Ways of saving money

Sickness, redundancy, benefit cuts, caring for another person or having a child may mean you have less money to live on. Take a look at our money-saving ideas.

Housing costs

Renting privately
If you are on a low income you might be entitled to housing benefit or universal credit housing costs to help pay your rent.

If there is a shortfall between your rent and the amount of housing benefit or universal credit you can get, you might be able to get a discretionary housing payment from the council for a fixed period. This may give you time to explore other options.

Check if you can find a better deal for your mortgage.

If you are currently in mortgage arrears, it is important to get help and act quickly.

Buildings insurance
Buildings insurance helps with rebuilding costs if your home is damaged by fire, floods or subsidence. It’s important to have this type of insurance if you are  a home-owner. Your mortgage lender may insist on it.

You don’t have to buy insurance from your mortgage lender. Use money saving websites or online searches to help find cheaper deals. Find out more from Which? on home and contents insurance.

Other priority living costs

What are ‘priority’ living costs?
Certain bills are priority costs because the consequences of not paying them are serious. Mortgage and rent costs are a priority, for example, because you could lose your home if you don’t pay.

Council tax
You might be able to get your council tax reduced if you are on a low income or claim certain benefits.

If you live on your own, you’re entitled to a 25% discount on your council tax bill.

Make sure the council knows if you are an all-student household. Provided you fill in the forms and provide evidence of your full-time student status, you shouldn’t have to pay any council tax at all.

Get advice from StepChange if you are in arrears with your council tax.

Energy costs
You might be able to save money by switching your energy supplier.

Energy suppliers offer social tariffs with reduced rates for vulnerable or disadvantaged customers. They may be a useful option if you are over the age of 60 or claiming means-tested benefits.

You could also consider making energy saving improvements to your home.

For more advice, contact the Energy Saving Trust.

TV licence
Most people need a TV licence to use a television, but there are some exceptions.

You can choose to pay by instalments if you have difficulty paying the whole cost at once.

Water bills
There are two ways you can pay for water, either through water rates, or using a water meter. You may save money by using a water meter if you are a small household and don’t use much water.

You can usually pay for water rates in instalments.

If your metered water bills seem very high, check that there are no leaks on your system.

More information about water bills is available from Ofwat.

Everyday living costs

Do you know what you spend on birthdays, Christmas, holidays and other celebrations? Use money saving websites and the Money Helper budget planner to help you manage your money.

Food bills
Shopping online could help you budget your food bill or find the cheapest deals in the supermarkets. Use sites such as My Supermarket to compare the costs of groceries.

You could also :

  • buy supermarket own-brand foods
  • make a shopping list
  • cook rather than buying expensive ready meals
  • find tips on websites such as Love Food, Hate Waste .

Foodbanks provide boxes of food for those in need. Have a look here to find out more about foodbanks and other help to pay for essential items.

Can you register with an NHS dentist instead of paying privately?

Check if you are eligible for help with health costs, for example free prescriptions, dental treatment, sight tests and help towards the cost of glasses.

Cancel gym memberships and anything else leisure-related that you can’t afford and don’t use. Check if you can save money by using local council run sport centres. They may have cheaper pay-as-you-go memberships or special offers for local residents, children, older people or people with disabilities.

Transport and travel
You may be able to save money on public transport by looking at special deals. Can you get season tickets or reduced price tickets to cut your costs?

Work out the true cost of your car. Shop around to save money on insurance, fuel and running costs. Take a look at Moneysaving expert’s cheaper fuel tips.

Find money saving ideas online

You may find other useful advice and tips on websites such as Money Saving Expert and Money Helper.

You could save money by using online money saving vouchers, discounts, and promotion codes.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

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This page was last updated on: June 16, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.