10 Tips for Weathering the Cost-of-Living Crisis
The cost of living is going up and many older people are struggling. They’d love to go back to what life was like before. But from now on, it seems like energy, food and housing are all going to get more expensive. Pensions might not stretch as far as before.
We take a look at some of the things you can do to lower your bills and regain control of your finances.
Use Slow Cookers and Batch Cook
Slow cookers make delicious meals, and they are usually cheaper to run than regular cookers. What’s more, you can cook a few meals at the same time and then just heat them up in the microwave later.
The reason slow cookers are cheaper has to do with how they consume energy. While they are on for longer, they operate at a lower temperature and so use fewer watts per hour .
Cut your Meal Costs by Cooking with Delicious, Cheap Foods
These days, there are plenty of cheap options available. Pasta, for instance, is one of the least expensive and best ways to get calories. You can also try lentils with cabbage, rice, noodles and other inexpensive ingredients to see you through.
Sign up for Surplus Food
Some supermarkets and restaurants are now giving away their surplus instead of binning it. Apps now let you pick the food you want and collect it from a local food bank.
These apps can easily reduce your grocery bill and make it more manageable.
Use Coupons and Cards to Eat out
Restaurants are among the first businesses to suffer when inflation starts to bite. People cut back on eating out because it is one of the easiest expenses to reduce.
Because of this, a lot of restaurants issue discount vouchers from time to time to attract your custom.
Switch your Shopping Habits
Many older people like to shop in person because that’s the way they’ve always done it. But in many cases, online shopping is cheaper. There’s more competition which leads to lower prices.
If you’re not sure what to do, ask a younger relative for help. Tell them what you want to buy and then get it. They will show you how to fill your virtual cart and check out using your payment method of choice.
Get Help with Energy Bills
Many older people are struggling to pay their energy bills. There simply isn’t enough money left in their accounts at the end of the month.
The good news, though, is that you can get help with paying energy bills. The first step is to contact your supplier and tell them that you are having difficulties. They can then arrange a repayment plan for you. Remember, prices will eventually go down, freeing up more money.
You can also get one-off payments from the government, and window grants Scotland and England governments provide under some circumstances. Charities can also help, depending on your circumstances.
Make sure that you get your winter fuel payment, which is paid in November or December. Most people over the age of 66 can qualify.
Get Money for Changing your Bank Account
You can also get money by switching your bank account. Some banks are offering cash payments for making the switch and others are even paying people just to try their services. First Direct, for instance, will give you £175 if you switch, or £20 just for opening a current account with them.
Speak to your Local Council
If you are facing a choice between eating and heating, get in touch with your local council. Every council in the country will receive a share of £500 million of central government money to assist people who are struggling. Critically, you don’t have to be on benefits to get this money.
Get Cheaper Broadband
If you receive means-tested state benefits you are likely to be eligible for a broadband social tariff, which reduces the amount you pay for the internet. Many deals are as low as £15 per month
Get a State Pension Top-Up
Lastly, you might be able to get a state pension top-up. This means-tested benefit is for retired people on low fixed incomes.