Are you struggling with the cost of living?

We’ve put together some help and advice for households who may be struggling with the cost of living.

The news hasn’t been great lately and for some people the cost-of-living crisis is really starting to bite.

First of all, DON’T bury your head in the sand. It doesn’t help and the problem will only get worse.  It’s scary, no one is underestimating it but there are ways to get through it. The best thing you can do is to face it head on and take action to minimise it’s impact on you and your family. There is help out there. It is just a case of asking.  The first thing you need to do it is look at your bills. As terrifying as it is, if you don’t know what your bills are then you’ll find it difficult to do anything about it.

Energy Price Cap. You may have heard on the news about the “energy price cap” but what is it?  The Price Cap will NOT limit the total bill you will get. The cap relates to the cost per unit of gas and electricity (KWh) that your energy company can charge you.  

There is no fixed price that your overall bill will get to.  The more gas and electricity you use the more your bills will be! 

If you are struggling with your bills talk to your Energy Provider in the first instance.  

What other help is available

The Energy Bill Support Scheme – This is a £400 rebate on winter bills for households and will be paid in instalments between October 2022 and March 2023. 

Cost of Living Support – for those in receipt of benefits. 

Household Support Fund – Grants administered via Local Authorities to support those in need

If you are struggling or think you will struggle over the winter, then contact your local Citizens Advice for help. You can also get a Benefits Check done. They will be able to assess whether you are eligible for any benefits. The Citizens Advice offer free and impartial advice.

Visit our page onWhere can I find additional help?for more information.

Be Aware of Scams. Please also be aware of the many scams that are out there. Think carefully if you are asked to click links or sign up to things to receive additional payments. Consider who is sending you the information and ask yourself if it comes from a trusted source? If you are unsure about receiving a payment, speak to your energy supplier, your local council, citizens advice or check directly by using the numbers on your bill and ask.

For more information about scams, you can also visit https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk 

You can also follow these simple steps to help you save money on your energy bills….

Some of the oldest advice remains relevant: remember to turn your devices off standby where possible. You can save money just by remembering to turn your appliances off.

If it’s time for a new TV, look for the most energy efficient one you can afford, or choose a smaller screen size to save on running costs. 

Close your curtains at dusk. Whenit’s dark outside shut the curtains or blinds and keep the heat in.  If you have a radiator under your window tuck the curtains behind them.

Draught Proof Windows and Doors. Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney.

Draught-proofing your windows, doors, letter boxes, key holes and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can help keep the heat in and save you money! You can ask a professional to do this but DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper.

Layer up! You might not look good in multiple layers but at least you will be warm.  Use blankets or wearable blankets to keep you warm and use hot water bottles. Pop a water bottle in your bed and wrap your PJ’s around it so it warms your bed and your PJ’s.

Turn your lights off when you’re not using them or when you leave a room. This will save you money on your annual electricity bill.

Energy efficient lightbulbs come in a range of shades from cool to warm, allowing you to create the lighting effect that you want for your home. If the average household replaced all bulbs with energy efficient lightbulbs (LEDs), it would save around £55 a year on bills.  

BE SAVVY IN THE BATHROOM

Spend Less Time in The Shower – keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes will save you money on your energy and water bills!

Swap your Bath for a Shower – some of us might enjoy a long soak in the bath but swapping just one bath a week with a 4-minute shower will save on your energy bills.

BE SAVVY IN THE KITCHEN

Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. But many of us will admit that we at least occasionally boil the kettle with more water than we’re going to use. Avoid overfilling the kettle and save on your electricity bill.

Be careful with the Washing. 

You can save money on your electricity bill just by using your washing machine more carefully:

Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures.

Reduce your washing machine use by one run per week for a year.

Always do a full load

Use products such as colour catcher sheets so you can do mixed loads together.

Avoid The Tumble Dryer. 

Try and avoid using a tumble dryer for your clothes: dry clothes on racks inside where possible or outside in warmer weather.  If drying inside put near a radiator.  However, you will need to ventilate the room to reduce the risk of mould.  

Are your cooking habits costing you too much? 

A lot of energy is spent on powering kitchen appliances, including the hob, oven, kettle and microwave.

Microwaves are more efficient than ovens at cooking, as they only heat the food and not the air space inside. Air fryers, slow cookers and soup kettles are another cheaper way of cooking.  Also, batch cooking will save in the long run as you only need to use the energy-hungry appliances once and then use the microwave to reheat afterwards.  Remember to ensure that any food you freeze is cooled and frozen quickly and when reheating ensure it is piping hot throughout before eating.  

Writing a meal planner for the week and a shopping list will help you spend less on your supermarket shop. When you write the supermarket list stick to it when going round and don’t get swayed by the enticing offers around the store. Check out discounted food that is close to it’s sell by date. As long as you plan to use it that day, or if it is freeze-able, then it’s a good buy.  

Buy own brand items, many of them taste the same or very similar and can be half the price.

Avoid food waste – your freezer is a great way to save food from going to waste.  Most foods can be frozen such as fruit and vegetables.  For example, sliced peppers or mushrooms.  You could even do a freezer book if you have a large freezer so you know exactly what’s in there – so the next time you hear the question “what’s for dinner” you can look at your list and know what you’ve got! This can really help when batch cooking too as you know exactly what is in the freezer.  Just remember to label your containers and date them so they don’t linger in there too long. Simply write on a piece of paper and use a bit of tape to hold in place before freezing.  Also, remember to mark off your list when used so you have an up-to-date list of what you’ve got! 

For more information about saving money and saving energy you can visit:

The Energy Saving Trust – www.energysavingtrust.org.uk 

The Centre for Sustainable Energy – www.cse.org.uk 

National Energy Action – www.nea.org.uk