How to survive (and thrive in) the cost of living crisis
Tips for saving money when it matters…
The cost of living crisis is crippling individuals and business across the world as inflation soars and wages are not moving up to match. More and more people are relying on foodbanks, more and more people are having to choose between heating and eating, more and more people are struggling. But there are steps you can take to cut costs, steps you can take to survive the cost of living crisis.
Disclaimer: The tips I describe are suited to the UK. They may work in other parts of the world but do your own research first.
The vast proportion of people’s spending is on household bills and this is often an area where people are not taking enough action to save themselves money.
The biggest bill affected by the cost of living crisis is energy due to spiralling wholesale prices for the suppliers that they are passing onto the consumers by charging the maximum that they can. This means that it is hard for you to cut costs but do check whether a fixed deal is cheaper in the long run than your current deal.
Another common bill that is easy to cut costs on is car insurance: if you buy your insurance 26-20 days before renewal it is often cheaper as insurers view you as lower risk; similarly, if you add a second driver (not replace the main driver - that’s illegal) it evens out the risk saving you money; finally, remember to check multiple comparison sites and companies not on them (such as Direct Line) to make sure you are getting the best deal.
A final good way to save is by cutting interest costs. When you borrow money, the bank charges interest often at very high rates (especially on credit cards) but there is something you can do about it. If you are repaying debt on a credit card, you can get (provided you have a decent credit history) a type of card called a ‘balance transfer’. This pays off the debts on your old card so you owe a bank with a cheaper rate - possibly saving you thousands.
Know your rights
When every penny matters, companies taking you for a ride when something goes wrong are the last thing you need but if you know your rights it makes things a whole lot easier.
The first important right that you should probably know is those contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These dictate that goods should Last a reasonable length of time, be Of satisfactory quality, As described and Fit for purpose - memorable by the acronym LOAF.
Another good one to know is the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014. This entitles you to the ability to return most goods purchased online within 14 days and gives you another 14 days to return them - always handy in the digital world.
This final section is about the little things that may seem inoccuous and pointless but really do save you money. Firstly, turning taps off when brushing your teeth and not leaving things on standby - it’s not going to ruin your life doing these things but your bills will be cheaper. Another such change is buying one brand lower when you do your shopping - you probably will not notice a difference in taste but you will in price.
Finally, when you go out to spend money, think about what the businesses want you to do, what they want you to think, what they want you to buy. If you take a minute to think about what the businesses want and see if you can do the opposite (or see the flaws in their system) it will save you money.
Hopefully some of these will help you save money and get through the cost of living crisis.