What are the important things to consider/revisit in autumn for personal finance?
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” ― Pablo Picasso
There are numerous factors to consider and revisit now that autumn is upon us, such as the festive season, which is approaching, which can be a costly affair and the transition in weather becoming cold, which will mean spending more money on electricity during a year where energy prices are already at a 40 year high.
In addition, the average household bill will increase to £2,500 a year. However, an ‘energy price guarantee’ has been introduced, which is supposed to last two years, while the energy cap announced by Lizz Truss is in place.
On the other hand, when it comes to festive season purchases, the number of retail sales was higher during Christmas time in both 2020 and 2021, which was 3% in December 2020 and 2% in December 2021 compared to the same period in 2019 (ONS,2022).
Moreover, online sales decreased by 8% compared to the prior December; however, there was still more than a quarter (27%) of all retail purchases, which is significantly higher than in December 2019.
In addition, during a study, in December 2021, 46% of people reported that they felt they would be able to save money in 2022, and 66% revealed that their cost of living had mounted at the end of 2021.
Another factor to consider is how to prepare for the start of university with the cost of livingbeing on the rise and an increasing number of people applying for university, especially those aged 18. In February 2022, according to Ucas, 320,000 had applied compared to 306,000 the previous year. Uca’s findings have also revealed that the number of students accepted on UK university degree courses has decreased since 2021. However, the figure for 2022 is the second highest on record.
The total number of individuals confirmed onto a course is 425,830, a fall of 2% compared to last year, according to data released by Ucas (University admissions service).
According to a survey carried out by ‘The survey, managed by Save the Student website, more than eight in 10 people who took part in the survey said they felt worried about keeping their finances in check, with a typical maintenance loan not keeping up with increasing living costs.
The survey also suggested that four in five had contemplated dropping out of university, with half naming monetary concerns as the culprit.
The cost of living has had a 14% increase since the previous year’s responses, with a typical student spending £924 a month.
Many students turned to parents or part-time jobs or savings to cover the gap; however, one in 10 students had used a food bank in their last academic year.
In 2020 according to a survey, half of parents with young children were struggling to keep financially afloat because of the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, with almost half stating they had spent most of their money. 43% of parents with young children revealed that their household had almost run out of monetary funds compared to 18% of other participants.
In addition, keeping up with rent and mortgage payments is also a concern, with half of parents of young children stating they are concerned about their capacity to make payments, compared to 20% of other partakers. This is according to a survey conducted by the Fawcett Society, the Women’s Budget Group, the Mile End Institute at the Queen Mary University of London and the London School of Economics.
Intellisaving has put together a rough guide that considers the following five crucial factors colder weather, the start of university, how parents can prepare for the beginning of the school year, the festive season and preparing for the next financial year.
Guide on possible actions to take on the essential things to consider this autumn:
How to prepare for the winter season?
Keep heaters and radiators clear
Make sure there is nothing obstructing radiators or heaters, such as clothing on them or furniture, so that that heat can spread
Use comparison websites
Comparison websites are handy to use as you can compare between different providers and see if you are getting the best value for money on your current costs, such as energy provider, and if not, you could always switch, though do make sure to read the small print or enquire with your provider to make sure there are no penalty charges for switching.
Turn off standby appliances and save electricity
Please switch off the lights when you are not in a room, and electrical items are not in use rather than leaving them on standby. Switching appliances off by the plug could save you around £30 per year. You could use plug sockets that can be turned on and off through your phone, to ensure you switch unused appliances off. There is also a cheaper alternative: timer plugs that allow you to schedule when devices should be turned off.
Purchase Eco-Friendly alternatives
If an appliance breaks down and needs to be replaced, replace it with an energy- efficient model to save you some extra pennies. There is usually an EU energy- efficiency rating on the appliance when it is eco-friendly.
Switch to LED Light bulbs
When it comes to light bulbs, Energy-saving light bulbs are the best option as you can cut down on the cost of your energy bills. LED light bulbs cost roughly £1.71 a year to use. And over time, it could help you save approximately £180 on energy bills compared to non-LED traditional bulbs. Energy-saving bulbs also have a longer shelf life than conventional bulbs.
Find out what help you are entitled to
You could be eligible for grants and benefits if you are of state pension age, have a disability, are unemployed or have a low salary, and have been unable to pay your energy supplier.
What you could be eligible for:
Personal Independent Payment is for individuals that need extra financial support for an illness or disability.
Universal credit is for the unemployed or those receiving a low salary.
“Pension credit” is used to increase your pay packet in retirement
There are also schemes such as local council tax discounts and a Household support fund; you can enquire with your local council to find out more about the scheme.
Households with low incomes may be entitled to assistance with school meals, transport, and uniform through their local education authority.
How to be budget-friendly this festive season?
Make personalised gifts
Making a personalised gift saves you those extra pounds and can also mean more to the person you are giving the gift to than an expensive gift that may or may not be used.
Do you like creating jewellery, why not make bracelets for some of your relatives and friends? Enjoy giving cards during the festive season; why not make a card from scratch?
Limit the number of presents you give
It can be easy to get carried away with present giving as you try to buy a gift for everyone dear and near to you and if you have a long list of people, the cost of the present giving will substantially mount. So why not limit those presents to those who have your back if you run into trouble and make a cake or cookies for the rest you could not give a gift to?
Set up a holiday budget
The first step in controlling your spending during the holiday period is to create a budget. To make the ideal budget, assess how much you spend and have left over each month. And if you save money monthly, include this within your budget. And then plan how much can be put aside for food, decorations, travel and other holiday expenses.
Some consumers save much before the holiday season arrives by saving at the begging of the year for the next season or by present shopping early.
Nothing is more precious than the gift of your time
Sometimes it is impossible to give everyone a gift as much as you might like, so if you’re strapped for cash, why not give the gift of your time, such as walking the dog or babysitting for a relative or friend?
Or an elderly relative might be grateful if you spent an afternoon with them, keeping them company, took them to an appointment or did some housework.
Look out for discounts
Take advantage of Black Friday and other sale periods to buy presents at discounted prices
Make use of your loyalty points
Collect loyalty points every time you shop at a store which you have a loyalty card for and start collecting from the beginning of the year until the end of the year without using your points during the year; once the end of the holiday season approaches, start using your loyalty points towards gifts or food for the Christmas period.
Autumn is the most colourful and relaxed time of the year which shows us how beautiful the life is and lets us slow down to be prepared for the next big challenges in life. Lets embrace this autumn season and ensure that we have followed all the above mentioned tips to be ready to welcome the festive season ahead!