Price rises are never good news, especially when they’re on the ‘essentials’ like food and energy.
For some people faced with rising prices, a spot of cutting back on spending and tightening their purse strings may make enough in the household pot to cover the extra living costs.
But if you’re already struggling to keep your head above water and any price rise, however small, is going to tip you over the financial edge and into serious debt, you need to get help.
Get free help if you’re struggling
Citizens Advice, National Debtline and StepChange are all brilliant organisations that offer free advice. And don’t put off contacting them for fear of being judged, or given a hard time as that’s not what they’re about at all. They’re there to offer free help, support and advice.
And contact your lenders too, so your mortgage lender or landlord, energy supplier, local council if you’re struggling with council tax, credit card companies and so on; basically whoever you owe money to, and find out about making reduced payments and any financial help.
Check you’re claiming every penny
If you’re on a low income, it’s worth checking you’re getting all the benefits and payments you’re due.
There’s often no ‘one size fits all’ criteria, as with some benefits the level of payment and what you’re entitled to depends on your personal circumstances.
You can plug your details into this handy free benefits calculator for a quick five minute financial check up.
Quick cut blitz tips
Go through all your bills and if you’re out of contract on your TV package, mobile deal or gym membership, ditch it to save money, or try and haggle down the price.
When going for a ‘haggle’, always ask for ‘disconnections’ as they’re the ‘power people’ who can authorise the biggest discounts to keep you as a customer.
Switching was once my favourite moneysaving tip, but right now, certainly within the energy world, sticking with your supplier’s standard deal with the price cap is likely to be your best bet, but there’s still ways to switch and bag some cash.
Some banks offer free cash if you switch. Right now Nationwide dish out £100 to new customers switching to its FlexDirect account and it’s £130 with First Direct
Check your bank statement
Yes it’s never going to be fun bedtime reading but five minutes ‘work’ could save you some serious cash.
Check for old direct debits and standing orders you’re still paying out on. Stuff like old subscriptions for magazines you don’t read, gym memberships you don’t use, extended warranty insurance for gadgets you no longer have or even those pesky anti virus ‘auto renewal’ things. Yes I’m looking at your Norton! Once again you can haggle down the price.
Smart supermarket shopping
I’m a big Aldi fan and having ‘consumer tested’ lots of products in their range for my magazine column I really can’t tell the difference, beyond the packaging. But what I do know is our grocery bill is so much cheaper than my usual supermarket. So well worth giving the likes of Aldi or Lidl a go, as you can save serious cash.