How can we live more frugally in a cost of living crisis?

  • DebF_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
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    Most people are feeling the pinch at the moment due to the cost of living and while E.ON Next are here to give you A helping hand: Extra help with the cost of living and support with energy bills, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread where we can support each other with ideas, hints and tips on what we can do to live more frugally, to save money and worry that little bit less!

    My son is turning 16 next month, he doesn't mind me telling you that he has autism. He needs extra support in lots of areas, however, one skill that he excels in is money management. He looks at finances in a very black and white way, "is this a want rather than a need" and if it's not necessary then he doesn't have it. I on the other hand am a little bit of an impulsive purchaser, so I need to keep on track with lists!

    This year my son is doing a saving challenge. He gets pocket money each week and from this he is saving based on the weeks of the year. He started the first week in January by saving 10p and he will end in the last week in December saving £5.20, now if I have math'd right this means by the end of the year he will have saved £137.80 which he will then use on something he wants.🤑

    Are you taking part in any saving challenges, do you do something different or do you have any tips on how to get the most from your savings?

    One of the things that I have started doing is batch cooking, cheap tasty meals that I can double up - one half to eat and one half to freeze. This is great for soups! I love the Too Good to Go app and often pick up a Morrisons bag that usually has lots of fruit and veg. I then blanch and freeze what I can so it doesn't go bad, saving the pennies but also reducing food waste! 🥕🥔🍎🍇🧀🍞

    Some apps/sites that I love are:


    • Too Good to Go - Reduce food waste by buying unsold or surplus food from shops and restaurants in your area at a highly discounted price.
    • Freecycle - Where you can get rid of things you no longer want that someone else can make use of or you can also pick up things you need for free.
    • Olio - A bit like Freecycle but you can also pick up food and ingredients etc. A lot of community pantries use Olio.
    • Freegle - The same concept as Freecycle.


    Have you ever used any of these, are there other apps that you use that I haven't mentioned? Do you have some other advice or tips that you can share?

    Let's support each other through this and remember that you aren't alone. If you are struggling and need support there is help out there 🤗
    "Green is the prime colour of the world and that from which it's loveliness arises"-Pedro Calderon De La Barca 🌳

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  • 38 Replies

  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91
    @DebF_EONNext

    To me the last 6 words in the thread title needn't be there. The vast majority of people in this country are not at all savvy with their money. Personal finance is not taught at school and its not at all fashionable when their are other attractions in life. But in reality its one of the most important skills to have in an uncertain world.

    Regular use of the Money Saving Expert website and watching the Martin Lewis Money Show (past episodes are on on ITVx) should be a requisite for most of us.

    Good knowledge of Scams, old and new, will help people keep money they've usually worked hard for.

    Making your money work hard for you is another mantra we should all adopt. Here is a link to Stepchange (the debt charity) which has lots of good advice and No7 - the Government's "help to save" scheme is excellent, if people are disciplined enough to follow the logic. While 2 years and 4 years might seem a long way off the bonuses are unmatched by the income available from any other saving scheme.

    Help To Save Scheme. How To Boost Your Savings. StepChange
  • WizzyWigg's Avatar
    Level 76
    Hi @DebF_EONNext I know I've said this before but when it comes to food shopping a list is a must. On the list is what you need. It reduces waste, saves money (stops buying on a whim), and reduces time spent shopping.
  • DebF_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    @meldrewreborn You're right I wish they taught more "life skills" in schools.

    As for scams it's very easy to get caught out nowadays as the emails etc can look really authentic. My Grandad thought a phishing email for his TV licence the other week was genuine, thankfully he asked me to check his direct debit had gone out and didn't send any information over, you really need to stay vigilant.

    I used the Help to Save scheme a few years back but forgot I had opened it so only ended up with £150 at the end of the 4 years 🙈 such a missed opportunity!

    @WizzyWigg YES!! A shopping list is a must for me, I get caught out by promos and aisle ends. Meal planning is great as you just buy what you need rather than buying a whole shopping trolley that doesn't have more than 1 meal!
  • WizzyWigg's Avatar
    Level 76
    @DebF_EONNext If you get an email mentioning renewal, STOP, don't click on any links. If it's a service you are aware of and use regularly, go to it's official website directly via your browser and use your online account. If it is time to renew, it will tell you, along with how much to pay. We need to get out of the habit of clicking links in emails.
    Last edited by WizzyWigg; 30-01-24 at 19:51.
  • DebF_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    @DebF_EONNext If you get an email mentioning renewal, STOP, don't click on any links. If it's a service you are aware of and use regularly, go to it's official website directly via your browser and use your online account. If it is time to renew, it will tell you, along with how much to pay. We need to get out of the habit of clicking links in emails.

    That's sound advice @WizzyWigg in the case of the TV licence email my Grandad had they said his direct debit payment hadn't gone through and it looked very authentic and it worried him as he hates being in any kind of debt, so I can imagine how many people have been caught out by it!
  • WizzyWigg's Avatar
    Level 76
    That's sound advice @WizzyWigg in the case of the TV licence email my Grandad had they said his direct debit payment hadn't gone through and it looked very authentic and it worried him as he hates being in any kind of debt, so I can imagine how many people have been caught out by it!
    I'm afraid that message is only too common. It's not only in email format but also as text messages. Never click on any links until you've checked.
    There is a great program on the BBC called Scam Interceptors. It's on Mondays and of course IPlayer. Definitely worth watching.
  • Mailman's Avatar
    Level 55
    Never click on any links until you've checked.
    There is a great program on the BBC called Scam Interceptors. It's on Mondays and of course IPlayer. Definitely worth watching.

    Having a dinosaur non-smart 2G phone means I never get the sort of dreadful scammers seen in the above prog. I know I am living on borrowed time but any replacement in the future is likely to be non-smart. Besides my wife has the smart phone...🙄
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    @Mailman

    Scams of all flavours happen whether there's a cost of living 'crisis' or not.

    The cost of living crisis hasn't happened to me to any great extent. Energy prices are about the same as two years ago, I don't have a mortgage but pay a fixed rent . I've not had a rent increase in eleven years as it isn't really a 'thing' round here.

    Food prices are a little higher maybe but I buy less food and use a lot more ingenuity to make cheaper meals and appreciate the steady supply of eggs from my chickens. Leftovers and a couple of eggs make a very tasty and filling omelette or fritata. The only thing that I've really noticed is the price of my pipe baccy has gone up but that's down to duty increases and not really down to inflation.

    I don't use any pay TV or music streaming services (there's already too much to choose from on Freeview and if I want any music I haven't got, WinMX does the job). I don't use a gym, don't have any subscriptions and don't play golf or do any hobbies that cost me anything.

    Call it 'frugal' if you like, but I just call it 'business as usual'.

    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92
    Hi @DebF_EONNext I know I've said this before but when it comes to food shopping a list is a must. On the list is what you need. It reduces waste, saves money (stops buying on a whim), and reduces time spent shopping.

    And never go shopping on an empty stomach. Lots of studies over the years show you tend to buy more 'impulse' items when you are peckish. And if you hit the supermarket later in the day, you're more likely to find a lot more 'reduced' items too. But some stuff, no matter the reduction, won't end up in my trolley. Half price broccoli or fish approaching the 'smell by' date is not for me 🤢

    A good 'hack' for shopping if you are familiar with the layout of your foodmonger is to organise your list by aisle. That way, you can shop in order with no need to go up or down the unnecessary ones. Saves on shoe leather too, but you can occasionally, trip yourself up, get down as far as loo roll and washing up liquid and then realise you forgot to pick up mushrooms and have to schlepp back to the produce section 🤣🤣🤣.

    Years ago when I was in a family of four with a couple of teenagers, I even had an Excel spreadsheet with the household standard shopping list on it. Each week, I could print it off, use it to do a pantry 'stocktake' and then used a couple of highlighters to mark things I didn't need that week. A few blank lines could have 'extras' written in if we fancied something different one week. Some items were only available in a particular store, but I generally kept tabs on prices for Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda. I could fine tune the shop each week to work out which supermarket was best for that week and then just hit one of the others to 'top up' if need be.

    I don't need to bother so much these days as I haven't got a nest-full of hungry beaks to feed, but some things are still definitely Lidl and some are Morrisons so the theory still applies to some extent.
    Last edited by retrotecchie; 31-01-24 at 09:23.