Reducing your regular living costs
If you’re struggling with money, there are steps you can take to save on your regular living costs. You might be able to save money by:
- getting a discount on your council tax
- switching to a cheaper deal for your gas and electricity
- getting a water meter fitted
- switching to a cheaper broadband, TV, or phone deal
- getting cheaper travel
Check if you can pay less council tax
You might be able to get money off your council tax - either Council Tax Reduction or a discount.
Find out if you can get Council Tax Reduction
If you’re on a low income or claim benefits, you might be able to get Council Tax Reduction.
Each local council runs its own scheme, so what you can get depends on where you live. Find out more about Council Tax Reduction.
Find out if you can get a discount
You might be able to get a council tax discount for your property - for example if:
- no one lives there
- you live alone
- you live alone apart from a live-in care worker
- people you live with are full-time students or apprentices
- someone you live with has a severe mental disability
- you need a bigger property because someone has a disability
Saving money on your gas and electricity
You might be able to save money on your energy bills by switching to a better deal. You could stay with your current supplier or switch to a new one.
Making your home more energy efficient
You might be able to cut your energy bills by installing insulation, glazing or a more efficient heating system in your home.
If you're on a low income you might be able to get help with the cost of making improvements. Check the energy grants calculator on GOV.UK.
Check if you could save money on your water bills
You might be able to pay less for your water if you don’t have to pay council tax, or if you get a Council Tax Reduction or discount. Find out about help paying water charges.
You’ll only pay for the water you use if you have a water meter. Find out about getting a water meter on the Scottish Water website.
If you’ve got children in school
If you’re on a low income or claim certain benefits, you might be able to get help with the costs of sending your children to school.
You could get:
- free school meals
- free transport to school
- a grant to help to buy school uniforms
Switch to a cheaper broadband, phone or TV deal
You might be able to save money by switching to a different broadband, phone or TV provider.
Check your terms and conditions before you switch. If you’re part way through a fixed-term contract you might have to pay to leave early - this is called an ‘exit fee’. Exit fees can be expensive and it might be better to wait until the end of the contract before switching.
If you’re getting benefits
You might be able to get cheap phone calls and broadband through BT Basic if you get any of:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
Find out more about BT Basic on the BT website.
Check if you can pay less for your TV licence
If you can’t afford to pay for a TV licence up front you can pay weekly, fortnightly, monthly or every 3 months. You won’t save money but spreading the cost will make payments more manageable.
Read more about different ways to pay on the TV Licensing website.
If you don’t watch live TV and don’t use the BBC iPlayer you might not have to pay for a licence. Check if you have to pay on the TV Licensing website.
If you’re 75 or over
You can get a free TV licence - even if you live with people who are younger than you.
Apply for your free licence on the TV Licensing website. You’ll need to give your National Insurance number - they’ll use it to check your age.
If you’re registered blind
You can get a 50% discount on your TV licence if you’re registered blind, or live with someone who is. Check how to apply for the discount on GOV.UK.
If you’re in residential care
You can get a licence for £7.50 if you’re in residential care and either:
- over 60 and retired
Ask your housing manager to apply for you.
Saving money on travel costs
You might be able to spend less on travel costs by:
- shopping around for cheaper car insurance
- buying a season ticket for the train or bus if you travel regularly
- applying for a railcard
Find out about saving on car and travel costs on the Money Advice Service website.
Applying for an older person’s bus pass
You might be able to get a bus pass for free travel. The age you can get one depends on where you live and when you were born.