Are you paying too much for essential goods and services?
Studies have found that families on low incomes have to pay at least £1,000 more every year for essential goods and services such as gas, electricity and insurance. This extra amount is known as the 'poverty premium'. Basic goods, such as a fridge or oven can cost 150% more if bought on credit, and fuel can cost 10% more on a prepayment meter.
There are a number of pain-free steps you can take to make your money go further. Here are some top tips:
Sign up for free weekly emails about all the latest money saving tips on the Moneysavingexpert.com website. You'll also find lots of help and advice on the website about making the most of your money.
Make a budget
Making a budget will put you in control of your finances and you might spot opportunities to save money. Find out more about how to make a budget on our 'Managing your budget' page.
Pay by direct debit
If possible, pay your bills by direct debit. This is one of the cheapest ways to pay your bills. Money will be taken straight out of your bank account, so you don't have to worry about missing a payment. If you don't have a bank account, find out about basic bank accounts here. If there is not enough money in your account, you may be charged a fee.
Don't pay to use a cash machine
If you use cash machines to take out money, make sure you use one that doesn't charge you. Only use cash machines that say they are free to use. A message on the screen should tell you if you will be charged to use the machine.
Remember that the card provider will charge a fee if you use your credit card or store card to take out cash.
Find out more about charges for using cash machines on the Link website.
You can also find the location of your nearest cash machine on the Link website.
Don't ring expensive telephone numbers
Calls to certain telephone numbers are a lot more expensive than other numbers. There will probably be a cheaper number you can ring to get through to the same organisation.
Visit the Saynoto0870.com website to find out more.
See below for how the different charges compare.
Call charges from BT landlines:
0800 - free
0844 - up to 5p/min
0871 - up to 10p/min
09xx - up to £1.50/min
0845 and 0870 numbers are now included in BT call plans for calls up to 60 minutes in duration. Calls to 03xx are treated as local rates, but can be called free as part of inclusive minutes on landlines and mobiles.
The cost of calls made through other service providers can vary. The cost of calls made from mobiles can cost significantly more. Please check before making a call.
Find out more on the cost of calls on the BT website and the Ofcom website.
Open a bank account
With a bank account you can pay bills by direct debit, which is one of the cheapest ways of paying bills. You can also pay in cheques free of charge, rather than having to pay someone to cash them for you. If you don't have a bank account, find out about basic bank accounts here.
Choose low-cost insurance
Shop around for the best insurance deals. St. Leger Homes offers a low-cost home contents insurance scheme.
You can find out more about shopping around for insurance here.
Choose affordable light and heating
Find out more about all aspects of choosing an energy supplier and how to pay for electricity and gas on our 'Energy' pages.
Don't use doorstep sellers and money lenders
They charge very high rates of interest. Instead, join a credit union and benefit from affordable loans. Find out more about the Community First Credit Union.
If you need to buy essential furniture and household items visit our 'Manage the cost of running your home' page to find out about buying inexpensive furniture and household appliances.
Find out more about doorstep sellers and lenders here.
Claim all the benefits you are entitled to
Visit our 'Benefits' pages to find out more.
Don't get caught out by supermarkets' marketing tricks
Supermarkets use lots of different methods to encourage us to spend more than we need. Find out more about supermarkets' marketing tricks.