We understand that now there is a huge strain on everyone in the country with the cost-of-living crisis, so we thought we would put together a few little tips and tricks as well as outlets in the community that could help you this winter. Warm Hubs So, what is a warm hub? It is a place within your community that you can visit and spend some time getting warm if you are struggling to heat your own home. This will come at a very small or no price at all. It is also a great opportunity to get out and socialised if you are feeling isolated. If you would like to find somewhere in the area that you can attend these warm hubs, then please visit the warm hubs network to get in touch and find out more. Too Good to Go There are lots of free apps that will alert you of locations offering majorly discounted and leftover food that will otherwise go to waste. Too good to go for example will give you listings in your area, selling food massively discounted from the retail price at the end of the day. This is also an eco-friendly way of preventing food waste and preventing a lot of food with nothing with it ending up on a landfill. This could provide you with a treat at the weekend that you may otherwise have not been able to afford, and some places can also provide a variety of meals throughout the day. Please be aware that this may not be the best choice for fussy eaters as it is very much 'get what you're given' however you can alert them of any allergies that you may have. Repair Cafes There are repair cafes across the country that help with the financial strain of broken items by bringing them to a gathering, and allowing each other to offer their help for free or a much lower cost (each one differs!). This not only saves the cost for repairs but also saves the cost of having to buy new items. Of course not everything will be able to get fixed, but contacting local sites on what they do and don’t help out with will give you a better idea of what kind of support that they can provide. There is one based in Solihull, or you can have a quick Google to see if there is one in another area! Period Products Period poverty is unfortunately a very real issue in England, as well as the rest of the world. Menstruating individuals sometimes are not able to access period products which can lead to problems with hygiene and embarrassment among other variable factors. Luckily there are a few ways that people can get help with periods. For example, if you go into Morrisons stores and ask for an "emergency package from Sandy" at the customer service desk, they will provide you with a small parcel full of period products to help you get through the month. The package is discreet and there will be no questions asked. Most schools also have a period scheme that will provide free emergency products to individuals that may need them. Get rid of things you don’t need! There are a few different ways that you can make money from old things you have lying around and no longer have any use for! So going to car boot sales is always a sure fire way to earn a little bit of money, as well as meeting other people! Yet there are ways that you can do it without leaving your home. Depop, Facebook Marketplace and eBay are both easy sites to use for a little bit of extra cash. Our own personal recommendation is Vinted, as there are no pesky seller fees and a few of us office girls at Inclusive Sports can say that we have all made a bit of money for Christmas on it! All you need is a few pictures of the item and a short description! Although not necessarily designed to make money, moving, and getting rid of furniture can be hard… and sometimes costly! Free cycling is giving away, receiving, and swapping household items for free over the internet for absolutely no cost. So instead of throwing away or buying items, you are donating or receiving for free, so it is also better for the environment and your wallet! However, this does come with a risk, so please make sure you are being safe and not giving away any private details over the internet. To find out more about your local freecycling scheme, visit this page! Food Banks If you are struggling to feed yourself or loved ones, there is absolutely no shame in reaching out for help in your local community. There are many food banks in the area that you can attend for help. The foodbank will provide enough for you to eat for at least three days. There is also a food parcel delivery service called Helping Hands that can provide parcels to your door if you are unable to get to a food bank. However there is a referral system to this, so if you or someone you know needs to be referred then please contact 0121 704 8001. Social supermarkets are also similar to a food bank but is not free, yet will come at a much lower cost than most supermarkets would. To learn more about this, please visit this link. Going green! Having a climate crisis along with a cost of living crisis isn’t exactly ideal, however there are ways that we can be green with ways of saving money. Here are a few ideas that we have: -Invest in reusable cups and bottles. This will allow you to fill up at home and save money whilst you are on the go, as well as preventing your single use plastic use!
-Turn everything off! Leaving things on standby is not only burning a hole in your pocket with your electricity bill, it is also harming the planet. Switching things off at the wall and making sure they aren’t on standby is a very handy habit to get into!
-Selling and buying clothes with the places we have already provided is a lot cheaper and sustainable for the planet, rather than contributing to fast fashion.
-Composting your food scraps! Saving leftovers for the next day is the most cost effective way to prevent food waste, however if there are some that are past saving, giving back to the environment and using them as compost is a great way of recycling!
-If you are physically able to, try and get to and from locations by walking and taking public transport rather than the car or taxis. This is both cheaper and will reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. We are aware that not everyone can do this, yet if you are able to, please take it into consideration.
-Register for a library card! Not only is it an educational pastime, but it is also completely free and is a much more environmentally friendly way of entertainment in comparison to using electricity or buying new things. It is also a warm, communal space that have access to things like computers and the internet.
-If any of the devices in your home have an eco-setting- make sure you are using it! It’s not only better for the environment but also will save you money on your bills. Meals on a Budget Ways to sort out meals on a budget throughout the week can be done in many ways. A few examples are batch cooking and freezing to make sure that everything is portioned properly and every single item of food is being used. Creating a plan of meals at the beginning of the week will also prevent you from buying unnecessary items on the weekly shop, and will help with a more balanced diet overall.
If you are able to invest in an air fryer, not only is this a healthy alternative to cooking your food but also it uses significantly less energy than an oven does! Or if you do use an oven, batch cooking more than one meal at the same time will reduce overall energy and time spent. Of course we understand that these tips will not overall fix the cost of living crisis and many people are not in a fortunate enough position to even get involved with some of these tips. However, we thought we would just share a few little ideas that will hopefully provide some support throughout this pressing time. We are also trying to incorporate cost of living friendly activities and information into our term time sessions, to make sure that our participants are aware of different ways to apply these aspects into their life. As well as this, we are open for a chat with any parents and carers on ways that we can support and help out where we can. We are also providing snacks and meals (depending on the session you attend) to your loved ones that will hopefully help with costs for childcare and food. If you have any tips that you would like to share in the comments- please do! We are also open to more help and suggestions wherever we can find them!