The cost-of-living crisis has impacted almost everyone in the UK by now, having carried on into another year and continuing to see essential costs rise. Different groups are impacted in different ways, from pensioners struggling to reconcile a depreciated pension against their lifestyle to families choosing between heating and eating.
While the situation isn’t so drastic for everyone, it is true that a great many people are encountering difficulties of their own. If you are in that position, you might be looking for ways in which to stretch out your household income. What can you do to cope with the cost-of-living crisis in the short-term, for long-term security?
1. Where is the Money Going?
Your first steps should be to figure out exactly where your money is going. High energy bills and supermarket shops are the poster-children of today’s money issues, but not the whole story by themselves. In examining your outgoings against your income, you can pinpoint the key friction points for your money and any areas you might be better equipped to address.
For example, your grocery shopping may be more expensive week-on-week, but a closer look at your shopping receipts each week might reveal the specific brands or products skewing your grocery costs. This could give you an opportunity to adjust your spending habits – more on which shortly.
2. Creating Savings
With a better understanding of your monthly income and expenditure, you will also have a better understanding of what is possible in terms of savings. It is all well and good to have some ideas for savings goals, but if they are not based in the reality of your situation you are much less likely to achieve or even attempt them.
In earmarking the available net ‘profits’ from basic income and outgoings for utilities, you can set realistic short-term savings goals, enabling you to more effectively build up an emergency fund – and, eventually, longer-term savings pools.
3. Deals and Discounts
You do not need to be told that discounts and offers are a good way to approach scaling back your spending, but it does bear repeating. There are numerous ways in which you might reduce your outgoing costs with some shrewd hunting for good deals.
There are even ways in which you might be able to utilise your profession to bring costs down. Deals and discounts are common for students, public sector workers and servicepeople; an Amazon NHS discount could have a meaningful impact on the cost of household goods.
4. Government Assistance
Lastly, it also bears repeating that assistance is available for those eligible, primarily in the form of the Cost of Living Payment. The Cost of Living Payment is a seasonal payment afforded to pensioners or those on benefits, whether Universal Credit or disability benefits. The payment is not a life-changing one, but nonetheless valuable assistance when it comes to affording the basics.