Millions of us have seen living costs such as food and energy bills and essentials, including fuel, increase in the last few months.
With the cost of living increasing, many people are having to change their habits or make cutbacks, while some may find themselves dipping into savings or worse yet borrow money.
Against a backdrop of rising inflation, which is already at its highest level in almost 30 years, households may need to make difficult decisions and face struggling financially.
We asked LancsLive readers to share their top money-saving tips and hundreds of you got in touch. We’ve put together a list of some of the tips that you shared in the hopes that it may help others cut costs amid tougher times.
While some of the suggestions may seem simple, they’re effective, especially if you combine a few – it could save you a fortune over the course of a year.
Wear more layers and use blankets
With energy bills going up, many LancsLive readers say they’ll be turning down their heating, or turning it off completely, and instead will be opting for more layers, warmer clothing.
Tracey Mawson Lockie said: “Wear layers of clothing instead of flicking the heating on.”
Others suggested using electric blankets and hot water bottles.
Pam Wilson said: “Hot water bottle and cover when watching tele or in bed”
Nazia Shah added: “I have started to use the electric blankets so we don’t put much heating on.”
As food shoppers are hit by the highest price rises for almost 10 years, it’s becoming increasingly expensive for families to put meals on the table.
Cooking meals at the start of the week, or whenever you have time, and then freezing them can save you both money and time.
Michelle Briggs said: “Bulk buy meat veg and batch cook meals and freeze then re heat when defrosted”
Debbie Kimberley added: “I plan my shopping list on a Saturday, cook large meals in big pots /slow cooker. Portion these out into tubs and freeze for the week.”
Have you got any hacks or money-saving tips? Let us know in the comments below
Make shopping lists and only buy what you need
It’s very easy to be tempted by treats or deals in the shops and supermarkets, but often it can lead to waste or at the very least hike up your grocery bills.
Liz Simpson wrote: “Always make a list when shopping for food and try to plan menus so you don’t buy what you don’t want.”
Sandra McEwan added: “Shopping with a list and not deviating from it.”
Daisy Cropper also recommended not going shopping when hungry, she said: “Don’t shop for food when you are hungry!I have done that in the past and ended buying a lot of tempting snacks.”
Cut down on car journeys
We’ve all seen the price of petrol and diesel at the moment – and it’s not cheap. Drivers have been hit by the average cost of a litre of petrol reaching a record of nearly £1.60. Oil prices soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to higher wholesale costs for fuel retailers.
Of course, some of us need to use our cars regularly, especially if you’ve got a big commute or you’ve not got access to public transport or you’re not within walking distance of shops. But if you can swap your car for public transport or want to get more exercise, leaving your car at home could save you some pennies.
Susan Parkinson said: “Walk if you can instead of using car for short journeys”
Boil the kettle less
On average, it costs about 21p to boil an electric kettle. If you’re boiling the kettle twice a day every day for a month, you’ll be spending around £12 a month. This is based on the assumption that it takes 4.5 minutes to boil a full two-litre kettle with a power rating of 3kW.
Mel Louise had this great tip to save money: “Fill a flask up with boiling water. I work from home and drink a ridiculous amount of tea and coffee throughout the day so it saves electricity by not having to repeatedly boil the kettle.”
Change how you use your washing machine
There are some simple changes you can make to your laundry routine that will save you money, but also keep your clothes in mint condition.
Washing your clothes at cooler temperatures, and for less time, can greatly increase your machine’s energy efficiency. For example a 30 degree cycle can cut your washing machine’s energy use in half, compared to a 40-60 degree cycle.
It’s more cost-effective to save your hot washes for any bedding, towels and sportswear, as these items are most likely to host a multitude of bacteria. For even further savings, use the eco setting on your washing machine, if it has one.
Mel Louise said: “Using the quick wash function on the washing machine and also i’ve dug the clothes maiden out from under the stairs and using the tumble dryer less which eats electricity.”
Reduce the use of your tumble dryer
Your tumble dryer uses the most energy out of all standard household cleaning appliances, so, if possible, drying your clothes on a drying rack in front of a radiator would be much more energy efficient.
Equally, you could make the most of any crisp and sunny weather this autumn and hang your laundry outside, as outdoor breezes are great for drying clothes.
Jonathan George said: “Put your washing machine on spin before putting clothes in dryer cuts down on drying time”
Claire Markham wrote: “Use the washing line to dry clothes whenever you can”
Solar sensor lights
Angela Roberts recommended using solar powered sensor lights to cut down on costs. If that’s not for you it’s worth considering swapping your existing light bulbs to LEDs. While the initial purchase requires you to spend some cash, they’ll usually pay for themselves in less than a year. They usually last a lot longer too!
Angela Roberts said: “I have solar sensor lights for bathroom, landing and stairs. I’ve tied my bathroom light switch up. Haven’t needed to use them lights at all. I have a travel solar panel that charges my phone up when I can sit in the sun.”
Turn your heating down
We all want to keep our homes warm and cosy, but it can cost an arm and a leg to have the heating on at full whack and for the whole day.
MoneySavingExpert.com suggests turning your thermostat down – they say for each degree you cut the thermostat, you can expect your bills to decrease by around 4% – an average of £65 a year for a typical home in the UK. The Energy Saving Trust also says you should only have your heating on when required – rather than leaving it on low all day.
LancsLive reader Rabya Ahmed said: “I normally turn the heating off at night. Helps with cost as the house stays warm until morning. The other thing i do is space out down heating times during the day when we are less around the lounge and more in our rooms resting or working. Helped me considerably put the cost down.”
Swap TV time for board games and books
We spend a lot of time in front of our TVs, but Deb Kendall suggests switching off the TV and trying other hobbies such as reading or board games which don’t rely on electricity.
She said: “Read more, play games, card games with family & friends than watching TV, Netflix, disney, sky, prime, & all the gaming videos. Go litter picking in the community with the kids or nice walks. Sadly, if it gets any worse, we may not even be able to afford Netflix etc soon”
Cutting out meat can save you a fortune on your shopping bills. However, we realise it might not be for everyone – so even choosing to bulk up your meals with extra veg or items like beans and pulses can make meals stretch a little further than normal.
Taff Griffths said: “I’ve gone veggie. Wifes been veggie for years and I do all the cooking, so I’ve always cooked seperate meals. Regular main meals of the day now are egg and chips, jacket spuds, and beans on toast, all tasty and filling, and cheap”
If you are looking to save cash on your electricity bill, it’s time to turn detective and snoop around your appliances. By simply switching everything off at the wall, you could save yourself at least £120 a year.
If you leave a device plugged in and switched on, even if it’s not in use, it will still use electricity. This is why you should switch off the object at the plug socket, so electrical current is unable to flow.
Paula Toni said: “Unplug all electrical items that aren’t being used, including wall sockets, switch of lights in rooms that aren’t being used”
Charmayne Cromar added: “Switch every plug off at night. Leave nothing on standby”
Shop in charity shops
If you find yourself in need of new clothes, but can’t afford to splash the cash then visiting charity shops is a great option. Not only is it better for your pocket but it’s also making use of items that already exist and it all goes to a good cause.
Shirley Openshaw said: “Shop for clothing at your local hospice charity shop! I’ve had marvellous items from mine! Some not been worn and many for £1!”
Grow your own veg
Growing your own produce at home can cut down your supermarket bills and also cuts down on food miles. If you’ve got kids it could also be a really fun activity that they can get involved in.
According to Which? you could grow 1kg of baby carrots for around 25p, but you’d pay about £3.30 for 1kg of baby carrots in a supermarket.
Sarah Harrington said: “Try growing your own food eg herbs, lettuce easy cheap to grow, courgettes, pansies for salad. Tomatoes are easiest. Literally, start them from inside, use a regular potting soil, avoid from peat, sun, water, not too much or too little. Check daily. Put some where sunny in the house and transfer outside, once mid May comes around. Once the get big give the a feed, once a week. Using tomato feed. I would advise checking out the gardening section of Wilko.”
Using food waste apps
Some shops and restaurants will sell unsold food for less money in a bid to avoid it going to waste. There are apps like Too good to go that you can download and pick up a “magic bag” for a fraction of the original cost.
We’ve tried it ourselves at LancsLive and have had some good results with bags from the likes of Toby Carvey and Greggs.
LancsLive reader Lee Ryan said: “Using the too good to go app. You can save so much money and also help stop food being thrown away. These 2 roast beef dinners were £3.29 each. There’s plenty of food places on the apps like Toby carvery, Greggs…etc”
Cost of Living:You can find more stories about budgeting and bills here.
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