Reduce Your Outgoings by Checking the Basics
Times are hard right now, and if you’re struggling to balance your income against the outgoings, then one action that you can see if you can save money by checking to see if you’re paying too much for utilities each month.
Council Tax – You might be able to get money off your council tax – either Council Tax Reduction or a discount. If you’re on a low income or claim benefits, you might be able to get Council Tax Reduction. Each local council runs its own scheme, so what you can get depends on where you live.1
You might be able to get a council tax discount for your property – for example, if:
- no one lives there
- you live alone
- you live alone apart from a live-in care worker
- people you live with are full-time students or apprentices
- someone you live with has a severe mental disability
- you need a bigger property because someone has a disability
You can find out about getting a council tax discount on GOV.UK.
Gas & Electricity – The energy market has had a turbulent time over the last two years, however recently the wholesale cost of energy has fallen2, and there may be opportunities to either find a cheaper tariff from your existing supplier, or look around for more attractive deals from competitors. It’s worth doing the homework and shopping around just to see if you could be on a different plan that better fits your energy usage needs.
If you are finding it difficult to pay your energy bills, be sure to mention this to your supplier and they may be able to assist you with a manageable payment plan – it’s important not to keep the head below the sand here and be upfront with your supplier if you foresee any financial issues on the horizon.
You can also get extra help from your gas and electricity supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register3. You can sign up ifyou’re either:
- of State Pension age
- disabled or have a long-term health condition
- considered ‘vulnerable’ by your energy network
Water Bills – Use the Consumer Council for Water calculator to check if having a water meter installed could save you money. If you’re on a low income you might be able to get a cheaper rate from your water company. This is called a social tariff. Find out more about social tariffs on the Consumer Council for Water website.
- Gov.UK (2023) How Council Tax works. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay (Accessed 18 Oct 2023)
- Ofgem (2023) Switch supplier or energy tariff. Available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/switching-energy-tariff-or-supplier (Accessed 18 Oct 2023)
- Ofgem (2023) Get help from your supplier – Priority Services Register. Available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting-extra-help-priority-services-register (Accessed 18 Oct 2023)
All the information in this article is correct as of the publish date 26th October 2023. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. The information provided in this article, including text, graphics and images does not, and is not intended to, substitute advice; instead, all information, content and materials available in this article are for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information