What can households do to ease the pressure of rising inflation?

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The increases come amid record fuel costs and soaring food prices.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed an increase in May of 9% in April, as measured by the consumer price index.

In a new high, the headline inflation rate hit a level not seen since February 1982, putting pressure on households amid the cost of living crisis.

However, there may be simple ways people can ease the strain on their finances.

See also  Charting a historic grim note as inflation tops 9%

Here are some simple ways for families to combat the cost of living crisis.

Establish a budget

Budgeting can help keep your finances on track

One of the best ways to fight inflation is to set a budget to help your spending and see where you can cut back.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “With inflation so high, we have to be careful that rising prices don’t push us to overspend.

“By far the best way to start is to set a budget and figure out where the best places to cut are.

“Cutting costs can be as simple as shopping around for the best deal on everything from media packages to groceries and insurance.

“However, if you’ve already taken the easy steps, it might mean cutting out some luxuries that you don’t really enjoy.

Check direct debits and unnecessary charges

Some consumers have seen their direct debits double (PA)

/ PA wire

Another tip is to check your direct debits. Coles said: “Checking the things hiding in your regular direct debits is a good place to start.

“Only if that’s not enough should you consider more difficult lifestyle changes to cut costs.”

It’s also worth checking for other unnecessary charges, such as credit card charges.

Review savings accounts

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “With interest rates and inflation having been particularly volatile in 2021, it would be understandable if many savers felt uncomfortable commit to a long fixed term.

“Instead, savers would be wise to make sure they’re getting the best possible return on their cash savings account that meets their needs, and to switch if they get a bad deal.”

Stock market investments

For those with more cash, another thing to consider is stock market investments.

Coles suggested that while people will want to keep their emergency savings in a jar they can easily access, those with more money should consider the longer term.

She said: “For money that you don’t need for five to 10 years or more, you can consider stock market investments.

“The value of your investments will rise and fall in the short term, but over longer periods of time you should be able to weather this and your investments have a much better chance of outpacing inflation than they would in accounts savings.”

Get help through Citizen’s Advice or other channels

Increases in inflation rates hit people hard in different ways, but can be particularly hard on older people, who depend on their pensions to make ends meet.

Kate Smith, Senior Benefits Expert at Citizens Advice, said: “One of the most important things to do if you’re going through tough times is to make sure you get all the support you’re entitled to.

“And remember that if you are having difficulty in January, Citizens Advice can help you, whoever you are and whatever your problem.”

Becky O’Connor, Head of Pensions and Savings at Interactive Investor, said: “A large proportion of low-income households are retirees. According to Age UK, more than two million pensioners live in poverty in the UK.

She continued: ‘The imbalance between increases in state pensions and inflation rates, which are set to increase further by April, will prompt renewed calls for the government to consider a more generous increase which correctly reflects difficulties that many older people currently face.

“We have seen further figures from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) released this week that the number of older people in work has fallen significantly during the pandemic. Finding work is not an easy task when you are in your 60s – this group survives solely on their pensions, which is precarious in times of rising inflation.

Ms O’Connor added: ‘It’s really important for older people who are struggling to see if there are any benefits they are entitled to that they are not currently claiming, such as pension credit and any other reductions targeted at their age group.

“Those with private pension funds they are trying to manage might consider allocating a higher proportion to equities to have a chance of beating inflation.

“Older people who have started their pension but are still working and can contribute will still get tax relief on contributions of up to £4,000 a year.”

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