Saving money through the winter

The cost of living is spiralling out of control and many are giving the thought of winter bills the cold shoulder.

Recent research has found that 13 million people get stressed and worried about bills and one in five of them delay opening their bills because they are too scared to look at them. 54% of people said that the increased cost of bills as the biggest contributing factor to their financial stress.

Naturally people donít want to receive bad news and this is what winter brings to many financially.

With winter fuel bills rising and the additional costs of the seasonal period, winter is a harsh financial climate.  It can be difficult to save money when the price of food, fuel, clothes and bills are increasing.

Here are some useful tips on how to save money through the winter

Heating

Recently the 6 leading UK energy suppliers announced prices hikes of up to 20% for gas and electricity. This will add an average of £200 to the annual duel fuel bill sending families and individuals into a winter of fuel poverty.

The number of UK households now facing fuel poverty as a result of these price hikes is an estimated 6.4 million.

However, there are some measures that can be taken to try and make your money go further. Switching energy providers for one thing, should be on top of the list when it comes to reducing your heating bills. Now is the best time to shop around for a better deal – with all the energy companies competing for customers some are offering better deals than others.

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By changing your habits you can also reduce the cost of your heating bills. By turning off the heating whilst out of the house and switching off plug sockets you could soon save yourself some cash. Appliances left on standby still use 70% of their usual energy so it could be well worth switching off the majority of your electrical goods.  Use energy efficient lightbulbs whenever possible and wear several layers when indoors to keep your body warm, drinking hot drinks is also advisable. This could prevent you from feeling the chill.

Transport

The price of petrol and diesel is still very much an issue for motorists. Although there has been a recent drop in prices with supermarkets battling it out to entice consumers, the price of fuel is still a financial burden for many.  One tip would be to try and find the cheapest petrol station to you locally as this could save you money in the long run.

Commuters face a grim winter as the cot of rail fares are set to increase by 8% next year.  A season ticket from Brighton to London Victoria will increase by over £200 and almost £200 from Chester to Manchester.

Car insurance is another hot topic for motorists and the fact remains that it is becoming increasingly expensive to run a car, especially for young drivers.
A single male driver aged between 17 and 20 can expected to pay up to £4,000 a year for car insurance. 

By shopping around for the best deal you could save hundreds of pounds a year.

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Food

The latest research from the Asda Income Tracker claimed that UK families ëhave never had it so toughí as the economic crisis deepens and many are left struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

Despite this there are many ways to make your money go further. Using vouchers and discounts for example when heading out could save you a significant amount over time. By purchasing store brands as opposed to name brands you could also save yourself some cash.

It is advisable to plan your meals around what you already have at home and create a shopping list before you leave the house so you know exactly what you need to buy and no extras.

Times are indeed tough and many are using their credit card to now cover the cost of winter bills and other expenses however you can be smart with your month. By using a credit card that offers a cash back scheme, it could help save you money.

Santander have recently launched their 123 cash back credit card which will offer customers cash back on their everyday spending, including spending in supermarkets and stores.

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