Trying to battle the cost-of-living crisis?
You aren't alone!
From local food banks to national one-off payments, there is a lot of help available as we approach winter, to support you with energy bills, housing costs, the increase in food prices and more.
West Northamptonshire Council - There is extensive, wide-ranging advice for everyone, available on the West Northamptonshire Council website: Cost of living support | West Northamptonshire Council (westnorthants.gov.uk)
Citizens Advice Bureau - Visit the CAB website for lots of helpful advice or make an appointment to speak to an advisor: Get help with the cost of living - Citizens Advice
Energy Bills Support Scheme: The government introduced £400 off energy bills for households in Great Britain this October. This payment is automatic and will be applied in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023. No need to do anything- just look out for the payment in your bank statement!
Warm Home Discount Scheme: This scheme is due to reopen in November 2022, and you could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter. This one-off discount is applied to your bill, rather than being sent to your bank account.
Winter Fuel Payment: If you were born on or before 25 September 1956, you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. You will get your Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you're eligible (check online on the www.gov.uk website) and either: a) get the State Pension or b) get another social security benefit
Beyond the above help with energy bills, you might also benefit from the free and impartial advice offered by NESS (Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service), which helps address fuel poverty. The organisation can also help with emergency boiler repair, servicing, or replacement, as well as home energy assessments. Call 01604 623700 or email the team on email@example.com
Local food banks: Towcester (www.towcester.foodbank.org.uk) Brackley (www.brackleyfoodbank.org)
Mental Health Support: The combination of the winter weather and increased concerns over the cost-of-living crisis might have you – or someone you know and care about – looking for a bit of extra support. MIND is a national organisation that provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Learn more at www.mind.org.uk
Tips: In addition to these resources listed here, you might also consider some ways you can save money on outgoings, by:
-Buying meat in larger quantities (and freezing in portion sizes you regularly use) – this can be a great way to have a supply of your favourites on hand. Learn more about saving money on your groceries at: Cost of living: how to save money on your food bills - Which? News
-Meal planning and shopping once a week – not only will you reduce your food waste, but you will also save on excess petrol consumption and driving to the shops! Find some great inspiration at: How to meal prep: 8 tips for planning meals throughout the week (stylist.co.uk)
-Using an online cashback service (or one with your bank) – there are lots of online retailers who offer you great cashback offers through websites like www.topcashback.co.uk . Simply sign up, and then search to see if where you want to shop online has an offer (insurance, tech, fashion, garden/home and more are listed). Sometimes you'll get cashback, other times a percentage saving – but it all adds up!
-Consider setting a Christmas budget with your family – it is an expensive time of year, between the delicious food, large get-togethers and festive days out, so your family may appreciate you suggesting a budget for gifts. It can feel awkward to discuss this, but as an increasing number of people of all ages are impacted by inflation and rising bills, this could be the Christmas to set a budget and stick to it!