Making Your Money Stretch
Families with disabled children don’t always have the same options available to them when it comes to generating extra income, but there are ways you can help stretch the budget you have.
Although most people are aware of current government help, the general cost of living has left us all looking to make savings where we can. For specific money saving tips https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/ can help, but below are some tips to help with day to day living.
Although checking your bills and bank statements may seem like an obvious step, for many it can seem overwhelming or something they struggle to make time for – but having a quick look at your bank statements can reveal cost cutting options you may not have considered. Look to cut out everything you don’t need or utilise enough, like a gym membership, or subscription services. It can also be a shock to see just how much you spend on habits such as smoking, daily fancy coffees or takeaway nights – helping you to ban them, or at least cut back.
It’s also a good time to revaluate other things you pay regularly for – and assess if there is a cheaper option or a better way to pay right now (sometimes this may mean paying back more over a longer period, but frees up a bit of extra cash in the short-term).
You may also be paying for something you had cancelled, a contract that has ended or even a bill for an old address. If you find this is the case, you can usually apply through your bank to claim the money back.
For tips and advise regarding boilers, plumbing, home electrics and more HomeServe post useful information throughout the year which can be found here.
When it comes to other leisure activities, disabled children can often access free or discounted activities such as swimming and cinema viewings and theatre shows, so check in with your local council to see what’s available and if you are looking at a particular place or event, contact the organisers to find out about any disability concessions or free carer places available.
Two for one offers and discounts can often be found for larger chains or events, but you can also hunt closer to home for things such as a local restaurants ‘early bird’ special or discount nights.
Depending on your job or place of work, you may be able to take advantage of cheaper rates or discounts. It’s always worth asking your HR department if you can access any.
Look out for coupons in newspapers or leaflets as well as online, as well as for any loyalty schemes or cashback sites that fit your life. Many supermarkets offer their own version of these including Morrisons, Tesco and a new one launched by Asda is some areas across the UK.
You can also find out what offers are available from businesses to help combat the cost of living at https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/ with a variety of businesses listing offers from groceries to travel, from cinema to mobile contracts.
As costs soar to eye-watering levels, there are the obvious things that everyone can do to trim spending, including shopping from the discounted food section (and freezing for when you need it), meal planning, choosing own brands (often found on the lowest shelves) and avoiding pre-packed convenience food, along with buying in bulk and batch cooking where possible, especially if you ensure you cook several things at once to make the most of the heat you are paying for, but there may be other things you hadn’t considered, like snapping up food that’s about to go out of date on www.togoodtogo.co.uk. You can also follow your favourite brands on social media and take advantage of any daily discounts.
When cooking bulk up with extras such as beans, lentils, pasta or rice to make expensive ingredients go further. For inspiration check out free online recipes from sites such as Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe https://cookingonabootstrap.com/
If things get particularly tough, you can receive an emergency food parcel from your local food bank. You can get a referral from a number of different places such as your local council, children’s school, children’s centre, GP, job centre, social worker or Citizen Advice Bureau – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
If you do get into debt, then organisations such as Step Change, https://www.stepchange.org/, can be invaluable in offering help and advice.