Rising bills: here’s what to look out for to keep you on financial track this winter

With the economy roaring back to life as we emerge from the pandemic, household costs are rising fast to meet rising demand for certain goods and services.

Building wealth, while a long-term priority, can be hampered if a family’s budgeting gets off track. With inflation rising – 2.9% according to the most recent Office for National Statistics data – and expected to peak above 4%, now is the time to take stock of your finances and look again at where you can save money.

Inflation isn’t the only current worry. The tax burden, as set out by the Chancellor recently, is set to rise to a 70 year high.

So, what can you do to rein in spending, or cut costs where possible? Here are a few ideas.

Energy bills crisis

The hike in energy bills has perhaps been the highest profile issue for households in recent weeks. Rocketing gas prices has led to the collapse of a slew of energy providers, while surviving firms have pulled any cheap deals available.

The days of energy switching to get a better tariff, are for now at least, over. This makes heating and electricity one of the standout cost rises households now face.

While households are protected by the energy bills cap, currently £1,277 per year, that could also be set to rise to over £1,500 in the Spring. It is essential then instead to look at how to cut the actual costs of those bills.

Basic measures should be taken to ensure your house is as energy efficient as possible. Draft excluders, radiator foils and even just turning the thermostat down a few degrees and wearing woolly socks can make a big difference.

Of course, if you’re older or not in perfect health, it’s not advisable to leave your house cold. If you’re in this position, making sure you have access to the Winter Fuel Payment could be a big help.

Cut unnecessary costs

Now is the time to look at your spending habits and decide if anything can be cut out. Gym memberships you don’t use, streaming services you never watch, delivery subscriptions you don’t maximise, should all go.

While taken individually these costs may seem minor, collectively and annually they can add up to thousands of pounds.

Another area where costs are rising are weekly food shops and dining out. Lowering costs in this area can be challenging, but it’s important to be vigilant with changing costs. Food prices can swerve up and down one week to the next, so having a spending limit and trying to stick within it is key.

Make your savings work harder

The more long-term aspect of the issue of rising costs is ultimately how to maintain wealth growth while keeping your saving levels up. Working hard to keep your costs under control is the starting point for being able to maintain good habits with regards to savings and investing.

Over and above that, ensuring strong wealth growth is essential too. Inflation is eating away at more of our savings’ value, so keeping money in low interest savings accounts is essential. Thankfully with good wealth management in place, this is eminently achievable.