Our cost of living savings superheroes are here to help you through a very difficult year.
They’ll be in your Daily Mirror and on mirror.co.uk every day, with the latest money stories and advice on how to beat the worst financial outlook in three decades.
They will also be here to answer your questions in the newspaper and on Facebook Live at mirror.co.uk.
To get you started, some of our experts tell us the most frequently asked questions and the most important answers.
Have a question for our brilliant team of money writers? Ask us about energy bills, food prices, mortgages, insurance, pensions or savings.
Email: [email protected] or write to: Cost of Living Questions, PO Box 791, Winchester, SO23 3RP.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
HERE TO HELP:with politics and government policy
Q. Am I eligible for £200 energy bill reimbursement?
A. Yes, all UK domestic electricity customers will get the discount from October.
It should be automatically added to your account if you have direct debit. But you have to pay it at £40 a year for five years from 2023/24 to 2027/28, from April 2023.
The date is not set yet.
Q. What’s wrong with Council Tax help?
People in Band AD households in England (around 80%) will get £150 off their council tax in April. But some of the poorest are in higher bands because they have large families or because their band is outdated (frozen in 1991).
That means that one in eight of the poorest families is not eligible.
There is a £144m fund to help people who fall into these gaps, but we don’t know who it will go to yet.
North News & Pictures (northnews.co.uk)
HERE TO HELP:with your energy bills and business questions
Q: I have a standard energy rate and am afraid prices will go up in April. Should I opt for a fixed offer?
A: Before wholesale costs skyrocketed, that’s exactly what you should have done.
But all that has changed and flat-rate fares are now typically more expensive.
Whether that’s still the case after April, we’ll have to see. For now, sit tight, but stay on top of the new flat rates by using a comparison website.
Q: I heard prices were up 50% in April, but mine are already up more than that, why?
A: There are a host of reasons, but a large increase in direct debits, often without explanation, is a huge nightmare.
If your provider has estimated your usage, make sure you have the correct meter readings. It could be that they underestimated their usage or felt that their account has too many debits.
If the increase will cause real problems, contact your provider; should take this into account when setting up direct debits.
HERE TO HELP:with food bills
Q. Is there a way to compare supermarket prices?
A. Food bills are set to rise by around £180 this year, so it’s definitely worth looking for the best deals more than ever.
Trolley.co.uk is a great website that collates prices from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons and budget retailers like Aldi so you can compare them all.
Q. How do I get free debt help?
A. If you are really struggling to make ends meet, don’t suffer in silence.
Talk to one of the following organizations free of charge by calling the following numbers: Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848, StepChange on 0800 138 1111 or National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.
IAN VOGLER/DAILY MIRROR)
HERE TO HELP:with money saving tips
Q: How do I get help from a food bank?
A: You will need a reference from an organization like Citizens Advice or one that is already supporting you like a charity.
Citizens Advice is the best place to start and if you are in financial difficulty and live in England or Wales, call their freephone number on 0808 208 2138 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday for free and confidential advice. .
Q: How do I get cheap admission to the theme parks during the middle of the term?
A: Booking online in advance directly with the theme park is one way to get a discount.
For example, single tickets at legoland.co.uk are down from £39 to £25 and day passes at altontowers.com are down from £62 to £42 during the mid-term holidays.
HERE TO HELP:with mortgages, savings and insurance
Q. Mortgage rates are going up, what’s next?
A. Unfortunately the only way is to upload now.
Home loans have been artificially low for months, with some even falling below 1%.
The Bank of England is set to keep raising the base rate this year, which means more hikes. The good news is that lenders are still keeping rates low, for now.
So if you’re near the end of your mortgage, you can still secure a decent fixed rate.
Q. Are there savings agreements that pay interest that exceeds inflation?
A. No. Inflation is 5.4% and it could rise to more than 7% this year.
The top fixed-rate bond pays 2.2% and you’ll need to store your cash for five years.
Rates are rising but inflation will exceed 2% for another two years, the Bank of England said. Choose the best rates to ease the pain of inflation.