Over recent years the cost of living is gradually rising and for most people in the UK that means times are hard and getting harder. With recent world events which I am sure you are all quite aware of, the price of fuel, food, energy and day to day activities have sky-rocketed!
According to the Bank of England, inflation is rising further than they first expected to reach around 10% and people have been warned expect the quickest increase in the cost of living since the early 1980s. The last time that inflation was this high was in February 1982 when it reached 10.4%!
So this means an increase in everything we need to get on with our lives; food, fuel, energy and clothes. People are working longer hours and not seeing any benefit of doing so, more and more people are relying on food banks and charity, and a lot of people are becoming worst off, mentally, physically and financially.
There are numerous reasons why inflation has risen and everyone has taken a punch to the purse, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the recent COVID lockdowns in China meaning that a lot of the world’s resources are stuck there, the difficulty in moving food from one part of the world another and the upcoming negotiating and blocking over the use of Russian oil and gas.
Once again, we have not learnt from history and people across the world are suffering from the actions of a relatively small number of greedy, power-hungry individuals.
According to Statista the number of people using foodbanks has risen from 25,899 in 2008 to 2,173,158 between 2021 and 2022. This huge rise over the last 14 years has to rise some questions of the state of the economy in the UK. Why are so many people so relying on charity? Why isn’t more done to ensure that those most vulnerable and in need of help are receiving it? Do the current measures of helping those in need really add up?
The BBC reported that there will be some help offered to millions of households across the UK to help ease the pressure of the rising cost of energy. 8 million of the lowest income households will receive £650, 8 million pensioner households will receive £300, 6 million people who are receiving non-means tested disability benefits will receive £150 and there will be an energy grant of £400 for all households. The help has been praised by a lot as a huge relief, but some say that it is not enough for those who are really struggling financially and also because it has also been reported that the average price rise will be £800!
So, what can be done to help those in need and how can everyone find ways to reduce some of the spending and help with the cost of living?
Cut back on luxuries and be more frugal
One way suggested by experts is for people to stop spending so much money on luxuries like eating out and buying expensive clothes, going out to see friends or buy budget foods.
Yes, realistically this is a very good way to save money and common sense, the only problem we see here is that people who work hard and want more from life than just working and going home to pay bills will be less than thrilled about being told what to eat and do.
There is living within your means and there is not living a varied and healthy life which everyone needs.
Energy Saving Trust suggest that by turning down a thermostat can save a household up to £105, taking shorter showers and swapping one bath a week for a shower can save £35 per person in the house, £20 can be saved by turning lights off when you leave a room and one less wash using a dishwasher or washing machine a week can save you £14.
These are very practical and easy ways to save money on the energy bill and therefore giving you a little more a month to spend on food or going out.
Fundraising for those in our community in need
With so many people in need in our communities and so many people needing support from charities, those helping people in need are now becoming inundated with requests for their support.
To ensure that everyone in our community is supported, we need to make sure that those who are so instrumental in helping those in need receive our support.
Charities rely very heavily on members of the public fundraising for them and long with donating to a charity this makes up a lot of their income which allows them to give so much those in need.
Almost all charities will have a fundraise for us page where you can easily find some great ideas how to raise money for a good cause. As times are tough and giving money away as donations is becoming harder, if you have the spare time and fancy trying something new whilst at the same time by helping someone in need, fundraising for a charity could be the exact thing for you.
It is fun, for a good cause and most importantly at the moment, it is free to do.
Raising even £10 could mean the difference between someone eating for a few days and not eating at all.
Find free things to do with your friends or family
We have already mentioned fundraising for a charity as free activity, but as the purse strings are gradually getting tighter and tighter we all need to find something to do to ensure that we all still have a good quality of life.
The easiest option is to go for a good long walk and a natter with your friends. Whether this be in your local park, a woodland, along the coast, down the road, through the hills or just around the estate, it will do no end of good for your mental health, your physical health, you get to see your friends and get out in the fresh air. Komoot has a lot of great ways to stay active outside.
More options could be; pick up the old instrument you still have in your wardrobe and give that a go again, learn a new skill either online or from a friend, get back into exercise and get out running or just by visiting your family and friends who may just need someone to check in on them.
We have been warned that the coming months will be hard for the majority of people and everyone once again is going to need that extra helping hand. If we all work together, we can ensure that people get the support they need from those who are doing all they can to help everyone.
Purse strings may have to be pulled a little tighter for now but that doesn’t mean you still can’t do something great, worthwhile and healthy with your time.