Everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment, whether it be the huge increase in utility bills or the cost of food sky rocketing or the astronomical cost of a litre of fuel. To help you manage the increase in the cost of living we have pulled together some hints and tips on some of the small things you can do to save here and there.
Unfortunately there is no magic wand here – it is just about the small things you can do.
- Heat the person not the home. If you are at home wrap up in layers rather than putting the heating on. Use a water bottle. Have a blanket or a throw around to use. Invest in a heated throw, these will keep you warm and are a cheaper option to putting the central heating on.
- Batch Cooking – if you are using the oven make sure you fill it rather than cooking one thing at a time, make a batch of something and cook while you have the oven on then freeze it for another day. If you can, use a slow cooker for things rather than the oven, it will be on for longer but costs less to run.
- Only use the water you need in a kettle, or boil a full kettle and then fill a flask.
- Try swapping your baths for a shower. If you already shower try to take a shorter shower.
- Water firms hand out free water-saving gadgets via water efficiency site Save Water Save Money. These include shower heads, tap inserts and garden hose nozzles. As well as saving money for those on water meters, as much of the water we use is heated, it reduces energy bills too. Check it out at savewatersavemoney.co.uk
- LEAP is a free service that is helping people keep warm and reduce energy bills without costing them any money. Check out their website applyforleap.org.uk
- Avoid throwing food away. Do you know the difference between Use By and Best Before dates? Best Buy is just the manufacturer’s view on when it’s no longer at optimum quality – you can still eat that product.
- Too Good To Go – this is an app that you can download for free and lists supermarkets, restaurants & coffee shops that have excess food at the end of their day that they want to sell at a really reduced rate. You pay through the app and go to the store to collect. Some of the bargains we have seen on here include boxes of fruit & veg from Morrison’s that are easily worth £15 on sale for £3.09. Check out their website toogoodtogo.co.uk
- Olio – this is a free app and is used for people to share items free of charge. This includes food as well as other items such as clothing and household goods. The food on here may just be from someone local that is having a clear out or may be from one of the Olio Food Waste Hero’s, these people collect food from supermarkets at the end of the day. You can go on and see who is giving away food in your area. You can often pick up bread, fruit & veg and chilled items from the Food Waste Hero’s totally free of charge, you just request the item then make arrangements to collect.
- Shop around, if you have never tried Lidl or Aldi give them a try, you will be surprised how much cheaper they are than the traditional supermarkets. Lidl has come top in a Which cheapest supermarket survey. A basket of 21 everyday items came in at £26.83 in Lidl (Aldi was £27.14) but some of the other bigger supermarkets came in up to £9 more expensive.
- The Downshift Challenge is essentially dropping down a brand level on groceries – for example, 'finest' to 'branded' to 'own brand' to 'basic'. If you can't taste a difference, stick with the lower level. On average it cuts 30% off bills, so if you only stick with half, that's 15% saved. It's not just food either – you can do it with toiletries and cleaning products.
- Get money back if you pay council tax - You can get £150 back from the council to help pay your energy bills. You’ll get the rebate if you pay council tax and your home is in council tax bands A to D. You can find your band on your council tax bill. If you pay your council tax by direct debit your council should pay you automatically. Local councils will start to make the payments directly into bank accounts in April 2022. If you don’t pay by direct debit or didn’t set up a direct debit before the end of March 2022, you should still get a rebate, look out for information from your local council on how to claim this rebate.
- Family income under £30,000 (or £50,000 in rare cases)? Check whether you are entitled to any benefits. Even if you only qualify for a small amount it can open the door to other support such as council tax reduction or reduced utility tariffs. Have a look at the benefit checker on the Gov UK website gov.uk/benefits-calculators
- Water companies offer financial assistance to people on lower incomes and certain benefits. This can be a substantial reduction in your water bill for up 2 years. Have a look at your suppliers website for further details (for South Staffs Water this is called the Water Assure Tariff).
- Citizens Advice Bureau offer lots of advice on their website around grants and benefits to help people pay their energy bills, take a look at citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/grants-and-benefits-to-help-you-pay-your-energy-bills/
Support from BCHG
Our in-house team can offer help with budgeting, claiming benefits, getting on-line and looking for work or other support you need to make a success of your tenancy. If you are a BCHG tenant and need help then please contact your CRM in the first instance to arrange a referral to the team.