Ofgem announced earlier this year that energy prices are rising by almost £700 per year for the average household.
With this news causing concern for more than half of all UK households and many of our elderly customers, we wanted to take a look at our top tips for people in later life to save money in 2022.
According to Ofgem, energy prices will increase by an average of 54% – about £693 per year for the average UK household. Ofgem said the increase is due to a record rise in global gas prices, with wholesale reportedly quadrupling over the last six months.1
The new energy price cap will see approximately 22 million people impacted across the United Kingdom. For the average household, instead of paying £1,277 per year those on default tariffs paying by Direct Debit could now have to pay as much as £1,971 for their energy.
- Lower your energy consumption at home
- Check your eligibility for free benefits
- Lifestyle changes that make a difference
- Give Up Smoking and Save Thousands
- Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
- Travel Around the UK for Free
- Meal Subscription Services
- Ask your provider if you can downgrade your lifeline plan
- Look for the best promotions choosing a careline alarm plan
- TV Licence & Streaming Services
Lower your energy consumption at home
Standby mode drains your energy
Compared to previous years, the elderly generation is more acquainted with technology due to the pandemic – with people relying on smartphones or iPads to keep in touch with their loved ones while unable to see them in person.
When it comes to energy consumption we know it is easy to become complacent with devices like these. It’s easy to leave them on charge overnight, plugged into the charger for longer than is actually necessary. Even keeping your smart television on standby when you’re not watching it can slowly push your bills up in the long run.
Electricity and gas supplier Utilita recently conducted a survey to prove how much we are paying by leaving our TV devices on standby.
Archie Lasseter, Sustainability Lead at Utilita, said: “Standby mode is a real energy drainer – some items use the same amount of energy as when they’re switched on. In each home, leaving just one TV on standby can waste up to £16 of electricity per year, which is a staggering £432 million for all UK households.”2
Laptops use an average of 75 watts of energy, meaning we pay an approximate 6.95p for a period of five hours. Taking a laptop off charge when it is at 100% and turning them off at the wall when they are not in use could save up to 1.33p per day, or £4.78 per year.
It doesn’t seem like much, but being smart with your in-home appliances and technology in ways like this can make a significant difference and help to bring down the cost of your electricity bills.
Switch to a cheaper energy provider
Something as simple as switching your energy supplier could save you a lot of money.
Historically, a household would stay with the same energy provider for many years, reluctant to move away from a company they have been loyal customers of for a long time. These days, however, it is very common for people to regularly switch providers to ensure they keep getting the best deals for them.
Changing energy providers can be quite daunting for some people, especially for older people who are more cautious about their money and the businesses that they speak to.
We all hear stories about vulnerable people in later life getting scammed or taken advantage of by businesses seeking to maximise their profits. Naturally, stories like this can put us off the idea of stepping out of our comfort zone and taking our business elsewhere. Better deals that seem “too good to be true” spark our scepticism and our guard goes up.
Fortunately, there are trustworthy and reputable companies out there that take away the hassle of dealing directly with energy providers and find the best deals for you.
Uswitch is a widely trusted service that makes it easy for you to compare your current supplier to others and see just how much you could save by switching.
If you find a cheaper deal and want to switch providers, you can do it online or by phone by calling the Uswitch team. They will then notify your old and new suppliers for you, and they say that your energy supply won’t be interrupted during the switch.
For people who would feel more comfortable speaking to somebody on the phone about their energy, Uswitch also offers their service over the telephone. Find contact details for uSwitch.
You may want to wait before switching
Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, has since suggested waiting.
Check your eligibility for free benefits
Although not everybody will admit it, many people are too proud to collect benefits from the state – especially older citizens who have lived through very different times and were brought up on different values.
In our opinion, life is too short to put yourself through unnecessary hardship when there are ways to make life easier there for the taking (in the form of free money or savings).
There are many benefits you can claim in later life, depending on your circumstances, that a lot of people don’t know about. We wanted to remind you of a few that might help you.
A great way to support your general living costs if you are over the State Pension age and are on a low income is Pension Credit, which is different from a State Pension.
Pension Credit is a government scheme available to anybody living in England, Scotland, or Wales that has reached State Pension age. It grants extra money to pensioners to bring their weekly income up to a minimum amount. It can also help with housing costs such as ground rent and service charges.
According to the government’s official page on Pension Credit, if you have a weekly income of £177.10 as a single occupant or £270.30 if you are in a couple, you can claim Pension Credit. If you have a disability, are caring for somebody else, you have savings put away, or have housing costs you may also be entitled to claim pension credit.3
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.
According to the GOV.UK website, if you receive a State Pension or another social security benefit (not including housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit, or universal credit) you will automatically get a Winter Fuel Payment.4
Council Tax Reduction and Housing Help
For anyone claiming Pension Credit, you may be entitled to maximum support from housing benefits and council tax support. Alternatively, if you are an owner-occupier, you may be entitled to help with mortgage interest or service charges through pension credit.
Contact your local council and ask about Housing Benefits and Council Tax Reduction.
Lifestyle changes that make a difference
Kicking an old habit can be really tough if you are thinking of making some lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking, cutting down on alcohol consumption, or changing the way you enjoy watching television and film.
Some of these figures may help give you an extra boost and tighten your purse strings!
Give up smoking and save thousands
In the last few decades, it came to light that smoking was not quite as beneficial for your health as it was first made out by the tobacco industry. Not only does smoking impact your health but also your wealth in the long run.
On average, smoking 10 cigarettes a day can cost you up to £37.80 per week or around £1,971 per year.5
Just imagine what else you could do with nearly two thousand pounds.
To find out how much money you could save by quitting smoking (and to see how much you’ve spent so far), use NHS Inform’s Quit Calculator. In just a few steps, you can see your average saves over a week, a month, a year, even up to 10 years.
According to Asthma and Lung UK, smokers are three times more likely to quit successfully if they use NHS support.6
If you’ve been thinking about kicking the habit and saving money, we recommend visiting https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/ to get started.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
According to NimbleFins.co.uk, the older age groups spend the most money on alcohol than others, with people aged 50 to 64 spending around £1,160 per year on alcohol, with those aged over 75 spending an average of £520 per year.7
The NHS recommends consuming no more than 14 units per week if you like to drink regularly and to spread this over the course of at least 3 days rather than one evening. 14 units are the equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer, or 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine.8
Not only could cutting down alcohol benefit your health, but it could also benefit your wealth in the long run.
Travel around the UK for free
Enjoy going out and about but unable to drive? Or do you prefer to drive less? Some of the benefits and perks for the elderly include free travel.
When you reach State Pension age in England, you can get a free bus pass – or as soon as you are over 60 in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.9
If you’re based in London, you can also buy a Freedom Pass which has the benefits of free off-peak travel on trains, tubes, trams, and buses in and around the UK’s capital.
A Senior Railcard is an annual savings card and another great option for saving money on travel when you get older. You pay a one-off cost each year and it allows you to make big savings on most rail fares in the UK.
Use meal subscription services
There are many ways to ensure you not only eat healthily but also could save money at the same time using meal subscription services that cater to every dietary requirement, mobility, and taste.
Recipes you can prepare yourself
For those of us who still enjoy cooking, there are a number of great options out there that can provide you with delicious meals to enjoy while saving a little bit of money at the same time.
Before that, it’s worth noting that these fresh ingredient services offer recipe boxes sized for 2 people per meal, which is ideal if you live with somebody else. If you live alone, we recommend cooking up the lot and saving the other portion for lunch another that week.
One of our favourite recipe boxes is Gousto, which offers up wholesome, impressive recipes (no matter your skill level in the kitchen) packed full of flavour, and from just £3.14 per serving.
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Hello Fresh is another great option for anyone new to recipe subscription boxes, with prices starting from £3.25 per serving.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a zero-carb or 100% dairy-free free alternative, Mindful Chef might be just right for you.
Meal box services like these send you all the fresh ingredients you need to recreate the recipes you choose. What’s more, you only receive exactly the ingredients you need, and not a carrot more, significantly cutting down on food waste (and money).
Pre-prepared meals you can heat up
If you are not big on cooking or you find it difficult to stand up and cook in the kitchen, a frozen meal service might just be perfect for you.
Out of all the ready meal services on the market, we would recommend Wiltshire Farm Foods the most.
Our friends at Wiltshire Farm Foods offer a good old-fashioned service with a smile and deliver directly to your door. There’s no contract, and you can order as often or as little as you like.
They’ve over 30 years of experience in cooking delicious frozen meals for the elderly, and their menu is packed with hundreds of easy-to-prepare meals that are not only tasty but very affordable.
Ask your provider if you can downgrade your lifeline plan
If you, like thousands of others in the UK, have a lifeline alarm set up in your home that gives you and your loved one’s peace of mind should you ever need help in an emergency, then you should consider asking your provider who monitors the alarm if they can help you manage your money by downgrading your plan or by changing how often you pay.
Telecare24 customers may be able to take advantage of those options, depending on the plan you’re on and how you already make your payments.
When your Telecare24 plan is up for renewal, give our customer service team a call and ask if there is anything we can do to help you manage your payments. Depending on the circumstances of your account, such as the plan you’re on or how you already pay, we can explore the options available to you.
Do you have a fall alarm but aren’t concerned about falling? You may be able to downgrade your plan and switch to a Pendant Alarm.
If you have a careline alarm system that is monitored by a different company (i.e. not Telecare24) then you should contact them on the telephone number they should have given you.
Take advantage of discounts when choosing a new careline alarm plan
Careline alarms offer invaluable peace of mind and reassurance not only to the people using them but to their loved ones, family and friends as well.
Don’t just take our word for it, hear what some of our customers have to say.
The best careline alarm providers will offer fantastic discounts and promotions to help you save on the cost of your service and get even more value for your money.
Save on careline alarms from Telecare24
Discover the latest special offers and get peace of mind for less.
TV licence vs. streaming services
Enjoy watching the box? There are a number of ways you can save on the cost of watching the tele. We’ve touched on a few of them below.
Get a free TV licence
If you are aged 74 or over, you could be entitled to a free licence. Anyone aged 75 or over receiving Pension Credit is eligible to apply for a free TV Licence, paid for by the BBC.10
Cheaper TV licences for Care Home residents
Care home residents may qualify for a discounted TV Licence fee of £7.50. Residents, staff, and residents’ families all need a separate licence for their own living area.10
Enjoy half-price TV licences for the Blind
According to the TVlicensing.co.uk website, if you are blind (or severely sight impaired) then you’re entitled to a 50% reduction in the cost of your TV licence.10
Streaming services that are cheaper than a TV licence
Are you an avid film and TV fan? There are several streaming services that do not require a TV licence for you to enjoy. We’ve listed a few of the most popular ones below.
If you are still paying £159 for a TV licence and you’re not eligible for a free one, and if you’re not precious about watching BBC programmes or live television, then streaming services will absolutely save you money – and potentially quite a lot.
Netflix, arguably the most popular streaming service at the moment, plans start at just £6.99/month, which works out as £83.88 for 12 months (a massive saving of over £75 compared to a TV licence).
Perhaps you are a lover of animated films? A Disney+ subscription might be right up your street at just £7.99/month (on a monthly, cancel any time plan) or £79.99/year (half the cost of a TV licence!).
Or are you someone who loves to shop online for gifts for the grandchildren? If so, Amazon Prime might be better suited to you. For £7.99/month, you get access to Prime Video where you can enjoy loads of popular movies and TV shows, as well as unlimited one-day delivery on your Amazon orders.