Unless you’re lucky enough to be a millionaire, there’s a good chance that you’re feeling the pinch, finances-wise, at the moment. The cost of living has gone up in a frightening way, while most people’s earnings aren’t even close to keeping up with the increase. This is especially scary for families and retired people as staying warm and fed this winter will be harder than ever.
While I get fed up with the constant barrage of “tips” from people who want to helpfully gabble on about how cheap it is to feed your family if you only eat porridge, there are ways that you can make changes which will help you to navigate the scary times ahead, without making you feel like you’ve got back to Victorian times of workhouses and warm rooms. Here’s what we came up with:
Speak to Your GP for a Food Bank Referral
According to The Trussell Trust “Each food bank works with different frontline professionals, like doctors, health visitors, social workers, and Citizens Advice. These professionals will be able to refer you to a food bank and give you a food bank voucher if they think you need emergency food. The food bank and referral agency will use this voucher to gather some basic information about you. This will help them to understand why you need.”
Check Your Prescriptions
If you have to take regular medications, it’s worth double checking whether this entitles you to free prescriptions. People with diabetes, thyroid issues and other medical needs may not have to pay for their prescriptions and this could save you a huge amount of money each month. Alternatively, you can get a prepayment certificate – it’s a bit like a prescription season ticket and can mean big savings.
Change Energy Provider
Many of us are using an energy tariff which is by NO means the cheapest one for us, so calling your energy providers and asking them to reassess your usage is a really good idea. Also, if you pay by Direct Debit and are in credit, it’s worth asking them to reduce the amount they take each month. Energy is now one of the biggest expenses for families, so finding ways to reduce what you pay is going to be hugely important.
Haggle With Everyone!
Lots of people are looking at ways they might be able to save money on the services they use every day, in response to the cost of living crisis. This includes phone, broadband and pay-TV services. If your bill’s going up, or you’re on a promo deal that’s ending, switching isn’t the only way to cut costs. You can try haggling to get the best deal. There are also some saving schemes to help families on a low income.
Look at Your Outgoings
Most people have cut back on luxuries to combat the increased cost of living and many have reduced the number of subscriptions they have. While it is a cost-cutting exercise, this offers an opportunity to review your spending and decide whether that on-demand TV subscription or gym membership is really worth the money. It’s also a good money saving tip – not to mention extremely satisfying – to do an overall ‘health check’ on your finances. You might find unexpected direct debits that you can cancel without depriving yourself too much.