It goes without saying that for many of us, winter is quite a financially draining season. For some, this winter will be one of the hardest for quite a few years. A lot of services are in disarray at the moment, and the energy price hike definitely adds to the worry that usually comes with the increased financial burden of winter festivities and bill increases. In fact, some have argued that we are entering an economic perfect storm comparable with the ‘winter of discontent’ of the late 1970’s, citing the fuel shortage, unemployment due to the end of furlough and apparent ‘stagflation’. All of this can be quite overwhelming, especially if you have been hit hard financially by the pandemic. In this article, we detail some quick and easy ways that you can manage their finances as we head into winter.
This one is relatively easy. Quite simply turn your heating off when you leave the house, and switch it on when you come home. Sure, it might mean you’re coming home to a chilly house, but it’ll only take a few minutes before you’re warm and toasty again. If you have a family or live with housemates, try and coordinate so that you know when the house will be empty. This may take some organisation, but the cumulative effects in terms of the savings you’ll make will be well worth it. If you are struggling to turn the heating completely off, you can always turn it down. Either way you’ll definitely notice the difference in your bills!
Most energy suppliers have been rolling out smart meters across the UK. It is definitely worth looking to see if your suppliers are providing one, because having one will help you monitor energy use efficiently. You’ll get a much clearer picture of where you are wasting energy, and be able to cut down on that unnecessary spend. Installing one is quick and easy, so why not have a Google and find out if you have access to one?
Grocery shopping can be a real waste of money. Have you every gotten carried away and come out of the shop with double the things you went in for? The temptation to splurge on winter comfort food is definitely strong, but your resilience has to be stronger! Instead, make a budget for how much you should spend on food per week and write a list of what you need – and stick to it!
I know what your thinking – Christmas?! It’s October! And while I can of course sympathise with the slight annoyance that comes with seeing Christmas decorations in Morrisons before Halloween, the fact is that Christmas comes at you quick, and if you’re financially tight preparation is key. If winter is going to put pressure on your budget, take the time to discuss family Christmas expectations around gifting and hosting as soon as you can so that you can create a plan. Are the kids expecting the new Playstation? How much does that cost? Are the grandparents expecting to be spoiled – full roast and all? Try to get a grip on what people are expecting from Christmas and plan accordingly.
Managing your finances can be tough, especially after the exceptionally difficult last couple of years. However, there is help out there. Consider looking into any advisory services that you may have access to, such as through an employer. Having a chat with someone who really knows their stuff can be massively helpful in the long run, and will help soothe some of the stresses you may be having. There are plenty of services out there that can give you a hand.
With the nights getting longer and the weather getting colder, winter can be tough enough as it is without the burden of financial strain. However organisation and preparation are key to dealing with the financial squeeze. This can be achieved easily through products such as an Employee Assistance Programme, an employer-funded benefit designed to help you with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Employers have a responsibility to look after their staff, and financial wellbeing is a key pillar to overall staff productivity and happiness.