There’s good news as we head into 2024, with mortgage interest rates anticipated to reduce towards the middle of the year. Rates have now fallen below 6%, so homeowners who may want to buy or re-mortgage will now have more cost-effective options available to them. For more information read here.
The National Minimum Wage is set to increase by 9.8% in April for over 21s. This will hopefully put more cash into people’s pockets and help offset the cost of living increases we have seen recently.
State pension rates are also due to rise by 8.5% in April 2024, which will be welcome news for pensioners at a time when food and heating bills take a large part of their budgets. Find out more here.
As the government changes policies, it is worth checking whether your entitlements have changed in any way. You could be entitled to extra benefits that previously may not have been available to you. Check whether you are entitled to more here.
Most of us probably spent more than we planned to over the Christmas period, so it is worth taking advantage of some simple ideas to help reduce your household costs as we move into the new year.
- Using leftovers can help with your weekly food shopping bill each week. If you are able to freeze leftovers, you can incorporate thesm into your weekly meal plans, saving both waste and money.
- If you haven’t done so already, sign up for the weekly shopping and budgeting email from Lornas Meal Plans. Whatever your budget, you can find a meal plan there to suit your family’s tastes.
- If you have overspent during the festive period, you may be able to save interest costs by switching your credit card to a 0% interest rate card to help spread the cost.
Have you ever considered growing your own food? As we move into spring, there are opportunities to start to sow seeds to grow your own food. Even if you live in a city and only have a small outside space, lots can be grown in growbags and buckets – and even on window ledges, if you don’t have any ground to plant into. It’s a great way for children to learn about where their food comes from. You could also consider having an allotment: just speak to your local council to find out availability. Find out more here.
In many towns there are communal areas where residents can all grow food together, sharing the digging, the knowledge and the food that they grow. Farm Gardens is just one such organisation that you can contact to find out more, but see if you can find one near you.
Keeping children entertained and occupied in the school breaks can be expensive and pretty hard work, too. This website has lots of suggestions about things you can do together that don’t cost the earth, while teaching skills and making happy family memories together.
As always, if you need any budgeting advice, the CAP Money Course is free and shows you how to plan and implement a budget that is right for you. The BOSS Charity partners with CAP to help our beneficiaries, but their help is open to anyone, so please feel free to share this link with friends and family.