The cost of living has increased considerably over the last few months. It is fair to say that everyone is feeling the pinch with the increases in day-to-day costs and the challenge of managing household budgets.
This means we really need to stretch every euro and get what value we can. For some people, they are already stretched to or beyond their limits and have to make tough decisions on what to prioritise. This blog’s tips, tricks, and life hacks are suggestions to help you find better value and stretch your euro. Over the next 2 blogs, we will share some of our top tips on making your euro stretch and where you might find extra value. It won’t fix the problem, but we hope it will help to make the costs of living a little easier to manage.
- Track your spending. This might seem obvious, or indeed a tip that you may think does not apply to the current crisis. However, having a clear idea of where you are spending will help you reduce or remove the things that you don’t need at the moment. You can download an app to help you track your spending, use the notes app on phone, or a notepad if you prefer pen and paper.
- Do you have a big family event or occasion coming up? Join a local Facebook group or local swap shop groups, you could even ask on parents WhatsApp groups for kids of different ages. Or you could ask family or friends to do a swap shop with stuff that doesn’t fit or suit anymore.
- Use Google to find bargains for things you need, remember it’s not a deal/bargain if you don’t need it.
Bonus Tip – shop local if you can. Not only will you be supporting local makers and traders, but you will reduce the risk of import charges if you happen to buy outside the EU, which now includes the UK.
- Shopping around has gained some bad press lately, but there is value available. If you are coming to the end of your contract, then take the time to do some research. We’ve got a series of switching blogs for your car insurance, utilities and your broadband to help you get started.
- Don’t over-insure your car. Insurers will only pay out the market value of your car in the scenario where it has been written off. Ask your insurer if you can list “current market value” on your policy so you never over-insure it again! If they don’t allow you to use the market value, use this valuation tool from Carzone to get a guide price. It could mean that you are paying a lot less on your insurance premium.
- Reduce your reliance on the local convenience store by taking the time to make a shopping list for the ‘big shop’.
- Don’t have a car to travel to the local supermarket? Carpool with someone who has, a friend or family member or if you have a car. Or offer to drive someone who doesn’t and make it a once-a-week trip.
- Make sure you are submitting readings for your energy bills on time. Estimates can be multiple times higher than your actual usage! Set a reminder on your phone for when it’s due each month.
- It’s another obvious one but unplug your chargers and appliances when not in use. TVs, games consoles, laptops and phone chargers can use up to 10% of their normal usage when left on standby! That’s a lot of wasted energy.
By the looks of it, energy bills won’t be going down anytime soon. So now is the time to start creating energy-saving habits and getting smarter with your budget. For some people, the money just won’t stretch far enough and we’re here to help you manage. MABS advisers are here and ready to help you through the MABS 6-Step Money Advice Process. This process will help you maximise your income and tackle and prioritise debt and spending. Advisers can help you access social welfare entitlements and hardship funds to get you through.
Keep an eye out for our next blog with more tips on how to tackle the cost of living crisis.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of MABS, call our National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, WhatsApp 086 035 3141 or find the contact details for your local office.