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Reducing your regular living costs

This advice applies to Wales

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
  • getting a water meter fitted
  • switching to a cheaper broadband, TV, or phone deal
  • getting cheaper travel
  • paying for your prescriptions in advance

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. Check if you can get Council Tax Reduction on GOV.UK.

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

You can find out about getting a council tax discount on GOV.UK.

Saving money on your gas and electricity

At the moment you probably won’t be able to save money by switching. If you look on a price comparison website, you won't find as many tariffs as usual - this is because many energy companies are struggling. If you don’t find a better tariff than the one you’re already on, it’s better to wait until deals are available again.

Make sure you use an authorised price comparison website. You can find a list of authorised price comparison websites on Ofgem's website

If you’re in debt to your energy supplier you’ll need to follow a different process for switching.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills you might be able to get help.

Check if you can get benefits or grants to help pay your energy bills.

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

If you have a water meter you’ll only pay for the water you use. Use the Consumer Council for Water calculator to check if having a water meter installed could save you money.

If a water meter doesn’t save you money you can change back within 12 months of installation. After 12 months you can’t go back to unmetered billing.

If you’re on a low income you might be able to get a cheaper rate from your water company. This is called a social tariff. Find out more about social tariffs on the Consumer Council for Water website.

If you already have a water meter or are waiting for one to be installed

You might be able to get help from the Watersure scheme. The scheme caps bills so you’ll never pay more than the average for the area.

You might be able to join the scheme if you’re getting benefits and:

  • you have 3 or more children under 19 living in the home with you
  • you have a medical condition that requires extra water

Check if you can join the Watersure scheme.

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

Find out more about getting help with school costs.

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.

Read more about finding a cheaper deal.

If you’re getting benefits

Ask your provider if they can offer you cheaper phone or broadband. You can find out how to contact your provider on their website.

You might be able to get a cheaper broadband deal called a ‘social tariff’. It depends which benefits you get and where you live. You can check which providers offer social tariffs on the Ofcom 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.

Check if you can get a free TV licence

You might be able to get a free TV licence if someone in your household gets Pension Credit.

To get the discount, both of the following must apply to the licence holder:

  • they’re 75 years or older
  • they get Pension Credit or have a partner living at the same address who does

Apply for a TV licence at TV Licensing.

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
  • disabled

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.

Check if you can get an older person’s bus pass on GOV.UK.

Next steps

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