The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone in one way or another. At CCHA, our Money Solutions team have been busy behind the scenes, pulling together a list of organisations that can offer help and support during these difficult times. That list can be found here on our Cost of Living Hub.
We also asked our Facebook followers and staff members what they were doing to try and save money or reduce costs on things like energy and food. They had some great suggestions which we’ve pulled together in this handy blog post just for you.
- We’re batch cooking in a slow cooker. Chilli’s, curries and other stews. We’re then freezing portions of them and making different dishes to keep them interesting, like pies and pasties. We’re also using less meat, so bulking out dishes with chickpeas and lentils to add fibre, make them more filling and reduce costs as the meat’s often the expensive part of a meal. Using the slow cooker’s supposed to be more energy efficient than using the hobs/oven too.
- We’re shopping in Aldi’s for as much as we can as it’s so much cheaper but really good quality. We’ve also turned down the thermostat by a degree for day/night, did the flow temperature check on our boiler that Martin Lewis recommended, take 4 minute showers (got a free timer and water saver for our toilet as we’re on a meter) and we make sure the lights are off/plugs turned off when things aren’t in use.
- I use the Too Good to Go app for meals. There are lots of restaurants, supermarkets and cafes in Cardiff that take part in this. I also get a fruit and veg box for £1.50 from Lidl every week.
- I turn off every plug that doesn’t need to be on, bought thick hoodies for the family so we don’t need to put the heating on as much and I am checking when the cheapest time to use electricity is so I can plan when I am doing my washing etc
- It’s really difficult to dry your clothes outdoors at this time of year, but instead of using the tumble dryer (which is expensive to run), I bought a £20 heated clothes hanger from Dunelm which costs around 7p per hour to use.
- We’ve reduced the use of our gas hob and oven and bought a £50 air fryer from Tesco instead. It costs around 6p per hour to use and makes delicious chicken nuggets and really crispy chips!
- Everyone in the house has a warm blanket and socks for the evening.
- The Olio app has food items which are donated by large companies and can be handed out for free by Olio ambassadors in the local community. They also allow people to list and provide household items, clothing etc for either a small fee or free of charge (if collected). I recently collected some furniture items for a friend who has moved house.
- I try to be a savvy shopper! I make a list of the items I need and will only buy those items. It keeps me away from the Christmas aisle and the never-ending chocolate and sweets.
- Most supermarkets have apps now, where you can log your shop and earn points for money off your next shop. The rewards on these apps do take a while to add up, so bare that in mind. You can sign up for the Greggs app too! I believe you get a free coffee when you join and then earn points when you buy and can get free items once you have saved up (you also get a free donut on your birthday)!
- We have zones on our heating system and only heat one area of our house. We have also looked at our TV providers to see if we can get a better deal and save money. As things get tighter entertainment is through the TV for lots of families so looking around to see if you can switch and get better deals for phone, internet, TV entertainment could be worth checking out. We also have an 8 week food rota and batch cook. This means we have a detailed shopping list and only buy food that we need for the week. It also helps to prevent food waste.
- Look at ways of earning extra money. Have a sort out and if there are any clothes and items you don’t use, sell them! I use apps like Vinted, eBay, Gumtree or via local Neighbourhood groups.
- If you do a lot of your shopping online, it might be worth looking into cashback apps such as Quidco and Top Cashback. They get paid a commission for advertising suppliers and give some of that back to the customer. I always head to the app before I make any online purchase just to check if there’s cashback available. You can either then withdraw the cash into your bank account when you need it, or lots of retailers will offer you other incentives. E.g instead of withdrawing cash, some retailers will offer you up to a 25% bonus if you buy their voucher, so your £50 cash could be worth £62.50 in vouchers.
- I signed up to Amazon shopper panel a couple of months ago. You just need to upload 10 receipts per month and they give you £5. There are also often really short surveys (sometimes just 1 question) to complete that can earn you a little extra too.
Thank you to everyone who got in touch with their suggestions to help us put this blog together. We really hope that it helps others too.
Please remember, if you’re a CCHA tenant and are struggling to pay bills, heat your home, or buy food, get in touch with your Neighbourhood Manager or Money Solutions Officer. They’ll be able to listen to you and if they can’t help you themselves, they will always direct you to someone who can.
You can find out who your Neighbourhood Manager is by clicking here.
You can find out who your Money Solutions Officer is by clicking here.