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Helping you through the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis continues to create difficulties for all of us, with more of our money being needed to pay everyday bills.

Helping you through the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis continues to create difficulties for all of us, with more of our money being needed to pay everyday bills.

As winter approaches, some of our customers may also be concerned about the cost of heating their homes in the colder months.

To try and help you navigate your way through these tough times, our Money Advice Team has come up with some further hints and tips on how you can make your money go further and reduce your bills while avoiding creating further debts.

Prioritise your payments

It’s vital you prioritise your payments. Make sure you pay the most important bills first, especially your rent. It’s important that you pay priority bills such as Council Tax, gas, electricity, TV Licence and any court fines or child maintenance to avoid being cut off or incurring additional charges.

If you’re struggling with your energy bills, speak to your suppliers to see what help they can offer. Many of them have support available and can help you with payment plans. It’s much better to speak to them than ignore the problem and create bigger debts.

Most water companies also offer lower tariffs for people on low incomes, so it’s a good idea to contact them to check.

Plan ahead as best you can for Christmas. Try to buy a few items that’ll keep as you do your regular shop to spread the cost rather than bigger shops nearer the day which’ll be a bigger shock to your budgets.

More energy efficient items

Where possible, can you use more energy efficient items in your home? Do you have energy efficient light bulbs?

When cooking, can you use a slow cooker or air fryer? These items are generally much cheaper to run than using a cooker. If you don’t already have one, it might be worth looking at whether you can afford to buy one if the savings you’d make outweigh the purchase price.

If you do cook using a traditional cooker, can you try to batch cook and save some portions for use later rather than cooking every day?

Citizens Advice has a useful guide to give you an idea of how much it costs to run everyday household items - you can find it here.

Changes in lifestyle

When at home, there are ways of keeping warm without turning the heating up. Try and use blankets and heated throws where possible. It’s important, however, that you do put your heating on at least once each day to prevent condensation, damp and mould in the property.

Wear layers of clothing to keep you warm. Lots of shops are now selling fleece lined hoodies or blankets with sleeves.

Use discount shops and supermarkets and try their own brands or budget brands.

Check for support

There’s support available out there to help the most vulnerable. Why not find out which charities are in your area and how they can help. For example, faith groups often provide a hot meal or warm space. Local authorities have household support funds available, but you may need a referral from a local charity.

Some councils are creating warm hubs this winter, to provide spaces where people can go to keep warm. Speak to your local council to find out what help and support they can give.

Biggest tip

Perhaps the most important thing to do right now is budget. Make sure you know what’s coming in and what’s likely to go out, so you can make some savings. You can do this online free at Money Helper.

Make sure you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to by doing a benefits check online.

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