The rising cost of living affects all of us in some way. Winter is a particularly challenging time for many people with rising prices putting a serious pressure on not just a person’s finances but also the effect it potentially may have on a person’s wellbeing.
Why is the cost of living rising?
Covid and other world events caused problems with the supply chains for things like food and fuel, so the prices have risen very quickly.
With inflation currently running at around 10%, price rises are still coming thick and fast and coping with them is a struggle.
Rising costs for energy, fuel for cars, food and so on mean that peoples outgoings have typically been rising much faster than their incomes or pensions.
With food prices high, many people are forced to choose between heating and eating, meaning households will face multiple challenges at the same time. As a result, many people are unable to adequately feed themselves or their families enough food, let alone nutritious, healthy food. A good diet is essential for good health in the short and longer term, with obesity a major risk factor for conditions such as diabetes and cancer. Making such difficult decisions on how to spend limited household budgets also takes its toll on mental health.
With people already skipping meals as we head into winter an alarming number of households are already going without essentials.
For easy, tasty and budget-friendly recipes, Christians Against Poverty have put together some recipes on a budget.
Batch cooking and using a slow cooker for tasty stews and soups is also a great way to make ingredients go a long way.
Also check your Grocery shopping receipts – Is there anything you could do without?
Are there any cheaper substitutions you could make?
Impact of the cost-of-living crisis on mental health
56% of UK adults feel their mental health has been negatively impacted by the cost of living. It’s shocking to learn that more than half of UK adults feel their mental health is suffering due to the cost-of-living crisis. Don’t be afraid to seek help, talk to a family member of friend, a problem shared can make all the difference.
Check you’re getting all your benefits
1 in 10 (13%) are going without electricity or gas at least monthly and 28% of UK adults (14.9 million) are finding keeping up with bills and credit commitments a heavy burden. This year, we’re not expecting any additional support for increased energy bills from the Government either so making sure you are claiming any benefits you are entitled to is even more important.
With more and more households opting not to heat their homes there has been a reported rise in health problems related to damp and mould. The link below from the NHS has some information and contacts on where to seek help.
Work out your budget
Once you’ve made sure you’re getting all the income you’re entitled to and you’re tracking where that money goes, you can work out your household budget.
Work out your total monthly income (wages, benefits, allowances etc)
Take off your scheduled monthly outgoings (direct debits, standing orders, credit card repayments etc)
Take off what you spend on all your other necessities, like groceries, motor fuel etc
Tip – Sign up for loyalty cards
If you shop in the same store regularly, see if they have a loyalty card. You may be able to get points, vouchers or discounts that will help with the cost of your shopping.
Tip – Find coupons and discounts
Look for money-off coupons and redeem them against the items you buy.
To find them:
Check loyalty card apps/logins for personalised discounts and rewards
Follow brands on social media
Check product packaging
Look in your magazines and newspapers
Pick up free supermarket magazines and leaflets.
Tip – Sell items you don’t need
If you have items or clothes around the house you don’t use any more, you can sell them for free using websites like these:
Repairing items is almost always cheaper than replacing them. Some sewing thread or a tube of glue can work wonders on small fixes and make them good as new.
Winter Support from the Team at Community360
It has been particularly tough this year for older and younger people alike with their finances just not stretching to cover basics due to the huge increase in food, heating and electricity costs. As a city we have the foresight to be able to put in place support to help those who are really struggling, through the One Colchester Partnership.
The team at the One Colchester Community Hub situated in Long Wye Street is a welcoming space where anyone can come and access a wide range of activities, services, social and wellbeing services and friendship groups.
A dedicated supply of packs is also held at the One Colchester hub, Long Wyre Street. The Winter Packs, include a guide to local support services ranging from heating schemes, clothing, basic refreshments and practical items, such as a torch, blanket, and first aid guides will be distributed to those identified as being in need by partnership members.
Log onto our website for useful links to services such a foodbanks and mental health support to tips on keeping well and active.
If you are a business, organisation or charity and would like to get involved with this year’s Winter Resilience Campaign, please get in touch. The organisation is looking for organisations who can help with volunteering, sponsorship and support. Contact Community360 0n 01206 505250 or email email@example.com