One of the biggest causes for poor mental health is debt and the stress of being in financial difficulties. This wouldn’t normally be an article I’d write about. But given the circumstances many people are finding themselves in, I think it’s an important one to cover. The cost of living crisis (cost of greed crisis) is likely to get worse as it gets colder.
This makes it a perfect storm for people to turn to gambling and door step lenders as a way to cope. I get it. When you’re desperate, there often aren’t many options. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid such desperate measures. Basically, this is an article to help avoid people’s mental health suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis.
Cost Of Living Tips
These are basic cost cutting and carbon footprint efficiency tips. They should help lessen the blow of the cost of living crisis, but government intervention is what’s really needed to get everyone through this. So please bear that in mind.
Turn your central heating down by just one degree
According to Open Money, lowering your heating by just one degree will save you a surprising amount of money. They estimate that if you often have your heating on, then lowering it by just one degree could save you about £80. A one degree change in your heating is something you’re not likely to notice either.
A lot of boilers and thermostats allow you to set timer controls for when your heating turns on and off. Take advantage of that feature to save money (Age UK).
In the UK, a landlord has to make sure the property they’re letting meets the minimum level of energy efficiency standard (EPC band E). Thus, if the property you’re renting is less than that, then your landlord is legally required to make improvements.
Filling the kettle
Growing up, it was drilled into my head to only fill the kettle to the level you’ll be using. Which is ironic for someone that doesn’t drink hot drinks. It’s a waste to heat up water you’re not going to use. It’ll also mean you can have that hot drink a little quicker, so win-win.
Eating out at work or when out in general is something we can cut back on. Yes, it’s convenient, but it’s also expensive. Same goes for buying a drink from a coffee shop. Pack your own lunch and you can do more with your lunch time (don’t use that extra time to work), while saving yourself some money.
Picking your work spot
If, like me, you work from home, then where you choose to work can have an impact on your wallet. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have choices. The room with the most natural light will mean you don’t have to have the lights on as much this winter (Open Money). You can also benefit from the solar energy of natural light heating the room up. Another thing to consider is the size of the room. The smaller the room, the less energy it’ll take to warm up.
Switching things off
This is often a running joke about what dads do, but it does stop you from wasting money. Turn your appliances off, your lights off, and anything that’s not being used, off. Don’t leave things on standby either, as that still costs you money. It’s also a good idea to have your radiators turned off in the rooms you’re not using (Age UK).
I grew up in a very poor household, as it was only my mum and I. If we were lucky, we had the heating on in one room of the house. So it was all about clothes. Layers are your friend. To keep your heating off or as low as possible for as long as possible, rely on layering up to keep you warm.
In the age of the dying landlines, most of us likely never make a call using a phone. But if you do, you may want to switch to making your calls over the internet instead. Zoom and other app like it exist for a reason. This might not apply to everyone, as people often get free minutes for their landline and their mobile phone.
Bleeding your radiators
One thing that often gets overlooked is bleeding your radiators. However, before you do this, make sure you know how to increase your boilers’ water pressure afterwards. If you know how to top up your boilers’ water pressure, then bleeding your radiators can improve their lost efficiency.
To get the maximum efficiency out of your radiators, don’t put furniture in front of them and don’t cover them with items like your wet washing (Age UK).
Just like how bleeding your radiators can improve efficiency, so can making sure your boiler is within the right pressure range. According to Which?, the gauge should be between 1.0 and 2.0. Although it’s advised to check your boilers manual to confirm its optimal range.
Ditch the bath
As nice as baths are, especially if you want to sit and relax in one, they’re not the most efficient way to keep ourselves clean. If you want to save money, then switch to showering. And if you further want to save money, turn the shower off throughout your shower session.
What I mean by that is, I will get under the shower to get my body wet, and then turn it off. I’ll then soap up my body and apply shampoo and the like. I’ll then turn the shower back on to rinse off. A simple way to save a little extra money, and it’s better for the environment.
Another simple tip for saving a little money is to match the saucepan to the size of your hobs (Love Money). So ditch your favourite hob for the most appropriate hob.
On the rare occasions when I do cook properly, I like to batch cook. Something I believe I talked about in my depression meals article. Batch cooking is a great way to have easy re-heatable food for when you’re too depressed to cook, but it also means you can save money as it’s cheaper to re-heat food using a microwave (Mirror).
You can use your curtains to help reduce energy wastage. On cold days where the sun is out, you can benefit from having your sun facing curtains open so you can use the solar energy to warm those rooms (Startups Magazine).
Closing your curtains when there’s no direct sunlight can help with heat loss through your windows. The thicker your curtains, the better. Plus, if you tuck your curtains behind your radiator, you can further help avoid heat loss (Age UK).
Get a home energy check
Age UK offers a home energy checks service. They’ll send a trusted handyperson to your home, who will evaluate your home energy efficiency. And, if needed, they’ll provide free equipment to help you save money on your bills.
A lot of laundry products now work at cold temperatures. Almost all of them can work at 30°C. But some can get as low as 10°C. It might not seem like much, but that can save you money as you don’t have to heat the water as much with each wash (Love Money).
Government Cost Of Living Support
Energy saving grants
The UK government has a couple of energy saving grants that you might be entitled to. To find out more about these grants, click here.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The UKs Warm Home Discount Scheme could net you a one-off payment of £150 paid directly to your energy supplier. This is aimed at helping people who are collecting a pension or are a low-income household. Click here to find out if you’re eligible for this support.
Child Winter Heating Assistance
Energy Company Obligation (ECO) grant
Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)
This was designed to help the country reach net zero by 2050 (Which?). Successful applicants will get a one-off payments of up to £6,000 towards the cost of the installation. However, this isn’t something you can apply for directly. Instead, the installers will apply for the grant. This option won’t benefit a lot of people, but it might help someone get through the cost of living crisis. And if nothing else, it’ll help save the environment.
Nest learning thermostat
Other Cost Of Living Support
A credit union is a co-operative whose members pool their savings to provide each other with credit at a low interest rate (Citizens Advice). This means you can get loans at a much lower rate, potentially, and they’re more likely to lend to people who can’t get support else where. Handy in a cost of living crisis.
To find a credit union near you, check out the following links:
Cheap Energy Club
Claim tax relief for your job expenses
One was you can save a little extra money is to claim tax relief from the UK government. You can also benefit from this if you’re working from home, although not as a result of covid. I believe you can save around £6 on your taxes per week if you’re working from home.
Click here if you’d like to find out more.
According to Age UK, if you’re receiving the following state benefits, then you can apply for a budgeting loan.
- Pension Credit.
- Income Support.
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related.
- Employment and Support Allowance.
You can find such services in a lot of countries, but in the UK the largest food back operator is The Trussell Trust. But you’ll be able to find ones that aren’t part of The Trussell Trust by visiting your local council’s website. There’s no shame in using a food bank. When I was a child, my mum often had to rely on one. I now try to donate to these much needed services as often as possible. Although in an ideal world, they wouldn’t need to exist.
You can get a referral to a find bank through the Citizens Advice. You can also use The Trussell Trust’s website to track down your local hubs. Click here to be taken to their website. You can also try using the Food Bank Finder by clicking here.
The cost of living crisis is a tough time for all of us. Too many people aren’t getting paid nearly enough, all while everything costs significantly more. This crisis isn’t just affecting the UK, but the UK is struggling more as a result of Brexit.
Obviously, the methods of saving money I’ve listed in this article aren’t nearly enough, but as Tescos says, “every little helps”. So if you’re worried about how you’ll get through the cost of living crisis, then I hope these tips will reduce your stress levels.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with the cost of living crisis and helpful tips in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.