The cost of food, fuel, energy and utilities have risen sharply this year. To help you manage the rising cost of living, we've put together some useful hints and tips.
We hope that this information will provide you with ideas on how you can reduce your bills or save money in other areas.
It also tells you about other support services that are available in Newport which might of assistance. You can find more information and support on our NCH Connected Facebook group page.
If you are struggling to pay your bills, then please contact your Customer Account Manager or the Housing Support team on [email protected] or call 01633 381111.
Energy & Utilities
The cost of gas and electric has significantly increased and is likely to increase again in October 2022. By trying the below, it can help you keep the energy you use to a minimum.
- Make sure your heating system is set to the most efficient setting for your lifestyle
- Use energy-efficient LED lightbulbs where possible
- Turning off lights every time you leave a room can save you up to £14 per year
- Switching off appliances at the wall that aren’t being used at the socket could save you up to £55 per year
- Turning energy thirsty devices like games consoles, TVs and computers into eco-mode can massively reduce energy usage and standby costs
- If you have a combi boiler, turn the water temperature down. Many combi boilers have the water temperature set to 80 degrees, but 65 degrees works just as well for maximum efficiency
- It is NOT currently recommended to switch your energy provider
- Report any leaky taps or issues as soon as you notice them
- Fill your washing-up bowl. If you're washing up by hand, you could save £25 a year by filling up a bowl rather than letting the hot tap run
- Defrost your fridge freezer regularly to prevent it from using more energy than needed
- When buying new appliances, look for ones with the highest energy efficiency rating (A+++)
- Save 20% energy by taking a shower instead of a bath
- Take shorter showers and place your shower head onto a lower flow setting
- Set your washing machine to a cooler temperature setting
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
- Shut the doors to the rooms you use the most, to keep the heat in
- Save up to £55 a year by using a draft excluder. There are lots of cost-effective options to buy or you can even get creative and follow a DIY tutorial online!
- Check to see if you are eligible for the discounted Welsh Water, ‘HelpU’, or ‘WaterSure’ tariffs, although a water meter is required so may not be the best option for families who use lots of water
- For more ideas and support with your energy needs check out National Energy Action Charity, South East Wales Energy Agency and Warm Wales
Food & Cooking
The cost of food has also increased throughout 2022. Below are plenty of useful links and cooking tips to keep costs low.
- Budget dinners - BBC Food
- How to eat for less than £2.35 a day - BBC Food
- Cheap family meals: Budget recipes under £1 per head | GoodTo
- Eat Not Spend | A family's £1 a day food challenges
- COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP – by Jack Monroe
- Love Food Hate Waste
Cooking on a budget
- Regularly check what food you have in stock - the best way to save money on food is to base your meals around what you have already. This way, when you visit the shops, you’ll only buy the items you need
- Try cooking a fakeaway instead of ordering your favourite takeaway, Fakeaways vs. takeaways - takeaway style food for £2.57 (moneyaware.co.uk)
- Reduce your meat consumption and try initiatives such as ‘Meat Free Monday’. Popular meats such as chicken breast and lean mince can be expensive. Try replacing meat with cheaper alternatives such as vegetables. Ease yourself in by replacing or bulking out the mincemeat in bolognese or chilli with frozen veggie mince or onions and peppers. Try cooking curries using filling pulses such as lentils, or using potatoes instead of meat
- Make a meal plan. This handy beginner’s guide to meal planning is a great place to give yourself a kick-start. There’s also Supercook, a fantastic online recipe database that tracks down recipes for you based on what you’ve got in the cupboard
- Use supermarket coupons. As part of your meal planning each week, check to see if there are any coupons available which you can print off at home or use on your phone to get discounts on your ingredients. Try com supermarket coupons or FreeStuff.co.uk printable vouchers
- Using your microwave to cook is far cheaper than using your hob or oven
- Consider bulk buying basics. Store cupboard favourites such as rice can be bought in large 10kg bags for as little as £10, compared to 1kg bags for £2-£4
- Check out the reduced section. Don’t forget, most supermarkets have multiple reduced sections. Freeze meat or fish as soon as you get home, and include it in your next weekly meal plan
- Cut vegetables into smaller pieces so they cook faster
- Downshift your brands. The concept is simple: it’s about dropping down one ‘brand level’ on a product, testing it, and if you can’t taste the difference – buying that in the future
- Always check the sell by and use buy date on food that you buy, food with the longest use by dates tend to be at the back of the self
- Make sure you use the right size pan for the meal you are cooking. The smaller the pan, the less energy you will use
- Covering pots and pans helps to trap heat, so you can cook things quicker, or achieve the same level of boiling or frying without having the hob turned up so high. This can save about 3% in energy costs, per pan
- When boiling the kettle, only fill it with the amount of water you need
If you are struggling to buy food, then one of the Foodbanks in Newport might be able to help you. Alternatively, please get in touch with our Housing Support t team on [email protected] or call 01633 381111 as soon as possible.
- Trussell Trust: Newport Food Bank
- Feed Newport Cultural Foodbank
- Pill Mill Community Food Pantry
- Maindee Food Pantry – Community Fridge
The cost-of-living crisis is having a direct impact on everyone’s finances. Below are the details of financial support services and grants that you might be eligible for. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, then please do get in touch with us via one of the methods above.
- Homes in council tax bands A-D ARE eligible for the £150 council tax rebate. If you pay by direct debit, you will get the rebate automatically. If you pay manually, you can fill out an online form on the council website or head to the information centre at The Riverfront.
- Use benefit checkers like turn2us and entitledto.co.uk to see what benefits you are entitled to
- You might be able to access the Emergency Assistance Payment (EAP) & Individual Assistance Payment (IAP) grants if you are in a financial emergency or are a carer. Apply online here or call 0800 859 5924
- Newport Citizens Advice Bureau (01633 222622): can provide impartial advice on benefits, debt, consumer rights, housing, employment, and family issues if you need help
- If you need to use credit to pay for new household items, such as white goods, try not to use high interest payday loans. Instead see if Newport Credit Union (01633 214913) can provide you with affordable credit
- Wastesavers (01633 281281) and Ravenhouse Trust (01633 762999) sell recycled furniture and IT equipment and small electrical goods.
- Re:Make Newport (01633 846806) can help to repair broken items that you have and also provide low cost rentals on DIY tools and other useful ite
- If you are facing money worries or concerned about paying bills, we can help
- Our specialist advisors provide support and guidance and can help you apply for grants and benefits you may not realise you are entitled to. If you want help, then please contact your Customer Account Manager or our Housing Support team on [email protected] or call 01633 381111
- Avoid using payday loans and other financial services with high interest rates
Health & Wellbeing
Some homes suffer from condensation and damp which can lead to mould. Mould is usually found in places where there is poor air flow and cold spots. Living in a damp home has also been shown to impact on health.
To avoid a damp home, you can:
- Keep all vents clear, close doors when you’re cooking, washing clothes, bathing and showering
- Open a window for a short period each day
- Leave a gap between your furniture and external walls to help the air circulate
- Se your thermostat to a constant temperature to above 16 degrees for all rooms to avoid condensation forming on exterior walls
- You shouldn’t brush or vacuum mould as it will release mould spores into your home
- Use a mould treatment (fungicide) that has a Health and Safety Executive approved number and follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Don’t try to remove it without using a treatment product as it may cause the problem to get worse
- After treatment, redecorate using a mould-resistant paint or wallpaper paste to help prevent mould returning. These are available from most DIY shops.
- Newport Mind (01633 258741): a selection of varied activity groups