The UK is in the midst of its worst cost of living crisis since the 1970s.
Food, energy, broadband, council tax and petrol prices are steadily increasing, with wages lagging behind. While you could be forgiven for trying to block out the headlines, now is the time to listen and take action.
With the summer holidays fast approaching, we know there will be extra pressures on parents financially. These challenges are particularly difficult for the less fortunate, as those on free school meals will have an increased cost of living, even before trying to spend on entertainment for the kids over the summer.
Looking forward to the winter months, forecasts for energy costs are escalating and will create even greater stress on family incomes.
Our advice is to start thinking about these costs now. Give yourself the time to budget, search for discounts and implement new habits before things get more expensive.
To help you in your endeavours, we’ve put together a list of resources, both general and tailored to Naval families, that can help you tighten those purse strings.
For a general overview of how to budget, and access discounts on key living costs, moneysavingexpert.com is a great place to start.
Martin Lewis and his team have reacted at great pace to provide in-depth advice to those that are really feeling the pinch.
Their cost of living survival kit offers solutions to problems raised by followers of the website’s social media channels. It is essentially a crowdsourced one-stop-shop for the current personal financial crisis.
Advice ranges from a guide on ‘How to heat the human, not the home’, to links on checking if your family could be entitled to government assistance, and how you can claim free food from supermarkets and restaurant chains.
A lot of their pre-existing content has become even more relevant. This evergreen guide to budgeting will help you reduce monthly costs almost immediately, while the money makeover guide helps you to take an appraisal of your current outgoings. The Money Saving Expert forums are a great place to bounce ideas off of fellow savers, and find ideas that even Mr Lewis himself hasn’t conceived.
Turn2us is a charity that helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, grants and other financial help.
They have a range of support tailored to fit specific groups, as well as brilliant general advice on tackling increased cost of living. Their benefit calculator can help families access thousands of pounds they might otherwise have missed out on.
For those who are expecting a child, are currently raising children, are themselves a young person taking the next step in their education (16+), or are considering a vocational career (16-18), they have extensive guides on accessing government support.
They also have a range of resources that are of particular interest to military families, all of which are detailed in this guide. This includes information on financial support for both serving and veteran personnel.
The Seafarers’ Advice & Information Line (SAIL) is the only UK-wide Citizens Advice for seafarers and their partners. As such, they can help members of the Royal Navy and The Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
As well as offering advice on budgeting and associated issues such as debt management and housing, they can help with familial problems that can arise from stretched finances.
Looking longer term, they can also provide help on pensions, which could prove vital as we become more fixated on our immediate needs.
Their information page provides quick and itemised information on their range of services.
Jack Monroe – Cooking on a Bootstrap
Food prices have proven to be a particularly pressing issue in the past few months. Jack Monroe has been at the forefront of this coverage, but has been helping low income families effectively budget their grocery spends for almost a decade.
Her website is a valuable source of cheap and nutritious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snacks in between. The meticulous itemising of costs will give you a far more accurate understanding of your spend per portion than any other recipe website.
Jack also has a range of budget cookbooks. While this may seem like an unnecessary cost, the potential savings quickly cover the initial outlay.
For those on social media, Jack often shares examples of her own family’s weekly meal plans on Twitter, as well as providing tips on how to make ingredients go further.
Contact the Naval Children’s Charity
If you’re struggling, and need our help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We can provide support for the living costs of children up to the age of 25, where their parent or guardian is a veteran or serving member of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, Women’s Royal Naval Service, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service.
A caseworker will then be in touch to discuss the options with you after your initial contact. Our support is means tested, however the caseworker will be able to guide you through the process.
Further resources – Charities that can help
While we will endeavour to help all Naval families as best we can, there are also charities that we can recommend that might be able to help with your cost of living issues. Please see a list below that can support your different needs:
Get in touch!
We want this article to be a living, breathing resource for Naval families across the country. If you have a resource that you’ve found useful, let us know, and we’ll add it in! If you represent a charity that could help Naval families budget, claim benefits or manage their debt, we’d also love to hear from you.