THE news yesterday felt stark: Inflation has hit NINE per cent.
It is at its highest level for 40 years, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted there is not a lot he can do to help.
But there ARE things you can do to cut back on your spending, and every little will help.
The Sun’s Head of Consumer Tara Evans shares her NINE tips for beating inflation . . .
DON’T MISS OUT ON BENEFITS
MILLIONS are doing just this and billions of pounds are going unclaimed each year.
Sarah Coles, at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There are 850,000 pensioners who don’t claim for pension credit, on average £1,900 a year.
“A quarter of a million pensioners also miss out on housing benefit of £4,000 per year.”
Poverty support charity Turn2Us has a free tool, grants-search.turn2us.org.uk, to help you search for grants — usually non-repayable, to help with bills and food.
DRIVE DOWN CAR COSTS
FUEL costs are hitting motorists hard.
Make sure to compare prices before you fill up — try petrolprices.com for good steers.
You could also save up to £50 a year with more economical choices when driving.
Remove excess weight from your car and turn off your engine while stationary.
Motorway driving at 70mph rather than 80mph can cut your fuel consumption by a quarter, the AA says.
Turn off air con in your vehicle — open windows instead.
Take off your roof box too, if you are not using it.
GET FREE SUPPORT
YOUR local council may be able to give you cash or vouchers to help with bills as part of the Household Support Fund.
If struggling to pay rent, a mortgage or council tax, tell your landlord, lender or council. They may be able to give you “breathing space” or other help.
With bills such as energy and water, many firms have free cash pots to help.
Get free debt advice from StepChange, National Debtline or Citizens Advice.
Victoria Leyton, from consumer site hotukdeals.com, said: “If you risk defaulting, talk to providers to see if there are ways to reduce payments.”
GET A FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE
IF you have a tracker or variable-rate mortgage nearing the end of its term, plan to switch to a fixed-rate deal.
To combat inflation, the Bank of England has raised interest rates for the fourth time since December 2021, and mortgage lenders pass this on so many customers face higher monthly payments.
If rates hit 1.25 per cent, repayments on a typical £250,000 tracker mortgage would rise £32 a month, £384 a year.
But Laura Suter, at financial services firm AJ Bell, said: “There’s more pain in store as markets expect rates to rise to 2.5 per cent by next year.”
AT the supermarket, swap premium brand goods for cheaper own-brand items.
Many manufacturers of big-name products also make the same for supermarkets — and they cost up to 50 per cent less.
Each week at the-sun.co.uk/money we test supermarket own-brand goods, from loo roll to orange juice.
If you have branded favourites, you can save by bulk buying.
Sarah Coles said: “Look down, closer to the floor of supermarkets for own brands and budget brands. You can cut costs in half or more.”
FIND HIDDEN DISCOUNTS
ALWAYS check to see if you can get some money off via cashback, voucher codes or discounts.
Sign up to newsletters and cashback sites to make sure you don’t miss out.
Money-saving blogger Jordon Cox said: “Hidden discounts and tricks to cut down on your costs are out there, whether through apps, websites or just having a quick Google for discount codes before you buy something.
“Spending just a few extra minutes each time you buy something could mean a massive difference to your bank balance in the long run.”
REVIEW YOUR OUTGOINGS
KEEP a constant eye on this to work out where you can save.
Switch suppliers and ditch subscriptions and insurance you don’t need.
Sarah Coles said: “Keep a spending diary which will reveal where your money is going. It should help you identify any money leaks you can plug.”
Martyn James at consumer site Resolver added: “Also try cancelling insurance you don’t need on items like your cooker or washing machine if covered for breakdown or damage.”
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE
YOU can save a small fortune if you time and pitch this right.
If near the end of a contract, consider just ditching it and see what incentive to stay you are offered.
Many consumers report realising gains this way on broadband services or appliance insurance.
If you are taking one or more products from a company, ask for a combined discount. Just because it is not part of their sales pitch does not mean they cannot make it happen.
Always be prepared to walk away. Many companies would rather keep you on board for a little less than lose you altogether.
MAKE SMART SWITCHES
SMALL changes around the home will help you save — and can really add up.
For example, switching off appliances, from standby mode, can be worth £35 a year.
A third of people are now taking shorter showers to save on water and energy bills, says consumer insight group Toluna.
You may have to look at bigger changes, too.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s Sarah Coles said: “Try not to leave anything off the table here, from holidays, to where you live and car ownership.
“These changes can be hard but cut outgoings quickly.”