We’re not going to beat around the bush: this is an extremely difficult time for people financially. While this guide won’t solve every problem you encounter, we wanted to give you as much information as possible to help you save money this winter.

So, here are 10 ways you can manage soaring expenses during the cost of living crisis:

  1. Heat yourself, not your home

With energy bills soaring, heating your whole home can seem like a waste of money. Instead, consider buying an electric blanket instead and using this to keep you warm when you’re not moving around so much.

An electric blanket costs around 3p per hour to use — that’s just £1.47 a week based on seven hours of use a day. And you can buy one for around £20 on websites like Amazon.

Check out Martin Lewis’ full guide to heating the human, not the home here for more information on how you can stay warm safely and cheaply this winter.

2. Declutter your home and get selling

Apps like Vinted, Depop and even Facebook Marketplace make it easy to sell unwanted items from around the house and your wardrobe. Consider doing a Marie Kondo this autumn and sell off things that no longer bring you joy.

3. Switch broadband/phone suppliers

According to data released by Citizens Advice, one in seven people in the UK are still paying the loyalty penalty for broadband and mobile. The ‘loyalty penalty’ is the difference between what loyal customers pay versus what new customers pay.

Now’s the time to take a look at your suppliers to find out whether you can get a better deal somewhere else. Comparison sites and switching tools make the process pain-free, so take a few minutes out of your day to save yourself some cash. Every penny counts in today’s climate.

Should you switch energy suppliers?

Unfortunately, no fixed deals are being offered for less than the energy price cap at the moment, so you won’t cut your bills by switching.

General guidance now is that you should stay on your current tariff until better deals become available. However, it’s always wise to run a comparison just in case.

4. Do the ‘big shop’ for less

Free apps like Olio and Too Good To Go can be a savvy way to save money on your big grocery shop. The apps offer food and drinks that would’ve gone to waste at cafes and restaurants for free or at a discount.

When shopping for groceries, you could also consider switching to own-brand goods. If you check the ingredients beforehand, you might just find that there aren’t drastic differences between value products and branded ones.

5. Start batch cooking

Batch cooking meals involves cooking all or some of your meals for the week at the same time. It’s a great way to save money. It removes the temptation of ordering in a takeaway when you can’t be bothered cooking, because the meals are already prepared and ready to be eaten.

It also saves you energy because you cook once and eat several times. You don’t need to turn on the oven every night and can simply reheat the meal in the microwave, which is much cheaper to run.

6. Treat yourself (on a budget)

If you want to go out for the day and escape your daily stressors — do that. We all need a break sometimes. But there are tricks you can use to treat yourself on a budget.

  • Join your local public library for free instead of buying new books.
  • Trade in your Tesco loyalty points for a cheap movie night at Cineworld.
  • Check out websites like Groupon if you fancy a little self care at a discount.
  • Try getting your hair done by a trainee hairdresser — it costs less and is usually checked over by a fully qualified hairdresser. It may just take a little longer than usual.
  • If you want to take a trip, shop around for accommodation using websites like Trivago and plan ahead to get the best deal. You can also set up flight alerts on Skyscanner so when a flight you’re interested in goes down in price, you get an email about it.

7. Make a budget and stick to it

We know it’s not the most fun thing to do, but a budget can help you figure out where your money is going and what costs can be cut. You don’t need to be too granular about it, and a budgeting app like Plum can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Arguably, the most difficult part is then sticking to your budget. Assigning a fixed allowance to a spending card like the Plum Card is an easy way to keep track of your money when you’re shopping so you don’t overspend.

8. Be subscription savvy

In recent months, the price of some of your subscriptions may have gone up without you even noticing. Do a stocktake of your regular outgoings, check if you can cancel any or downgrade to a cheaper option.

If you’re paying for several streaming services, consider rotating them monthly (make sure there’s no exit fee) so you can take advantage of each service for a cheaper price.

And remember to take advantage of any free trials!

9. Look after your furry friends

According to a report by the RSPCA, 78% of pet owners think the cost of living will impact their animals and nearly a fifth of respondents (19%) stated they were worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets.

Pets are great companions, but they can also be expensive. To cut down on pet food costs, you could try switching to a cheaper alternative, or mix your regular food with a cheaper option to make it stretch further. You can also make use of loyalty schemes like Pets at Home’s VIP club. It’s free to join and gives pet owners exclusive discounts both online and in-store.

10. Reach out for help

According to research by Plum, 1 in 7 people are skipping meals to cope with higher bills. It’s an alarming statistic that highlights the seriousness of the current situation. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, reach out for help.

Use your local foodbanks, ask your local council if they run a welfare assistance or Household Support Fund scheme, or talk to your bank to figure out a debt repayment plan that suits you.

If you’re struggling to navigate the cost of living crisis, you’re not alone. Costs are going up across the board, making it difficult not to stress about it.

At Plum, we want to make money management a little simpler for you. With automated saving rules, the Plum Card and smart budgeting tools, we want to put you in control of your finances. Why not try the app today.

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The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to constitute investment advice or any other advice or recommendation.