How to stay afloat through the cost-of-living crisis
As SMARTY research reveals we’re a nation that like to look after the pennies, Alice Tapper, founder of the financial news and education platform Go Fund Yourself, offers her advice for savvy spending in 2022.
Our research found that following the expensive Christmas season and as the cost-of-living increases, 51% of people said they have either turned down or turned off their heating and 44% are moving to using a clothesline instead of a tumble dryer to keep costs down.
“What is most alarming about this research is the lengths people are having to go to just to get by. With inflation at over 5%, the cost-of-living crisis continues to tighten its grip and with food and energy surging to record highs, it’s hitting those on the lowest incomes the most. It’s become increasingly difficult for people to budget and we’re at a point now where there’s only so far saving tips and hacks can take you. The overwhelming message is to get support if you can.”
Here are her suggestions for making it through the cost-of-living crisis and getting the help you need:
Find support - If you’re really struggling to make ends meet, please get help. If it’s debt you’re worried about, chat to a free debt advice service like StepChange, Citizen’s Advice or CMA. If you’re unemployed or simply don’t have the money to pay for your utilities and food, check out services like Entitled To. You might also be eligible for hardship payments or even support from your local council.
Be kind to yourself - It’s important to recognise that these days it’s impossible to be ‘perfect’ at money. Literally billions are spent convincing us to exchange our funds for ‘stuff’ we probably don’t need and never more so than over the Christmas period. The cost-of-living crisis is very real, impacting the poorest in society the most. There’s only so far a budget can take you. Go easy on yourself - many of us are feeling the pinch right now for reasons beyond your control.
The small things - You might have grand goals for this year - perhaps a job move or plan to pay off your debt, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can help to start small. Is there one thing you can do this week to get yourself feeling a little more in control? With utility prices sky high, it’s hard to get a better deal by switching right now but your phone bill is one to pay attention to. If you’re feeling financially squeezed, avoid getting sucked into a pricey 24-month contract. SMARTY Mobile is a Which? Recommended Mobile Network Provider 2021 that keep their prices low and fair.
Automate - Life’s too short for an Excel spreadsheet and thankfully, financial tech has come a long way since the days of budget books and receipt keeping. Open-banking apps are the fairy godmothers of finance; they helpfully allow you to see all your finances and subscriptions in one place, save automatically and open ‘pots’ for your goals. Even if apps aren’t for you, automating your savings and debt repayments is key. Use standing orders and direct debits to your advantage.
Financial pressure - We’ve all been there, you’re at dinner with mates and you’ve been strategically selecting the most affordable items on the menu before the bill arrives and someone says those dreaded five words, ‘shall we just split it’. As hard as it is, the only way to avoid situations like this is with bucket loads of honesty. It’s vulnerable as hell but whether it’s suggesting dinner somewhere cheaper, opting out of that extra round, everyone breathes a sigh of relief when you give them an excuse to put their finances first too.
It’s a really challenging time for many but there is help out there and a few small things you can do to feel a little more in control.
For those looking to save money on their mobile costs, SMARTY is introducing two new data deals.
You can now get an additional 10GB data on SMARTY’s 30GB SIM plan, which means 40GB data, unlimited calls and texts all for just £10. Likewise, consumers can enjoy another additional 10GB data on the 50GB deal, meaning 60GB data, unlimited calls and texts all for just £15.
But hurry, both deals are only available for a limited time only, from 18th Jan – 9th Feb 2022.
Good luck being a savvy shopper.
- SMARTY Team
- January 25th, 2022