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.
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.