Rising energy prices is the big issue that continues to make the headlines as people have seen huge jumps in their energy bills within a matter of months. Especially for those already struggling with a tight budget, it can have a devastating impact on your finances.
You may be able to use a credit line to manage a short-term budget shortfall, but it’s advisable to look at other ways of saving money in the long term as well, as the cost of living crisis (as it has been dubbed) doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.
Worryingly, it’s predicted that energy bills will continue to increase and could take an even sharper upward turn from later on this year. People are looking to the government to step in and take control of the crisis as many households simply cannot afford the predicted increases.
Some schemes that the government already provides to ease the cost of energy over the winter include the Winter Fuel Payment for pensioners, and you may be eligible for the Cold Weather Payment if you’re already getting certain benefits. You may also qualify for money off your energy bills with the Warm Home Discount Scheme: check the GOV.UK website for more information.
Making your home more energy efficient is a good way to save on energy bills. You may qualify for grants offered in your local area that offer support with things like improving your home’s insulation and fitting energy saving measures, which you can also find through GOV.UK.
It may sound obvious but reducing your energy usage will save on bills. Consider, for example, the increase in energy consumption that working from home may have added to your costs compared to pre-pandemic. If you compare your travel savings with the extra cost of heating your home all day in winter, you may find it would reduce your bills to work from the office more in the winter months, putting the energy cost back on to your employer (!) if that’s an option.
Energy providers are already aware that many people are struggling at the moment, and they’re obligated to offer appropriate support. If you can’t pay your bills, relieve the stress for yourself and contact your energy provider to discuss your options, as many are offering ‘hardship funds’.
If you’re worried about owing money to your energy provider, you can also speak to an independent debt advisor, such as Citizens Advice. You can visit the Citizens Advice website for lots of helpful information with regards to help with paying your energy bills.
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