Managing your money through the cost of living crisis
Rising energy prices and inflation has led to bigger bills and price increases, leaving many of us struggling financially and having to make cutbacks.
To help you through the Cost-of-Living Crisis. we’ve put together some tips which could help you manage your money more effectively.
What’s on this page?
Setting up a Budget
A budget will help keep your spending in check, help ensure that you don’t spend any money that you don’t have and help shed light on any bad spending habits.
To set up a budget you’ll first need to work out how much you spend each month on:
- Household bills
- Living costs
- Travel (Petrol, maintenance, public transport etc.)
- Leisure (Holidays, meals out, Gym memberships etc.
All this information then needs to be recorded in a budget planner.
Money Helper has a handy free budget planner which gives you a detailed breakdown of your spending https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/everyday-money/budgeting/budget-planner
A budget planner helps show you where your money is being spent and could help identify areas you can make adjustments and save money.
Review your finances
To help review your finances you could keep a spending diary and note down all that you spend in a month, or you could simply look at your latest debit or credit card statement.
By having a record, you can identify any unnecessary spending, i.e., an unused gym membership or magazine subscriptions or regular takeaways or meals out.
You can then work how much you can save each month by cutting out on these costs.
Cutting your household bills
From gas and electricity to mobile phones and internet, the cost of household bills has continued to rise, however there are ways to reduce your monthly bills.
For example, you can
- Cut your water bills by taking showers instead of baths
- Match your mobile or internet contract to fit your lifestyle – i.e. if you use a lot of data and are charged extra when you go over, a deal with more data might be cheaper in the long run
- Reduce the cost of travel by finding cheaper car insurance, car sharing or alternative means of travel
- For more tips on saving money with your household bills visit https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/everyday-money/budgeting/how-to-save-money-on-household-bills
Be smarter when shopping for goods
Being smarter when shopping for goods can help you save money each month, one of the ways you can save on goods is when you do your weekly grocery shopping.
Instead of buying a branded product try a supermarkets own brand or their value brand to save money, more often than not, the only noticeable difference between these brands is the packaging!
Save money on food shopping
With increasing food prices, keeping your weekly food shopping bill on budget has become a lot more difficult.
However, there are plenty of ways to help keep those costs down, from planning your meals to batch cooking, ensuring you and your family don’t have to skip meals.
For tips and advice on how you can save with your weekly food shop visit https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/save-money-food-meals.aspx
Save on your gas and electricity bills
There are a few changes you can make around the house to help cut down your gas and electricity bills including switching off devices that you’re currently not using at the plug, turning down the thermostat by a degree or two and washing clothes at lower temperatures.
For some useful energy saving tips visit https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/energy-saving-advice/
Switching energy suppliers
Another way of saving money on your energy bills is to shop around for a cheaper energy tariff. The best way of finding cheaper tariffs is with Ofgem-accredited price comparison website such as Money Supermarket or Uswitch.
With a comparison website you’ll be able to find out what you can save by switching providers. If you find a cheaper offer elsewhere, you could also ask your current provider if they’ll match that offer.
For more information on switching energy providers visit https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/switching-energy-tariff-or-supplier
Uswitch also have a have a handy guide that offers advice on the ins and outs of switching energy suppliers https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/how-to-switch-gas-and-electricity/
Help if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills.
If you’re falling behind with your energy bills and risk getting into debt, there are numerous options available to you, from contacting your supplier to get help with payments to various government schemes and grants.
Citizens Advice has a really handy guide on the help and support available for people struggling with their energy bills https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/struggling-to-pay-your-energy-bills/
Setting up an emergency fund
It’s important to have an emergency fund in case something goes wrong, this could cover you in the event of an unexpected financial blow and could help prevent you from going into debt.
By putting some money in an easy access savings account each month where possible, you’ll have access to emergency funds when you most need it.
Help managing your mortgage payments
With rising prices, meeting monthly mortgage payments could become difficult.
If money does become tight and you’re worried about keeping up with your mortgage payments, it’s best to get in touch with your lender to discuss your payment options as soon as possible.
Getting help if debt problems become serious
If the worst happens and you do unfortunately go into debt, it’s best to seek support straight away.
There is plenty of free and confidential advice out there to help you from charities such as:
Payplan – 0800 280 2816 www.payplan.com
National Debtline – 0808 808 4000 www.nationaldebtline.org
Step Change Debt Charity – 0800 138 1111 www.stepchange.org
Money Helper also has lots of useful advice and guidance on dealing with debt https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/money-troubles/dealing-with-debt
For more advice and support with managing your money please visit