Coping on a squeezed income

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If you’re living on a squeezed income, there may be a few simple changes you can make. Remember all the little things add up. So, ask yourself the following questions today:

Have you reviewed your TV and subscription entertainment packages recently? If you’re on a small income, you may decide you can live without one or even all of your subscriptions. Take a look at what you have and make some cuts.

Have you been on the same phone and broadband tariff for years? Often loyalty isn’t always the best option when it comes to phone and broadband suppliers as it can mean you might be missing out on some good deals. It’s worthwhile contacting your provider to see where you could be saving money or use a competitor quote to haggle with your current supplier.

Are you on an insurance auto-renewal? Shopping around for your car insurance, home insurance or pet insurance is important. Avoid auto-renewals without doing your research first.

Do you make a shopping list? As much as possible, plan your meals and make a shopping list before heading to the supermarket. This will minimise the chances of buying unnecessary items and even reduce your food waste. If you’re living on a budget, you could also try cooking a few vegetarian meals as meat tends to be more expensive.

Is your car efficient? Where possible aim to reduce your fuel consumption. You can do this by driving more economically by accelerating gently, ensuring your tyres are inflated to the right level and removing any excess weight on your vehicle like roof racks. Where possible make fewer trips, lift share with friends and walk or cycle whenever possible.

Try this: Help your children understand how to save money

It’s really important that you get your children interested in money, and more specifically saving, from an early age. Instilling the habit of saving will benefit your children in the long-term and they’ll be grateful you taught them as they get older and have to manage their own finances. Here are 2 ways to help them understand saving:

Let them watch you save: Children learn from watching what their parents do. It is important to show your child that there’s more to money than just spending it. Show your child how you save and how important it is to work towards bigger purchases, rather than just spending at random.

Create a money jar: Let your children create their own money jar, ideally in a clear plastic container. This makes money saving far more visual and fun. Watching the number of coins build up to slowly is an exciting way for them to learn and understand the concept of saving.

And finally, the one thing we ask you to do today if you do nothing else…

Focus on your own financial journey. Comparison, especially when it comes to what you can and can’t afford, is rarely helpful to anyone. Trying to achieve someone else’s goals or buy their way of life, rather than focusing on your own could leave you feeling deflated and like a failure. Try to be present on your own journey and focus on what you need to do right now for yourself and your family.

Support services for those dealing with heightened stress due to the cost-of-living crisis:

For mental health support, try the NHS Better Health website.

Access support alongside your GP if you are struggling using NHS 111 or click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with high stress, depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Samaritans on 116 123. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained crisis volunteer.

To get help with your debts contact PayPlan.

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills, contact Citizen’s Advice on 0808 223 1133.

You can find advice on managing debt problems and budgeting through the Money Advice Service or National Debtline.

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Vita is an award-winning, CQC registered healthcare provider