The start of a new year is the perfect time to create a new household budget. Whether you’re looking to downsize your outgoings or start saving, here’s some tips to help you save money:
Start an emergency fund - It can be hard to save for a rainy day, but unexpected expenses crop up on all of us so it’s best to be prepared. Start by saving small, realistic amounts.
Record your payments - Keeping a spending diary can help you to see where your money’s going. This can help you to realise how much you’re spending on certain things and where you can reduce some of your outgoings.
Help to Save - Help to Save is a new government saving scheme to support working people on tax credits and Universal Credit to build their savings. It aims to support people to become regular savers, helping people plan for their futures through 50% tax-free bonuses. You can save between £1 and £50 every month. You can find out more information and if you're eligible for the scheme on the government website.
Check your entitlement - Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits that you’re entitled to – use our free online benefits calculator. You can also check if your children are entitled to free school meals on the government website. If you’re unsure about what benefits you can claim, get in touch and we’ll be able to help you to check.
Switch your energy provider - Not all suppliers offer the same pricing packages or charge the same amount for what you use. You can switch energy provider quickly and easily online, potentially saving you hundreds over the course of a year.
Are you eligible for the Warm Home Discount? If you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for the Warm Home discount – a payment of £140 towards your electricity account.
Re-think your payment plans - Often, bills are cheapest when they’re paid in one go. You’ll need to have some money saved up to cover these big amounts, but as a result you won’t pay as much overall. If you can’t afford to pay the full amount, choose your instalment option carefully. And remember, lots of utilities companies offer cheaper rates if you receive certain benefits – make sure you check with your provider to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Cut down on travel costs -Small local trips in your car can really eat into your budget. Before driving to your destination, consider if you could get there on foot or by bike. Buying bus and train tickets in advance can also help you cut your travel costs in half.
Buy and sell second hand - As well as selling used items, buy what others are selling second hand. You can buy almost anything second hand from home appliances and furniture to clothes, bikes, and toys. Websites like eBay and Gumtree are great websites to find bargains.
Vouchers and discount codes - Whenever you’re making a purchase online, you may be able to save money by using a discount code that you can find online, or by signing up to the company’s e-newsletter. And keep hold of the coupons and vouchers that are posted through your letterbox - these are often forgotten about and can give great deals.
If you’re worried about money, or are not sure if you getting all the benefits that you’re entitled to, get in touch. We have a friendly team of staff that can help, advise and support you. You can find out more about our support on the 'money advice' page.