New research shows how household budgets are being squeezed. Two-thirds of adults in Great Britain have cut back their spending on non-essentials, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Here, we look at:
Living costs remain high because the average price of goods and services has been increasing faster than people’s wages and income. This, combined with expected tax increases and a rise in National Insurance (NI) contributions, is leaving many households on tighter budgets and struggling to make ends meet.
Inflation (the rate at which the prices of goods and services increase) has been high for several reasons. These include higher global oil and gas prices, coupled with uncertainty over supply chains and staff shortages. When companies face higher operating costs, they often put up their prices, creating a knock-on effect.
Inflation fell back into single figures after being more than 10% for several months. The Bank of England now says it expects to meet its 2% target by early 2025.
Here are things you can do to help you financially.
Whatever your situation, creating a budget can make it easier to manage your money. It’ll help you see what money you have regularly coming in and going out and possibly find areas to reduce your spending.
If you need support reviewing your finances, or you’re finding that rising costs are simply making things unaffordable – we’re here to help.
Go through your bank statements and look at your standing orders and Direct Debits to see what you’re paying for. You may be able to cancel and save on subscription services you no longer use, for example.
Now is also a good time to review existing policies, such as home insurance, utility bills, broadband or phone contracts – to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. It’s also worth noting down when policies are coming to an end – as you can often negotiate better prices before they auto-renew.
If you have multiple debts, a cost-effective option may be to repay the debt with the highest interest rate first, as it’s charging you the most to borrow the money. Keep in mind – you’ll still need to meet at least the minimum repayments on all debts to avoid charges.
If juggling multiple debts is too stressful, a debt consolidation loan can be a way to simplify your repayments and help you get back on track. However, it’s important to consider whether you’ll repay more on a monthly basis and over the course of the loan.
Explore: Tips for paying off your credit card
Benefits and other government support can help if you’re out of work or on a low income, but you may be eligible for other types of support too. For example, free childcare, or a council tax discount if you live alone.
Millions of households face higher bills because of an increase in the energy price cap. From washing your clothes at a lower temperature to switching energy suppliers – there are ways you can save money on energy. You can also reduce your energy bill by making your home more energy efficient. For example, by draft-proofing unwanted gaps and insulating pipes, you can reduce heat loss and save money.
Food shopping is one of the biggest weekly household expenses. From setting a budget, to planning your meals and storing your food, there's a range of things you can do to make your money go further at the supermarket.
You can check local fuel station prices online before filling up or take advantage of loyalty schemes. There are also ways you can make your car more fuel-efficient, so the fuel you do buy, lasts longer. For example:
You may have tried everything and cut back on non-essential spending. But what if it’s not enough?
If you’re unable to afford the cost of living, here are some ways you can get help:
When debt becomes overwhelming, it can be hard to know where to start. But remember – you can get support. Make a clear list of all your debts and the amount owed on each. The aim is to pay the priority debts first – the ones with the biggest consequences if you don’t pay, such as your mortgage or a court-ordered payment.
Speak to the companies you owe. They can help you create a repayment plan that’s manageable and will prevent you from missing any future payments.
If you’re an HSBC customer and you’ve missed – or are worried about missing – a loan or credit card payment, or you're concerned about your overdraft, we’re here to help.
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, or are worried about future payments, it’s best to get help straight away – don’t ignore them. Speak to the companies you owe to let them know. They may be able to offer other options for how or when you pay.
If you’re worried you won't be able to make future mortgage payments, or are already in arrears, your mortgage lender should be able to help.
If you’re an HSBC customer, we’re here to provide mortgage payment support. Whatever your situation, we can help you put a plan in place.
If you’re struggling to pay your rent, it’s important to let your landlord or letting agency know as soon as possible. If your rent isn’t paid, the money owed is called 'rent arrears'. These are priority debts, which mean you should sort them out first, before tackling other debts – to avoid the risk of eviction.
Create a budget and work out how much you can afford to pay. Contact your landlord or letting agency – let them know you’re taking steps to deal with the situation and offer to pay what you can at this stage. StepChange has free sample letters to help you do this. It’s important you stick with the new payment plan if agreed. If they refuse your offer, or don’t reply – it’s important you make the payments anyway.
If you’re struggling to pay for food, your local food bank can help, as well as provide other household items like toiletries or cleaning products.
To be eligible, you’ll need a referral first, which you can get through the food bank directly or one of the following:
The government is offering one-off payments to help with the cost of living.
These include money for those who: