According to the Office of National Statistics, inflation in the UK is currently at 9%. This simply means our cost of living has risen by 9% and we are in a cost of living crisis.
The last time it was this high was 40 years ago when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. In the past 40 years, we have not had inflation this high in the UK. According to the Bank of England, the inflation rate might get to 10% in the next few months.
This cost of living crisis is why I will be sharing tips and hacks to help you thrive, survive, and beat the inflation.
Watch the Spending
If you like to pop into the shops every other day to buy this and buy that, it is time to stop. Go to the shops on a schedule. Plan your meals and then go shopping accordingly. When you go shopping, have a shopping list.
Do not just pop in into the stores unplanned, because each time you do that, you are likely to spend more than you planned. Plan your grocery shopping and visit the shops once a week at the maximum, preferably even less, once in two weeks or once a month. This is the best way to avoid overspending.
I have created a few videos here, here and here teaching you some simple tricks to help you spend less on your shopping. If you watch these videos, they will help you get ahead of this cost of living crisis.
Manage energy usage
If by now your heating is still on, switch it off completely. You do not need the heating right now because the weather is warmer. Energy bills have gone up considerably in the last few months especially because the regulators have removed the price gaps, so energy companies are now free to charge us for the electricity, gas, and heaters and they are doing just that
If you like your cup of tea through out the day, boil water into a flask so that you are not constantly switching on the kettle to boil water every hour. Keep an eye on your energy bill. If you do not have an air fryer, get one because it uses less energy than an oven.
Also, you do not have to eat a hot meal three times daily; you can have salads, sandwiches, and cold snacks for lunch. Take advantage of the fact the weather is no longer as cold as it used to be.
Get Apps That Can Help With Groceries
There are a few apps that can help you in this journey. Apps like:
Olio: Oleo is an app that helps you to find surplus food in your locality so that you can visit and pick it up cheaply.
Too good to go: This app allows you to pick up food after work hours from restaurants and supermarkets that they would otherwise throw away. These restaurants would prefer to sell leftover foods at discounted prices instead of throwing them in the bin at the end of the day. So you get to pay just a little amount to buy the food.
Yuka: Yuka will find you healthier alternatives of the food you want to buy; so that while saving money you are also eating healthy. Win win!
Kitche: allows you to do a more efficient shop to get the best value for your money.
Get creative with cloth shopping
You don’t need to go to the shops to buy full-price clothing. There are so many ways to get clothes without paying in full. Some of such ways include:
Shop the Sales: if you need to buy clothes, watch out for and focus on the sales. Tell yourself that you will only shop sales items.
Thrift: you save a lot of money on clothes when you go thrifting at charity shops. The quality of things you get from a charity shop depends on the neighborhood in which the shop is.
I advise that you board a bus to a nice neighborhood and thrift the charity shops there. As a student, my friend and I used to go to charity shops in Kensington to get a lot of nice things.
Charity shops have become quite savvy and not as cheap as they used to be, and they have gotten a bit pricey, so watch out for them. So, I prefer to look out for heavy sales.
Shop Vinted: Vinted is an app where people buy and sell second-hand clothes. You will be surprised by what you will find on the app.
Facebook marketplace, Freecycle, and eBay are other good places to check out for clothing, furniture, and the likes. You can pick up free things on freecycle and the Facebook marketplace. I once picked up a free sewing machine from freecycle, and it was perfect.
If you need to purchase things during this period, check out the free and second-hand sites before buying a brand new one on amazon.
If you have not been budgeting or have been lazy with it, it is time for you to sit up and start properly. You can do it on paper, use my budgeting book, basic spreadsheet, or a budgeting app.
Track Your Spending
There is no point in using a budget without tracking your spending. If you write a budget, allocate a specific amount to food, clothing, fuel, and other things within your means. Then you can manage and track your spending.
Tracking helps you assess whether you are staying within the budget and challenge yourself to stay within your budget. You will not fall into debt if you budget and track your spending.
Things are more expensive now, and prices have gone up; so if you are not budgeting and tracking that spending, you are likely to fall into debt.
Spends less on alcohol
It would be to your advantage if you could avoid alcohol completely, but I know it may be impossible. So, reduce how much you drink. Alcohol is expensive and should not be on your list of must-haves. It is a luxury.
If alcohol is a need for you, that is a conversation you need to have with an expert, but if not, you need to reduce how much you are spending on it.
More days between hair and nail appointments
If your former routine was to visit the nail parlor and hair salon every two weeks, it is time to rethink and reduce your visit to the salon.
I’m a fan of looking good, so I’m not saying you should not look nice; however, it is time to cut your cost by putting an extra week in between your hair appointment. DIY your hair and nails if you can. Sometimes, you can buy a bottle of nail polish and apply it yourself.
Plan your meals and cook in batches. The beauty of doing this is that you save on electricity and gas and spend less on energy bills. You are also less likely to waste food because you can portion and freeze the batch cooking you have done. This way, your food lasts longer.
Reduce Portion Sizes
Reducing portion sizes applies especially to children. Do not just dump the food on their plate, allow them to take just a few spoons, and throw the rest in the bin.
Reducing food portions is a deliberate action to reduce wastage. It is better to take second helpings than to take one big helping and waste the rest.
Get Vouchers for Old Clothes
Don’t just dump old clothes in charity shops, take your clothes to H&M and they will give you a discount on your next shopping or voucher. You can also resell them on Vinted and the Facebook marketplace.
Aside from the fact that throwing away your old clothes is not good for the environment, you can also make money from them.
I hope you find these tips and hacks helpful in surviving during this UK inflation crisis.
I would make another post sharing with you the five or six items that have become expensive during this inflation so that you can watch out for them and find a way to reduce expenses for them.
Until my next post