Forty ways to tackle fastest price rises in 40 years – from petrol costs to food shop

Households are being hit hard as the cost of living continues to soar at the quickest rate in 40 years. Energy bills have already shot up, but analysts are now predicting that the Ofgem price cap will stretch further – to just under £3,000 – in the autumn.

Meanwhile inflation, now hitting 9.1%, has broken a new record, reaching its highest level since March 1982. The average cost of a supermarket shop has increased and petrol and diesel costs are at an all-time high.

On top of all this, a recession is also looming, a recent report has predicted, and Britain’s economy appears to be “running on empty.” The latest S&P Global/CIPS flash UK purchasing managers index (PMI) survey shows business expectations suffered the largest monthly decline since the start of the pandemic, with manufacturers and services firms reporting the lowest degree of business optimism since May 2020.

Read more:How does a rise in inflation affect house prices in the UK?

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said the UK “looks set for a troubling combination of recession and elevated inflation as we move into the second half of the year”, with the cost-of-living crisis ramping up over the months ahead.

As the year goes on, there will be some price rises that cannot be avoided. But there may be some small things you can do to make a difference to your wallet.

With the help of the Mirror, we’ve rounded up 40 ways to cut your bills and make extra cash…

1. Go through your bank statements

In order to evaluate where you can cut back and save money, it makes sense to work out what you’re already spending and how much income you have. Go through your last three to six months worth of bank statements and make a note of all your key bills and the dates where you have payments coming out.

2. Cancel those unnecessary bills

If you’re signed up to subscription services that you don’t actually use – such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ – cancel them to save money. The same goes for the gym or any other memberships you don’t need.

Note that this will only benefit you if you’re paying monthly, rather than a yearly subscription where you’ve already paid up front.

3. Cut your broadband bill

Millions of people are out of contract and could be getting a better deal on their broadband package. Begin by comparing prices online using comparison websites like Uswitch.com or Moneysupermarket.com.

Be careful to ensure you’re looking at like-for-like deals with similar speeds to what you’re on now – unless you think you can don’t need it as fast. If you find a better deal and you’re out of contract, make the switch or try calling up your current provider to see if you can haggle them down.



Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert on where to put your Wi-Fi router at home for the fastest internet
Looking for like-for-like deals on your broadband could save you money

4. Compare phone deals

The same principle applies to your mobile bill. Start by comparing prices with a similar text, minutes and data allowance that you’re on now – then if you find a better deal, switch or haggle with your current network.

SIM-only deals are often the cheapest as you’re not paying for a handset.

5. Reduce your energy consumption

Energy bills are rising – and unfortunately there are currently no fixed deals on the open market right now that are cheaper than the current price cap. Most families have little option but to stay on a standard variable rate (SVR) – unless they’re offered an exceptionally good deal by their current provider.

The best way to cut your energy bill right now is to reduce how much gas and electricity you’re using. This can be simple things like making sure the lights are turned off when you’re leaving the room, switching off appliances at the wall, and turning down your washing machine to 30 degrees.

6. Slash your council tax bill

You might be entitled to a discount on your council tax bill worth up to 100% if you’re on a low income or benefits through a Council Tax Support scheme. Other discounts ranging anywhere between 25% and 100% can also be awarded depending on your living arrangements, income and personal circumstances.

For example, you might be entitled to money off your council tax bill if you live alone, if you have a severe mental impairment, or if you live in an all-student household. You might also be able to challenge your council tax band if you think you’re paying too much – but do your research first, as you could end up increasing bills for your entire street.

7. Switch your mortgage

Interest rates have increased to 1.25% – meaning anyone with a tracker mortgage and most people on variable deals will see their repayments go up. Most cheap fixed deals have been pulled in recent months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still save thousands of pounds by checking if you’re on the best rate.

Standard variable rates can range from around 4% to 5.5% – in comparison some two-year fixed-rate deals range at around 2.5%.

8. Cut your tax bill

Millions of people are on the wrong tax code each year and if you’ve been paying too much, you might be due a refund. Going forward, you’ll pay less tax too.

Check your tax code by looking at your payslip, P45 or P60 – then compare this online using a free tax code calculator. If you suspect you’ve been overpaying, contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

Other ways to lower your tax bill include applying for marriage tax allowance if you’re in a couple. You might also be entitled to money back if you worked from home during the pandemic.

9. Fill up at the supermarket

Petrol and diesel costs are at a record high – so it pays to shop around so you’re getting the most for your money. Try and fill up at the supermarket and avoid motorway stations if you can.

Use petrolprices.com to compare pump prices near you.

10. Don’t pay for premium fuel

Premium fuel like super unleaded petrol costs more at the pump than standard fuel. If you’re watching your purse strings, then it makes sense to avoid more expensive petrol where you can.



Petrol prices continue to rise
Fuel has reached an all-time high

11. Cut your fuel consumption

Changing the way you drive, and how you look after your car, can have a big impact on how much fuel you’re using. Simple things you should be doing include removing roof racks and emptying your boot, going easy on the accelerator and keeping your tyres inflated.

12. Walk if you can

Of course, the best way to cut your motoring costs is to avoid using your car at all if you can. Even just switching to walking or cycling once or twice a week could save you cash.

If you don’t have a bike, it might be worth asking if a friend or family member has one you could borrow.

13. Car share

Another alternative is to car share when you can. For example, if you live near a colleague then see if they can pick you up on the way to work so you can split petrol costs.

Always avoid using two cars if possible if you’re travelling together as a family or with friends.

14. Switch to cheaper supermarkets

Aldi and Lidl are attracting huge numbers of customers right now due to their budget prices. Both stores regularly top Which? cheapest supermarket tables, and the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s have introduced price match initiatives to try and compete.

You should also avoid going to convenience stores if you can, as there are always more expensive than big supermarkets.

15. Downshift your food shop

Try swapping more expensive branded goods for cheaper supermarket-own labels – also known as the “downshift” challenge. It is estimated you could save around 30%.

This means if you spend £100 each week on food, you could save £30 – over four weeks, you’ll have pocketed £120.

16. Shop with a basket not a trolley

If you have a basket instead of a trolley, you can’t carry as much – therefore, you spend less. It also means you’re more conscious about what you’re buying as you don’t have as much space.

17. Never shop when hungry

If your tummy is rumbling, you’re more likely to pick up unwanted snacks that you don’t really need. Always make sure you visit the supermarket on a full stomach if you can.

Try to shop alone as well, to avoid other people influencing your food buying decision.

18. Hunt out yellow stickers

Yellow stickers are a great way to save cash and cut down on food waste. The exact time each supermarket starts reducing its products does vary – get familiar with your favourite store’s routine so you know when to visit.

You could even ask staff for the best time for yellow stickers.



Sainsbury's issues message to anybody who shops at Aldi for food
Yellow stickers could help save you some cash – and it also cuts down on food waste

19. Don’t forget your loyalty card

Loyalty schemes for the big supermarkets are free to sign up to. They give you money back, normally in the form of points, each time you shop.

So if you’re spending money at that particular grocer anyway, it doesn’t make sense not to have a loyalty card. Tesco now offers cheaper prices for shoppers who are signed up to its Clubcard scheme.

20. Make the most of vouchers and promo codes

Look for discounts and voucher codes online – and don’t forget to check supermarket magazines for coupons as well. Lots of the big supermarkets will generally offer money off for first-time online shoppers as well.

For example, Iceland gives you £5 off a £45 shop for new customers when you use the code ICEFIVEOFF. There are also browser extensions that will hunt out discount codes for you online as well, such as Honey.

21. Wait for the sales

Is it a want, or a need? If you don’t really have to purchase that product now, then hold off until the sales. If it is a seasonal product – like Christmas or Easter – then wait until the occasion is over to snap up big deals.

The same goes for winter and summer clothes – wait until that item is out of season for reductions.

22. Shop second-hand

Charity shops can be home to some hidden gems – so scout out your local store to see what bargains you can find. This also stops clothes going to the landfill.

Last year, we shopped at the British Heart Foundation and managed to bag £400 worth of clothes for just £60 including brands like Cos and Topshop.

23. Check what benefits you’re missing out on

An estimated £13billion worth of benefits are going unclaimed – but it only takes ten minutes to do a quick check online to see if you’re entitled to anything. Use a benefit calculator from Turn2us, Policy in Practice or entitledto.

You’ll need to answer questions about your income, living situation, employment and savings to get an accurate answer.

24. Check for grants

Debt charity Turn2Us has thousands of free grants that are offered by organisations to help struggling families. As these are grants, you won’t normally need to pay the money back – but do double check this.

Enter your postcode on the free Turn2Us grants search tool to see what grants you may be able to claim.

25. Get cheaper medical costs

If you are aged 60 or over, under 16, or aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education, you may qualify for help with health costs including free NHS prescriptions. Other circumstances where you’ll get free prescriptions include if you claim certain benefits, or if you have a medical exemption certificate (MedEx).

You may also get help with dentist check ups and eye tests.

26. Get help paying rent

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, talk to your council to see if you can get help through a Discretionary Housing Payment. This is normally given to people who aren’t getting enough money to cover their rent, or for a one-off cost like a home deposit, rent in advance or removal costs.

You can only apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if you are entitled to housing benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit.



A scam is being used to target people looking to rent property in one part of Merseyside
You could be entitled to help from a Discretionary Housing Payment

27. Switch your interest to 0%

If you have credit card debt, pricey interest rates will likely keep you paying it off for a longer amount of time. See if you can move the debt you owe over to a 0% interest balance transfer card.

This is where you shift the money owed on one card to a new one that comes with a 0% interest-free period.

28. Free overdraft

See if you can switch to a bank account that offers a 0% overdraft. This means you’ll have time to pay off your overdraft without paying any interest rates on top of what you already owe.

Keep in mind that most 0% overdraft periods are only for a set amount of time.

29. Talk to your bill providers

If you’re struggling to pay your bills – be it your gas and electricity or phone and broadband – talk to your provider as soon as possible. They should be able to check you’re on their cheapest deal, as well as offer you tailored support such as a payment plan.

Never ignore your bills as this will only make your problems worse.

30. Get debt advice for free

There are free organisations that will help you clear your debt if you’re really struggling:

Always be wary of firms who try to charge you for debt help, as you can get advice without paying a penny.

31. Keep an eye out for cost of living payments

The government has confirmed several cost of living payments that will start to drop in the bank accounts of eligible families from next month. There is a £650 payment being made to those who claim means-tested benefits which will be paid from July.

Those who get certain disability benefits will receive £150 from September, and pensioners who get Winter Fuel Payments will get an extra £300 in November or December. Every household will also get £400 off their energy bills, spread out over six months, from October.

32. Sell your unwanted clothes

One easy way to make extra cash is to have a clear-out of your wardrobe and sell any unwanted clothes. You don’t pay any fees to sell on Facebook Marketplace and it is free to list items on Gumtree.

33. Use survey websites

There are plenty of survey websites out there that will pay you for giving your opinion on a whole range of topics, from sport to TV shows and even food. You’ll be paid anything from just a few pence for one answer surveys, going up to a few pounds for longer questionnaires.

Most of the time, you’ll often need to build up points that you can then convert into money via PayPal or even vouchers. Some of the most popular survey sites include Swagbucks, OnePoll and iSay- but there are loads of others out there too.

34. Try mystery shopping

Mystery shopping tasks can include dining out at restaurants and giving your review, or even simply popping into a shop to try on a pair of jeans and rating the customer service. One of the Mirror’s favourite websites is iShopFor Ipsos.

They’re currently looking for mystery shoppers to test out Eurostar routes, which is a great way to save cash on a holiday.

35. Start a side hustle

Can you put your skills to good use, and make some money on the side of your regular work? For example, if you’re good at writing then you could see if there are paid-for writing and blogging opportunities online.

People also get paid to post and review on Instagram if they have enough followers. If art is your thing, see if you can sell your work on websites such as Etsy.

36. Rent out your driveway

Homeowners could make thousands of pounds a year just by renting out their driveway. Research by Halfords and rental site Stashbee suggests you can charge anything from £5 to £10 a day, all the way up to £3,000 a year.

Websites where you can rent out your driverway include Kerb and JustPark, although both take a percentage of booking fees.

37. Rent out your spare room

You can rent out your spare room if you own your house – but you must let your mortgage lender know. If you rent your house, make sure you ask for your landlord’s permission.

How much you could get from renting your spare room will vary depending on where you live and what the room is like, but it could make you thousands of pounds each year.

38. Use cashback websites

Cashback sites do what they say on the tin. You’ll get money back for a qualifying shop as you complete the transaction via their website. It can take a while for the money to go through but if you’re making that purchase anyway, then it is essentially free cash.

Some of the most popular cashback websites include Topcashback and Quidco.

39. Get money from your bank

Banks will pay you to switch your current account – as long as you meet their eligibility criteria. The top-payer right now is HSBC, which is offering £170 to new customers who haven’t had a HSBC or First Direct account since January 2019.

To get the switch money, you need to open an account and start a switch within 30 days, including at least two direct debits or standing orders, and pay in £1,500 in the first 60 days.

40. Try a no spend week

The only money you part ways with during a no spend week is for bills, food and other essentials – so no eating out, buying clothes or holidays, or anything else that you don’t need. Mum-of-two and YouTuber Lara Jarvis once saved £25,000 by taking on a “no spend” year.

If a whole year seems too tough, try a “no spend” weekend, week or month.

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