finance

Tighten your belt as food prices and energy bills rise with our top tips


WITH energy and food prices rising, a cost of living crisis is looming.

Inflation – which could lead to a rise in interest rates making mortgages and loans dearer – is also up.

Follow our tips to save money on food bills and smartly assess your spending

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Follow our tips to save money on food bills and smartly assess your spending

The Centre for Economics and Business Research believes inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of the year.

With the Universal Credit boost being removed and National Insurance rises around the corner, here Oliver Harvey offers tips to help you tighten your belt as the price hikes bite.

Start Christmas shopping now

PM Boris Johnson has refused to rule out shortages at Christmas while Chancellor Rishi Sunak said distribution problems with some key goods could continue for months.

So stock up on Christmas goodies now as demand for seasonal fare is already soaring and it is not even Halloween yet.

Poultry farmers warn there may not be enough turkeys to go around and there could be a shortfall of pigs in blankets.

Aldi is selling 1,500 turkey crowns a day – four times the usual rate for this time of year – while its Christmas pudding sales are up 45 per cent.

Other stores report artificial Christmas trees and fairy lights are flying off the shelves.

Giles Hurley at Aldi does not expect Christmas ­supply problems.

He said: “Our teams have been planning Christmas since the start of the year and we’re not concerned about supply issues.”

Laura Suter, of investment firm AJ Bell, said: “Hosting Christmas for family can feel daunting. But you can make a list of non-perishable items and, starting now, add a few to your weekly shop to spread the cost.”

Cut your food bills

FOOD shoppers are already feeling the pinch. An eight-pack of canned cola is up 20p while oat cakes are up 15p.

Yet we still throw away almost 20 per cent of the food we buy, which adds up to £600 a year for the average household.

Potatoes are the most commonly discarded food. If they’ve gone soft, green or mouldy, don’t eat them but if they’ve grown small shoots just cut them off and use the potato.

Use stale bread to make eggy bread, croque monsieur or bread and butter pudding.

Make big savings using frozen fish, meat and vegetables and look out for supermarket deals on seasonal vegetables.

Buy in bulk, looking at cost per 100g or 1kg rather than three-for-two deals.

Make soups and packed lunches for work.

Andrew Hagger, a ­personal finance expert at Moneycomms, said: “Always plan your meals for the week, make a list and stick to it.”

Save on energy

SOARING gas prices have seen the collapse of nine British energy ­suppliers.

Price comparison firm Uswitch says turning down your thermostat by just 1C can save up to £80 a year.

They also advise cooking with a microwave as it uses less energy.

Uswitch suggests replacing metal trays in the oven with glass or ceramic dishes because they retain heat better.

Pans should be used on appropriately sized cooker hobs. A burner that is too large wastes energy.

Washing your clothes at 30C instead of 40C can save a third on laundry costs.

Do not leave taps running as it can waste more than six litres of water a minute.

An efficient shower head will cut down on the amount of hot water you use.

Rebecca O’Connor from Interactive Investor said: “Bleed radiators and switch them off in rooms you aren’t using and close the doors to keep heat in.”

Do a financial audit

TO keep track of costs, draw up a chart showing your income and outgoings and work out a fresh household budget.

Find out if you are overpaying for your bills. If your fixed-rate mortgage deal has expired then renew it as soon as ­possible.

Shop around for cheaper mobile phone contracts and car insurance and cancel anything that you aren’t using, such as a gym membership.

Claim the Government benefits you are entitled to and get free help from the experts at Citizens Advice.

Consumer champion Which? says the best ways to save money include organising a free overdraft, transferring your credit card debt, signing up for loyalty cards and using price comparison websites.

You can also rake in cash by hiring out a spare parking space for up to £200 a month – or renting out a spare room.

Viewer haggles to save £740 on their Virgin Media bill





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