Winter is almost here and with increasing energy bills set to leave many out of pocket, managing your budget will be challenging, but not impossible. We wanted to share some top tips from financial experts to help your money go further this winter.
Maximise Government Help and Hardship Funds
If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, the best thing to do is contact your supplier as soon as possible. Most energy suppliers have hardship funds that are set aside for customers who meet specific criteria, such as having low income or being in debt. To access these funds, you’ll need to submit an application and any required supporting documents.
This month, the UK government launched the Energy Bills Support Scheme, offering £400 for each household as part of their package to support the cost of living. You don’t need to do anything to get the money and you won’t have to pay it back.
Review Your Subscriptions
You may not normally flinch at the minimal amount that goes into various monthly subscription services. But this is now crunch time, and every penny counts. Take some time to review all your subscriptions and think about whether you need all of them.
Be objective when you review, and cancel the subscriptions that you don’t really need, have similar services, or don’t use as much. If you want to keep them, check if there are lower packages that you could switch to. You never know, it could end up better aligning to how much you actually use the service.
Make Use Of Vouchers
Before heading out to shop for your daily necessities, check if discount coupons or vouchers are being offered in your favorite shops.
Look out for loyalty rewards that offer discounts, cash rebates, or free items once you meet certain purchase requirements. If you shop consistently in these stores, you can accumulate purchases faster and claim more rewards.
Get Proper Insulation For Your Home
Minimise your energy consumption by keeping your home insulated. Start by getting your boiler serviced to ensure it is in good shape and can handle the heavy load during winter. When your boiler is not in good condition, it’ll consume more energy as it needs to work harder to keep the house warm.
Bleed your radiators to release any pockets of air that may have been trapped inside, which can affect their heating ability. Don’t block your radiators with furniture or any chunky object that will obstruct the flow of air.
As added insulation, you can pile up more layers in your house and use curtains, weighted blankets, and rugs to help keep surfaces warm for longer. Cover up tiny spaces that may allow cold air inside the house, such as cracks between your window frames and the wall or those tiny gaps between floorboards.
Be aware of Fraudsters
Unfortunately fraudsters are always trying to take advantage of people, with scams becoming more sophisticated by the day. Here’s Monzo’s advice on how to spot suspicious activity, including people pretending to be the police, utility suppliers, HMRC or your bank.