saving money in any way possible.
1. Heat the human, not the home
Heating bills have skyrocketed, so people need to make sure that they aren’t wasting heating your home when you aren’t going to benefit from the warmth.
Top tips for keeping yourself warm is to wrap up warm with lots of jumpers and socks to hand.
You could also invest in a heated blanket which costs 2 – 3p per day and will have you toasty in no time!
2. Check your broadband and mobile contracts
16 million people are currently running on legacy contracts where you are paying full price for goods, when you could be paying £200 a year less. Spend some time shopping around and you can often halve your bills at speed.
3. Can’t afford your bill, but don’t want to switch? If it’s TV, mobiles, broadband etc, haggling may be the answer.
If you are really happy with your current broadband service for example, or you cannot bear to part with Sky TV, then why not try to haggle the cost down. If you are out of your contract, then it’s always good to have a look at comparison sites and note down the best deals around and ask your firm to match them. It’s always good to be as polite and charming as possible and this works best!
4. You could be eligible for ‘social tariff’ broadband
Broadband gives you great deals for a year, but after that, you need to keep it cheap by ditching and switching. However, if you are on a lower income, such as claiming universal credit, then you can switch to a long term and cheap tariff.
5. Struggling to afford period products?
While the ‘tampon tax’ may have been abolished, there are still many women and girls who struggle to afford period products every month. There are many schemed that have been set up to help you out, including the emergency ‘Package for Sandy’ in Morrisons.
6. Make an easy £150 by switching bank accounts
Banks are letting the cash flow again in order to pay people to switch bank accounts. There are many banks that are paying people £100 or more to switch. So unless your bank makes you happy, if you need cash, why not take advantage of the free money?
7. Is your family income under £30,000? Check to see whether you are due benefits
While there are no guarantees that you will get anything, it’s worth spending the time to see whether you are eligible for benefits. This is particularly true when it comes to families. Even if you are only eligible for a small amount, then it can open doors to other social support, such as council tax reductions, and reduced utility tariffs. Use this 10-minute benefit checker.
8. Are you on a low income? Check if you’re missing out on an income support grant
If you are struggling to make ends meet on a low income, there is a lot more cash out there to help you than you may think. Lots of places such as charities, the Government and even some companies often will have funds which are available to help, especially if you’ve got children. While this free money often goes unclaimed, so while there are no guarantees, it’s worth checking this Grant grabbing guide to see if you could get any of them.
9. Check if your child is eligible for free school meals and the pupil premium
If you are on means-tested benefits and on a low income, your child may qualify for free school meals.
This doesn’t stop there, the pupil premium can entitle you to other benefits and is generally available for some on low incomes. You can apply for this via your local council.
10. Are you a new parent, or about to be and on benefits? You may be due £500
If you’re pregnant or have a baby under six months old, and you or your partner are on certain benefits, you may be eligible for a one-off £500 (£606 in Scotland) maternity grant which doesn’t have to be repaid. You may get more if you’re having twins or triplets.
11. Pregnant, have a child under 4 and on benefits? You can get free food through Healthy Start vouchers
Healthy Start (Best Start in Scotland). vouchers can be used by families on low incomes in order to buy cow’s milk, formula milk, fruit and veg and other food. You will need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant, with at least one child under four, and be receiving certain benefits in order to qualify. Apply via the NHS.
12. Get yourself some free or discount food from local bakeries, supermarkets & neighbours
There are some great apps out there that can help you get free or discount food in your local area. Olio lets you sign up and share food across your local community. Supermarkets such as Tesco and Pret also have jumped on board, so grab yourself some delicious and free goodies.
Too Good To Go also helps you save your money and reduces food waste by offering leftover food at discount prices from local cafes and restaurants at the end of the day. You can buy a ‘magic bag’ for about £2-£4 which will be worth at least three times as much full price. You won’t know what is in the bag till you get it, but you can snag some absolute bargains.
13. Get free and cheap meals by grabbing intro offers
While food box subscriptions always look like a luxury, you may be able to take advantage of their introductory offers snagging you some free, or largely discounted meals. There are so many offers out there for brands such as HelloFresh and Gousto, with some even offering the first box for free. Most of these have no subscription obligations so you can cancel at any time.
14. Please don’t go hungry – food banks are there to help with the basics
If you are struggling to afford food, there are always places that can help. Make sure you are using them, do not let pride get in your way. Foodbanks give out three day parcels which provide you with enough in-date non-perishable food.
To get help from most foodbanks you need to be referred, though some independent foodbanks don’t need this. You can typically be referred by a doctor, a health visitor, your child’s school or a social worker. If you don’t know who to contact, why not try asking Citizens Advice.
15. Get your water bills massively reduced or capped if you’re on a low income
If you’re struggling to pay your water bills or claim benefits, there are a number of schemes and even assistance funds that can help. Every water company has a scheme called Watersure for those with 3 or more children under 18 at home who are entitled to child benefits or any amount of certain other benefits.
16. Got any old mobile handsets lying around? They are worth cash, so trade them in
Old mobiles lying around can make you serious cash – eBay often allows you to net the maximum cash, however, for speed and ease, you can put your information into trade-in sites.
17. Drive less, walk or cycle more
This sounds super obvious, but with the cost of fuel at almost record highs, you should think before you get behind the wheel. Could you walk or cycle instead?
18. Consider smaller discounters over big supermarkets
With food prices going through the roof, it’s worth considering smaller discounters over major supermarkets. Check out Lidl and Aldi for major discounts, as well as Home Bargains and B&M Bargains as well. These can often prove to be a lot cheaper than big supermarkets.
19. Prevent overspending in supermarkets by making a list and never shopping hungry
Sit down for 5 minutes before you head out to the shops and make a list of what you need. While this sounds obvious, if you go out shopping without a list, it’s very easy to end up buying things you didn’t intent to get and probably didn’t need.
Make sure you don’t shop when you are hungry as well. Your hunger will overshadow your purchases and before you know it, you will have enough food to feed a small army in your trolley.
20. If you haven’t used something for a year, flog it
If you have stuff sitting around and gathering dust, the consider selling it. Places like eBay and Facebook Marketplace are some great places to sell your old stuff. This could be kids clothes that they have grown out of, old tech, CD’s and books. Make some quick cash from the comfort of your own home!