Cost of living - tips for managing and saving money
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have confirmed that Help to Save – the government savings scheme for low-income earners, which offers a 50% bonus payment worth up to £1,200 over four years has been extended to April 2025.
Although we do all we can to make sure links to third party organisations are up to date please note we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies on external content on other websites.
- Keep track of your spending. Only spend money you have and avoid getting into debt.
- Plan ahead and protect against unexpected costs or events. Save money if you can.
- Make informed choices. Pay the bills you must pay first (rent/mortgage, Council Tax, living costs).
- Control your spending. Make sure you only buy the important things and don’t buy anything you don’t need. Keep a spending diary.
- Use price comparison websites and switching services to get the best deals on things like your gas and electricity supply, your phone contract and your weekly food shop.
- When you are food shopping, make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Understand what might happen if you lost your job or you got into debt.
- Renegotiate credit card repayments/loan repayments to reduce your monthly out-goings or pay more if you can afford it.
Do not borrow money from payday lenders with excessive interest rates or Loan Sharks. Try a credit union instead. Visit sixtowns.co.uk(opens in a new window) for more information.
- Look at ways of increasing your income. Sell things you don’t need, check you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to, look for new work or development opportunities with your existing employer.
Look at ways to cut your expenses. Shop around for the best deals, cook your own food and eat what you buy. The average family household throws £700 of food away every year. Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com(opens in a new window) for help.
Saving on your annual energy bills
£80 a year - The ideal temperature for your home is between 18 and 21 degrees. Turning your heating down by 1 degree will save you £80 a year. Turn radiators off if you have unused rooms.
£55 a year - Dry clothes on racks or outside where possible instead of using a tumble dryer.
£38 a year - Fit a water-efficient shower head.
£35 a year - Turn off any non-essential electrical items, not just on to standby.
£25 a year - Draught proof your windows, doors, even letterboxes and keyholes. This stops heat from escaping.
£15 a year -Turn your lights off when not in use.
£14 a year - Reduce your dishwasher use by 1 run per week.
£8 a year - Do 1 less load of washing each week.
£7 a year - Showering for 1 minute less will save £7 a year for each person.
£3 a year - Replace 1 standard light bulb with an energy-efficient bulb.
Switch off standby - You can save around £55 (£45 in NI) a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode. Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. You may want to think about getting a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go. Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record. Find out which appliances use most energy in your home.
Draught-proof windows and doors - Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney. Professional draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can cost around £225, but can save around £45 (£55 in NI) a year on energy bills. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper. Find out more about reducing home heat loss.
Turn off lights - Turn your lights off when you’re not using them or when you leave a room. This will save you around £20 (£19 in NI) a year on your annual energy bills. Replacing all the lights in your home with LED bulbs could help you save even more.
Careful with your washing - You can save around £28 (£15 in NI) a year from your energy bill just by using your washing machine more carefully:
Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures.
Reduce your washing machine use by one run per week for a year.
Avoid the tumble dryer - Avoid using a tumble dryer for your clothes: dry clothes on racks inside where possible or outside in warmer weather to save £60 (£65 in NI) a year.
Spend less time in the shower - Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £70 (£35 in NI) a year on their energy bills.
Swap your bath for a shower - Some of us might enjoy a long soak in the bath, but swapping just one bath a week with a 4-minute shower could save you £12 (£6 in NI) a year on your energy bills. Find out how saving water at home can help your wallet and the environment.
Be savvy in the kitchen - Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. But many of us will admit that we at least occasionally boil the kettle with more water than we’re going to use. Avoid overfilling the kettle and save yourself £11 (£12 in NI) a year on your electricity bill. You could also consider fitting an aerator onto your existing kitchen tap to reduce the amount of water coming out without affecting how it washes or rinses. An aerator is a small gadget with tiny holes – they attach to the spout of taps and are cheap and easy to install – and could save you £25 (£30 in NI) a year.
Fill your dishwasher - Only run your dishwasher when it is full to reduce the amount of water you use. Reducing your dishwasher use by one run per week for a year could save you £14 (£15 in NI).
Top up the insulation - Effective insulation of your hot water cylinder is important: even if you have thin spray foam or a loose 25mm jacket, you can benefit from increasing the insulation to a British Standard Jacket 80mm thick, saving £35 (£45 in NI) a year in the process. Insulating your water tank, pipes and radiators is a quick and easy way to save money on your bills
The cost of heating and powering our homes has risen significantly over recent years. Help is at hand to reduce your energy use, cut your costs and improve your home. The government have published energy saving advice as part of the Help for Households Campaign. As the weather turns colder, there are some simple actions people may not be aware of that could help them save further money on their energy bills. Advice available is
- Reducing boiler flow temperature
- Turning down radiators not in use
- Draft-proofing windows and doors
Saving on your broadband and mobile phone tariffs
Could you be saving money on your broadband bill?
The Government is supporting people with their household bills, working with broadband and mobile phone providers to offer social tariffs to those struggling to afford broadband or phone services. Social tariffs offer cheaper, reliable broadband and phone packages to those on low incomes. For some, accessing this could mean a saving of around £180 a year.
Find out if you qualify by visiting Ofcom's website for more information.
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