As bills continue to skyrocket, one money expert has explained six ways to boost your finances.
Timi Merriman-Johnson, founder of Mr MoneyJar, is urging Brits to reassess their finances ahead of a difficult winter.
It comes as national charity Turn2Us has warned that the cost of living crisis will continue to push more families into hardship.
Research from Turn2us found almost half of people using its service (47%) say they have nothing to live on each week after paying housing, council tax and utility bills.
There are 14.5 million people living in poverty in the UK right now.
- Use a benefits calculator
Check what benefits you might be entitled to using the Turn2us calculator – it only takes ten minutes to use.
You’ll need to answer questions about your household living situation, income and employment status to get an accurate result.
Once you’ve found out if you’re entitled to any benefits, you’ll then need to apply for them through Gov.uk.
The amount you could be eligible for depends on your circumstances – but it could be in the thousands.
On the flip side, you might not be entitled to anything at all – but it doesn’t cost a penny to check.
“A lot of people who are facing the daily stress of money struggles, don’t realise that they may be entitled to benefits – especially if they are in full time work,” said Timi.
“There might be extra benefits you can claim and it could just give you that extra financial support you urgently need.”
- Keep a closer eye on your money
Keep an eye on your bank account so you know exactly what you’re spending each week.
You should also make a note of all your bills and direct debits, so you know when money is due to leave your account.
“Check your budget more frequently – daily or weekly instead of monthly,” said Timi.
“And use cash if this helps you to control your spending.”
- Review your bills and subscriptions
“Review your monthly bills and subscriptions and cancel what you’re not using,” said Timi.
For example, are there streaming services that you no longer use? Or are you still paying for a gym membership?
Be ruthless and check if anyone in your household also has the same streaming services as you – you might be able to save money by sharing the same service.
“Also ask your utility providers if they have any schemes to help those struggling with their bills,” added Timi.
- Sell, donate, discard
Donate unused items to the charity shop and sell any items you don’t need.
Unlike eBay, local Facebook groups and Facebook Marketplace don’t charge a fee when you sell your unwanted items, so are great for pocketing some extra cash
“Discard any clutter, sell items you don’t need. Books, old tech, and clothing all count!” said Timi.
- Use petrol price comparison sites
The price of petrol reached 191.53p for petrol and 199.07p for diesel in July.
Although prices have slowly started to drop, they’re still expensive compared to where we were last year.
“Find the cheapest petrol in your area by using comparison sites,” said Timi.
“Confused.com has a great tool, as does GoCompare.”
6. Use your council
“You might be able to get further cost of living support through your local council,” said Timi.
Search the name of your local council and “cost of living” to see what support may be available for you.
Councils have been awarded another £500million from the Government to put toward the Household Support Fund.
Some of the help that is offered through the Household Support Fund includes cash or credit towards your bills and supermarket vouchers.
But the support available is decided by each individual council, as well as the eligibility criteria – which means you may face a postcode lottery.