• Saturday, February 24, 2024


How to navigate the cost of living crisis

Indian Ethnicity, lifestyle, Modern, Background, Young Adult,

By: Asjad Nazir

WHETHER it is a substantial increase in mortgages, rent, and household bills, including food prices, the cost of living crisis is hitting hard.

More people than ever are becoming aware of spending and trying to find ways to get through the financial crunch.

With that in mind, Eastern Eye put together a list of 20 quick money saving tips.

Compare: A lot of price comparison websites like Money Supermarket and Go Compare will help you quickly find the best deals, in all areas including mortgages, utilities, insurance, broadband and phone deals. Shopping around for most things will enable you to save money.

Unsubscribe: Whether it is streaming sites you rarely watch, an unused gym membership or any other regular payment that is rarely used, cancel any unnecessary subscriptions.

No to bad habits: Cutting down on vices like smoking or drinking alcohol will not only be a major money saver, but it will also enable you to get healthier. Perhaps swap that cheeky cigarette for a walk in the fresh air.

Save energy: Skyrocketing utility bills have been a major money drainer. There is a lot you can do to cut down on energy usage with simple changes, like washing up with colder water and switching off electric devices not in use. Even unplugging chargers not in use will save electricity, and ultimately money. There are many similar such energy saving tips available online.

Discounts: Many promo codes available online allow you to get discount on goods. Even some gym apps have a setting where you can find codes to get cheaper products. Type in what you are looking for followed by promo codes and discounts. There are websites like www.retailmenot.com dedicated to giving you discount codes. Also, look out for coupons in magazines and flyers in the letterbox.

Recycle: We all know about recycling household waste, but why not do that with clothes. Retro fashion has been on trend in recent years, so those clothes sitting in the back of your cupboard can be worn in new combinations and given a second life. This is also great for the environment.

Grow: Food prices have not only sky-rocketed, but there have also been major shortages due to Brexit. Why not get green fingered and grow your own at home. Things like potatoes and tomatoes are surprisingly easy to grow, and will be fresher and not have any chemicals, associated with imported supermarket produce.

Switch: There are some banks that will pay you to switch over to them. You can similarly switch things like a gas and electric supplier, to get a better deal.

Government support: Billions of pounds of government support funding is going unclaimed. There are simple online calculators, where you can put in your details and circumstances, to see if you are entitled to any government money.

Advice: If, like many, you feel overwhelmed with all the financial worries, there is plenty of free help available, including from the citizens advice bureau. Some banks have financial fitness trainers, who can do a ‘money health check’ and offer advice. Qualified financial advisors can also help with bigger money problems.

Tax relief: See what tax relief is available, especially if you are self-employed. You can claim tax relief on things like clothes, travel, and computers, related to work, along with optician visits, prescriptions and expenses connected to a job. A good accountant can guide you.

Save: Put aside money into a savings pot before spending on any indulgences. Also, look for higher saving accounts and things like ISAs.

Socialising switch: Swap activities that will cost money like dinners, clubbing, and ticketed live events for alternatives like free museums, walking and board game nights with friends. There are always great free activities available, including live music shows. Search for ‘low cost entertainment’ in your area.

Cook: Preparing your own meals will save a lot of money on eating out and is a lot healthier. It can also be a good stress reliever and a more meaningful way to entertain friends, family, and romantic dates. This can also include taking your lunch to work.

Wait: Resist the urge to buy something straight away. After waiting a few days or longer, you may realise the impulse purchase wasn’t necessary.

Negotiate: Whether it is renewing your Sky, broadband or mobile subscription or any number of other things, you can negotiate a better deal. They don’t want to lose customers and will usually give you a better deal.

Swap: Instead of buying, why not swap items with neighbours and friends. You can perhaps swap an appliance or outfit for sports gear or a household item. You can also exchange clothes with friends to refresh your wardrobe. There are websites/apps like www.buynothingproject.org that specialise in this. There are other websites like Freegle, where people offer unwanted items for free.

Shop smart: Some stores offer loyalty cards like Nectar, which reward customers with points that turn into money. Also, buying in bulk for essential items that don’t have an expiry date like loo roll will save money in the long run. You can also see which supermarkets are cheaper and can shop around for deals on most things. There are also preowned apps like Vinted and Depop that offer cheaper alternatives.

 Sell: Why not make a little extra money by selling unwanted items, on places like eBay and Facebook marketplace.

Breathe: Last but not least, don’t be so hard on yourself and realise that plenty of help is available, whatever your situation. Remember that you are not alone, and a little research goes a long way.

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