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Rising cost of living: Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis shares his top-5 saving tips in light of recent price rises

Ahead of the 1 April energy rise, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis shared his best tips in a special cost of living programme.

As energy prices worldwide hit record highs and MPs are warned that the rising cost of living will prove “fatal” for some of the poorest families in the UK, Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis addressed the crisis in a one-hour special on Tuesday night, saying: “It’s going to feel like a grand a year,” and that “some areas need political, not money-saving, intervention”.

While 1 April is traditionally the time for utility and public service price hikes, Lewis warned that 2022 is going to be “the worst” in his professional memory with inflation predicted to hit 8%.

“So many people are understandably unable to process the scale of the increases and unable to meet the price. It is depressing and dangerous,” he added.

While not much can be done about the increases in the energy market, Lewis did, however, share important advice for mitigating the impact of some of the rises.

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Claim the £350 of government help for households in England, Wales and Scotland

The Energy Bills Rebate is set to provide around 28 million households with an upfront discount on their bills worth £200, which will be repaid over the next five years.

Lewis highlights that households in England that are in council tax bands A-D will also receive a £150 rebate. The rebate to bills will be made directly by local authorities from April and will not need to be repaid.

Make sure you’re under the right tax code

Lewis stresses that ensuring you’re paying the right amount of tax isn’t up to your employer or to HMRC. He advises using Money Saving Expert’s tool to work out what you should be paying and check your tax code to avoid overpaying.

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Save on your water bill

Lewis explained that water bills are set to increase by an average of 2%. However, by putting your postcode in savewatersavemoney.co.uk, you could make a difference to your bank balance.

Lewis shared with viewers that the site has delivered 2.75 million water-saving devices to more than 1 million customers, saving over 51 billion litres of water.

It is subject to your water company being a participant, but you could be eligible for a free device that will make a difference to your water consumption and your bills.

Know what benefits you’re entitled to

“If you have an income of less than £30,000 and you are struggling. It is worth spending 10 minutes on a benefits calculator to see what you are entitled to,” MoneySavingExpert explains.

According to Lewis, you may also be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week, and you could be eligible to claim £6 a week from April 2020. 

Furthermore, in England, a £150 council tax rebate will apply to homes in council tax bands A, B, C or D in England and Wales – roughly 80% of properties – but not those who live in council tax bands E, F, G and H (or band I in Wales).

Take regular energy meter readings

Lewis says that it’s more important than ever to take regular meter readings so that you can check you’re being billed correctly.

He recommends taking one reading today and then another on 31 March, before the new price cap comes into force.

“I would suggest you do a meter reading today and diarise to do a meter reading on 31 March, so you draw a line and tell the energy company all this energy I’ve used should be at the cheap rate,” he told viewers.

If you are currently struggling to pay your energy bill, he suggested contacting your provider or Citizens Advice to find out if they offer hardship funds.

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Because of the global increase, Lewis told people to “forget the big picture”. Instead, he advises “going through the details and minutiae and working out not just where you can cut your costs, but where you can cut back too”.

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