Turn on the news and there’s a very high chance you’ll watch at least one report on how the cost of living crisis is hitting the UK, and the world, hard at the moment. People have been feeling the pinch as prices rise, making the things we spend money on every day more expensive. But there are ways to fight back and to tackle the cost of living, both today and into the future.
What is the cost of living crisis?
Every day, we spend the money that we earn on the things we need. Some of these are essentials like food and electricity, while others are more optional, like entertainment or plants for the garden. All of this adds up to your cost of living - that is, the amount of money you need to spend to live your life day to day.
Anyone who’s seen their bills recently, though, will know that this amount of money does not always stay the same. In fact, it’s pretty much always changing. That’s due to an economic process known as inflation. Essentially, this is the process by which prices increase over the years. It happens naturally, most of the time at a low level. But if inflation gets high, it means prices start to increase quickly.
Right now, we’re facing a cost of living crisis because prices are increasing much quicker than the money that most of us earn each month. If the prices of the things you buy rise by 10%, but you still get the same monthly wage, you essentially lose 10% of your income.
And the crisis has now gotten to the point where the price of essentials like food and electricity have increased so much that people can’t afford to pay for even the bare minimum. For the rest of us, it’s certainly meant having to make difficult choices and cut back on things we could have previously afforded.
When will the cost of living crisis end?
To answer this question, we need to understand why prices are rising. Like most things in the economy, there are many different events happening at once that are making this occur. But at its most basic, prices rise when there’s either an increase in demand for the things we buy or a decrease in the amount of those things available. Both are happening at the moment.
The COVID pandemic and years of lockdowns and restrictions created pent-up demand for things like holidays, cars and even spare parts. Now that the world’s economy is mostly open again, all that demand has been released and people are catching up, using the money they saved when stuck inside.
COVID also seriously disrupted supply chains around the world, and that’s still far from resolved. This has meant not as many goods are being made as usual. Plus, there are the major effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has cut off much of the energy it used to supply Europe, and Ukraine can no longer produce or export the huge amounts of grain and sunflower oil it used to grow to feed the world. As there’s less about, there’s more competition for what has been made, and people are having to pay higher prices.
Happily, there are some signs that the effects of these factors might be starting to ease. There is more stability in Ukraine today than there was when the invasion began, and the post-COVID demand boom does seem to be waning. Inflation figures are still very high, but don’t appear to be getting any higher for now - and the Bank of England thinks we’ve started to turn a corner.
That doesn’t mean the cost of living crisis will end soon though. Until wages catch up, we’ll still be paying far more for the essentials we need, so buckle up for this current crisis to last for a while.
What help is available?
The government has made some efforts to step in and help people with the worst of the cost of living crisis. This has included one-off payments to the poorest UK households, and help with energy bills. There’s also the energy price cap, which puts a limit on the amount gas and electricity companies can charge you for each unit of electricity.
Cost of living crisis tips
The best way to try and tackle the cost of living crisis is to try to reduce the amount you’re spending and save money. You can then make the money in your bank account go farther. Here are some of our cost of living tips.
How to cut costs today
Sometimes there are very easy switches that can be made right away. That might include switching to a different supermarket, choosing cheaper products or cooking in bulk. It might also mean looking again at the companies you use for your energy or phone bills and checking you’re on the best possible tariff.
You can also cut out unnecessary costs such as paying for streaming services you don’t use. And as gas and electricity make up so much of our bills these days, using less power by using the microwave over the oven or turning the heating down can all help to cut costs.
How to cut costs into the future
As the cost of living crisis isn’t going away anytime too soon, there are also good ways that you can cut your costs for the long term. One is to change your habits. That could mean quitting smoking, or even cutting out the weekly takeaway or pub trip.
There are also ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, making sure that the energy you do use goes further. For example, you might be able to get more energy efficient appliances, such as using an air fryer.
How Quintain Living can help during the cost of living crisis
Many of the tips we’ve mentioned can be tough to do, depending on where you’re living. Old homes might be poorly insulated, or only give you a limited number of suppliers available for your utilities.
Our homes in Wembley Park, though, make saving money simple. All our apartments have been designed for the best energy efficiency, and have an EPC rating of B. The average across the country is a rating of D, and that means you could be saving £290 from this efficiency alone. And there are so many fantastic buildings to choose from, you’re sure to find a home you’ll love.
We also include all bills, so there are no hidden fees. You know exactly how much you need to pay and how much you need to budget for each month. You’ll only be paying for the energy you use, so your energy bills will be lower when you’re doing your part to reduce power consumption and help out the environment at the same time.
Plus, we’ve got a slew of added ‘extras’ to help you save money. There’s no need to pay for a gym or bike storage, for example, as they’re all included in your rent. And as we’re located within a 15-minute neighbourhood, you won’t need to pay for transport when heading out to run errands.
While we can’t stop the price of your weekly shop from going up, we can help you save money on your energy bills and remove some of the hidden costs you’re currently paying. Want to find out more about our homes? Get in touch and find out more today.