The rising cost of living

With inflation and rising food and energy costs, we know this is a stressful time for many. We have put together some information below that you might find helpful.

Help with energy costs

  • Energy Bills Support Scheme - This will be an automatic discount applied to your account in six instalments from October 2022 until March 2023 to help with the cost of energy bills in winter months. You will not need to apply for it, nor will you be asked for your bank details.
  • Energy Price Guarantee - this scheme reduces the unit cost of electricity and gas essentially saving households roughly a third on their energy bills. This new price cap will be in place from 1st of October 2022 until 31st March 2023. This is in addition to the above mentioned support scheme and will be automatically applied.
  • Winter Fuel Payment - if you are a pensioner, you can get additional help with your heating bills. As a pensioner, you will also receive an extra one-off payment of £300 which will be added automatically as a top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.
  • Cold Weather Payments - those on certain benefits may be able to get an additional £25 a week during the winter months when the temperature is zero or below for more than seven days.
  • Help to Heat - You might be eligible for a grant to help make your house more energy efficient. The government will spend £1 bn from next spring on grants for homes that have low energy efficiency ratings and are in lower council tax benefits. You could save around £310 a year through this scheme to insulate your home. You will need to contact your energy supplier or your local council to see if they are participating.
  • If you are on a low income, have a disability or a long-term health condition, or are over the age of 65, you might be eligible for additional support in the winter months. Check on your local council's website for more information.

Help with rent

  • If you are on a low income or unemployed, Universal Credit may provide help towards the cost of your rent or mortgage. Check if you are eligible.
  • If you are in supported, sheltered or temporary accommodation or are of state pension age, you may be eligible for Housing Benefit.
  • If you are already claiming Housing Benefit, you might be able to get help with additional housing costs through your local council.
  • You might also be able to get help with your council tax bill. Contact your local council to see if you qualify.
  • Discretionary Housing Payments are also being offered to people on certain benefits to help them with their housing costs or rent. Check if you qualify.

Entitledto has a free benefits calculator that you can use to check that you are getting all the benefits you might be entitled to.

Your local council's website is another good place to check and see what help might be available. Some councils offer emergency grants for help with urgent things like food, rent, energy bills, etc. and the good thing about a grant is that they do not have to be paid back. Find a link to your local council on GOV.UK and search for local welfare assistance on your council's website.

  • If you have a child under the age of 4 or are pregnant, you might be able to get help with buying food and milk under the NHS Healthy Start programme.
  • If you are on benefits and have a two-year-old, you might be eligible for up to 15 hours of free childcare a week.
  • If you are a working parent of a three- or four-year-old, you can also get up to 30 hours of free childcare a week.
  • Your child might also be eligible for free school meals. You can check here. And if they are, they might also qualify for the Holiday Activity and Food Programme.

  • If you are on Universal Credit or unemployed, you can claim up to 50% off your rail journeys from National Rail.
  • Getting a rail card can also help save up to £140 a year on rail costs. There are several different types of rail cards. You can apply for the one that suits you best.
  • If you are of State Pension age, you might qualify for a free bus pass for travel.
  • If you live in London and are of the age 60 or above, you can get free travel on buses, tubes, and other transport within London.

Tips on managing your expenses

Draw up a budget

People tend to spend their pay checks more impulsively when they feel less in control. Creating a budget will help you develop healthier spending habits. Start by looking into where your money is going. Go through your bank statements and list down all your expenses whether that's a one-off purchase or a regular monthly outgoing. You might find a free budgeting tool helpful with this.

Track your spending

There are several apps out there that can help you track your spending so you can see how much of your income goes on things like entertainment, dining out, groceries, etc. This will help you assess which areas can do with some cutbacks and which expenses are essential to budget for.

Set up an emergency fund

No matter how little, putting aside some of your income each month can help build up an emergency fund for when an unexpected expense comes up. Once you've worked out your budget, you can even set up a direct debit for some of your money to go into your savings automatically each month.

Coping with financial stress

  • Talk to someone
  • Take control of your budget
  • Rethink your spending
  • Prioritise your debts
  • Get independent advice
  • Talk to us
About us

Debt advice

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with debt, speaking to a debt advisor is the best first step you can take. You can get free, confidential debt advice from Money Helper, StepChange, or the free National Debtline.

Here to help

If you are worried about missing or have missed a loan repayment with Plata, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We have a team of experts that can work with you to come up with a tailored plan that is best suited to your individual circumstances. We are here to help.