How to budget for bills this winter – financial adviser shares top tips
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Wages remain low while pension payouts dip and the cost of living rises, making everyday expenses even more unaffordable. With a long, cold winter ahead it can seem impossible to cut costs on essential utilities like heating and electricity despite rising tariffs. Express.co.uk spoke to the personal finance expert Anthony Morrow to find out just how easy it is to budget for the tough months ahead.
Budgeting can be tricky when it feels like there is little left to spare after payday, but with these expert top tips, your winter budget could go further than you think.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Anthony Morrow, founder of low-cost financial advice platform Open Money shared the importance of making small adjustments to everyday life to claw back funds from areas you didn’t know you were overspending in.
Anthony’s top tips included:
- Small changes make a big saving
- If you regularly use your central heating, turning it down by just one degree could save you up to £80 per year, depending on your provider
Be mindful when filling the kettle
There’s nothing more comforting than a hot drink when you’re feeling the chill but flicking the switch on a full kettle could be costing you more than you think.
It might seem like a small thing, but only boiling what you need will save significant amounts of energy and money over time, says Anthony.
For an extra savvy hack, fill your mug with water to measure out the amount of water needed before boiling the kettle.
Look into your tax-relief entitlements
Working from home has helped millions of Brits save thousands on travel costs and work expenses but while some costs have gone down, the cost of running a home office has taken its toll.
Printing costs and post office trips could be eating away at your already tight budget, so be sure to keep receipts from expenses that would usually be covered by your employer – a few pounds here and there can add up very quickly.
Anthony said: “You can claim tax relief on your expenses and bills while working remotely. HMRC has a dedicated service to help with claims.
“It’s definitely worth reading up on what you might be entitled to.”
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Get prepared at lunchtime
Warming winter lunches like hearty soups and steaming stews or casseroles make for the perfect lunch through the cold months.
Batch cooking these classic seasonal recipes will fill you up while saving you money on ready meals to go when you’re out and about while working.
Pick your working spot wisely
When working from home, choosing the right room in your home could save you bucket loads on your energy bills.
Anthony said: “Think about the rooms and spots that get the most natural light, and you’ll find you need to have the room lights switched on far less often.
“Depending on how your home is laid out, you might also find that certain rooms are naturally warmer than others at different times of the day.”
Remember to switch things off when you’re finished
It sounds simple, but leaving computers and other electrical equipment running when you’re not using them can also add pennies to your energy bills.
Turning off televisions, properly shutting down laptops and reducing the number of times you charge your phone can all make a difference.
Working from home during the winter can make it tempting to dial up the heating, but it will only increase the cost of your heating bill.
Anthony added: “Though you might still need to make yourself look presentable for virtual meetings and video calls, during the remote working winter, most can probably get away with fewer wardrobe changes, and that probably also means fewer trips to the shops for new ‘work’ clothes too.”
Cut back on splashing precious pennies from your budget on new clothes, and get creative with your winter wardrobe.
Layer up lighter garments and put away the money you would have spent on new clothing.
Anthony added: “You could also think about opening up a brand new savings account for the savings you make here, as well as any additional ones you might also make by not commuting to and from work every day.
“By the time summer is upon us again, you could have built yourself a nice little pot, without even having to put too much effort in.”
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