How to cope with an increased cost of living
In late 2015, the Bank of England predicted that wages would increase by 3% over the year ahead but these predictions have not come into fruition, leaving many people who were relying on this increase in pay struggling to cope with the now increased costs of living. However, Theresa May is attempting to tackle the issue with her National Living Wage policy, which by 2020 could see people benefitting from £9.02 per hour while at work.
But it’s important to note that an increased cost of living can also be caused by issues such as redundancy and lack of opportunity in your local area. If there’s limited income, the cost of living day to day is going to increase and put a strain on your bank account.
If you are one of many, having trouble stretching an already thin budget to cover all the expenses daily life brings about, then here are a few ways to cope:
Look for better deals
It’s not just your supermarket where you’ll find the deals, look to their forecourts too where they are fighting a price war with local rivals to offer the best petrol. Sites such as petrolprices.com can help you find the best fuel deals in your local area and save you the hassle of driving around reading the signs.
Check to see if you’re paying too much
This applies to everything from food shopping to your income tax – the Money Advice Service has a helpful guide on how to check your income tax and NI – and sometimes you might be surprised to discover you’re paying far too much for something. Switching energy suppliers is so easy and a great way to save money to combat rising everyday costs, as well as moving to another provider that offers a better deal when taking out insurance for your car or home.
Biking instead of driving is a good way to cut costs and save some money to cope with an increased cost of living, so it might time to pull that dusty one from the shed and get it ready for the road.
The average car user spends £2,000 on petrol a year, add MOTs and service costs on top of that plus any additional maintenance and that is one expensive machine. If you can get around on a bike, it’s highly recommended as it saves money but also improves your own health and helps the environment.
If you don’t already plan what your money will be spent on each month now might be a good time. With a higher cost of living the pennies need to go further, so strictly deciding how much can be spent on the essentials and even perhaps leaving a little aside for entertainment is a good idea and can help reduce the stress of checking your bank account every five minutes. Be sure to make a note of everything you buy, to refer to later, and get a good idea of where your money is going – a spending tracking app is a good solution.
Whatever your financial situation it’s important you are smart with money. Research before purchasing any large items, always find a bigger deal and ensure you try to put a little aside as a savings buffer for those emergency moments.