Spring Clean Your Finances: Simple Money-Saving Hints and Tips

Now more than ever, you need simple but effective ways to make savings wherever possible.

 

With the cost of living rising and increases in everything from food to fuel, people are naturally concerned. You need to keep warm and fed, but with the state pension at just shy of £180 per week, we know this isn’t always easy.

 

According to the BBC: “Around 18 million households on standard tariffs will see an average increase of £693 - from £1,277 to £1,971 per year. Around 4.5 million prepayment customers will see an average increase of £708 - from £1,309 to £2,017.”

Inflation has reached a 30-year high, seeing shoppers hit by the sharpest price rise in a decade: “shop price inflation jumped from 0.8% in December to 1.5% in January…while food inflation accelerated to 2.7% in January, up from 2.4% in December.”

Now more than ever, you need simple but effective ways to make savings wherever possible. And it makes sense to start with a quick check of any help that may be available to counter the hike in prices.

Help With Household Bills

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged £350 in support this year to 80% of households:

In April people in council tax bands A to D in England will receive a one-off £150 discount…In October customers in England, Scotland and Wales will receive a £200 rebate on their energy bills. They will have to repay this at £40 a year for five years, starting in April 2023.”

Local authorities in England will also have access to a £150m fund to help those households on a lower income, who are living in higher council tax properties. The fund is also intended to help households who don't pay council tax in bands A to D.

In addition, the warm house discount scheme will be expanded to cover three million low-income households.

Certain areas of the UK are also offering their own help with household bills. Wealden District Council, home to most of our South Downs houses, was offering a Household Support Fund, but the scheme is now closed. There is however other support available from East Sussex County Council. 

Money-Saving Tips and Tricks

So what else can you do to keep your finances in check?

  • Beware BOGOFs:  It’s so tempting when you’re doing the weekly food shop and you spot a buy-one-get-one-free offer; too tempting, in fact! Research suggests that we actually end up spending – and wasting – more with these (seemingly) money-saving offers.

  • Shop around:  Whether it’s car insurance, contents insurance, or household bills, it’s worth checking out a comparison site whenever renewal time comes around. Websites like Money Supermarket can help you to spot cheaper deals when they’re available.

  • Try own-brand:  A lot of us like to buy brand names we know and trust – but brands rely on exactly that. Supermarket own brands are often just as good (in blind taste tests, most people can’t even tell the difference). Buying own-brand can save you serious money.

  • Waste less:  The amount of food we throw away is nothing short of shocking. One way to counter this is to meal plan; that way, you only buy in what you need for that week’s meals. And if you have odds and ends left in the fridge, use a recipe finder online!

  • Find lost savings:  People take out so many bank accounts in their lifetime that it can be difficult to keep track and remember the ones you no longer use. If you have a niggling feeling that you’ve lost money along the way, use ‘My Lost Account’ to double-check.

  • Monitor your money:  Keeping on track of your finances is much easier if you know where your money is going. A cup of coffee here; a meal out there – it all adds up. To feel more in control, make a note of everything you spend (good old-fashioned pen and paper is fine, but there’s apps you can use, too).

  • Get rewarded for being loyal:  Loads of places offer loyalty cards these days – from restaurants to retailers – so you may as well reap the rewards for spending your money in the same place. You might also get a good deal on a first-time sign-up.

  • Read through your bank statement:  It’s really important to go through your bank statement every few weeks; you might have been charged twice for something, or you might have a direct debit you no longer need but forgot to cancel.

Get Ongoing Help With Financial Management

To stay in the know with all things financial, sign up to Which? Money Weekly – a free newsletter from Which? delivering news, deals and money-saving tips straight to your inbox. There’s also the free Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert's Money Tips Email (the more tips, the better!).

 

Consider Supported Living

If you are considering a move, choosing Supported Living can also help you to manage your budget. As an Abbeyfield tenant, you know the costs associated with your home: you can plan without unexpected heating costs or maintenance bills.

Tasty, home-cooked meals are provided alongside everyday housekeeping. All of your household utility and maintenance bills, as well as your council tax, are included in the cost. This gives you and your family peace of mind for a positive, safe and secure home.

 

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