Carers' tips for spiralling living costs

With the huge rise in cost of living right now, carers in the Mobilise community have been sharing their challenges and tips for trying to keep costs down. This isn’t a blog we wanted to have to write - this isn’t how carers should be having to live. However, it is the lived reality of many and we wanted to share the tips carers have kindly shared, with as many carers as possible.

Illustration of man in kitchen with laptop.

So, aside from turning lights off in the rooms we’re not in, what other tips and hacks are carers using, to cope with the rising costs right now?


20 tips for saving money around our homes

Carers have shared useful tips to help us save a little more around our homes. Here are 20 suggestions that we can try for ourselves:


1. Many carers have found electric blankets to be a cost effective way to stay warm.


“I’ve had an electric blanket for 2 years now, the best £50 I have spent. Cheap to run, around 1p an hour and even overnight. Very cosy. Can be used on a timer and at different temp settings. I don't put my heating on at all now”

2. Switching to LED lightbulbs, which use less energy and last longer.


3. Many carers are using slow cookers, which use less energy. Second hand ones on Gumtree start at about £15.


4. Some carers are using reflective foil behind their radiators, to reduce heat lost straight out of the wall. Packs on Amazon start at about £12.


5. Curtains over external doors. Charity shops quite often have curtains donated.


6. Using throws on top of duvets and turning the heating off at night.


7. Wrapping up indoors, with hoodies, extra jumpers, snoods and hot water bottles.


8. Hanging washing to dry on radiators (when they’re on) and over the bannister - rather than using the tumble dryer.


9. Being careful how much water is put in the kettle - only boil what we need so we use less electricity. Or putting boiled water into a thermos, so the kettle doesn’t need boiling again later.


10. Using a broom and mop for hard flooring, rather than the hoover.


“If I’ve used the oven, I leave the door open once I’ve finished, so the heat can warm the room.”

11.Buying reduced food on the use-by date and freezing.


12. Making use of apps like Olio and Foodcloud, to access affordable food that would otherwise go to waste.


13. Buying frozen and tinned fruit and veg, to reduce waste.


14. Meal planning to reduce waste and manage our money.


15. Buying in bulk


“A 5kg bag of pasta costs me £2.99, rather than £1.89 for 500g”

16. Accessing the local food bank. We can find our local food bank here.


17. Get cleaning supplies from Home Bargains, B&M or Wilko, where they’re much cheaper.


18. Making the most out of any points, membership or rewards card for stores we shop at such as Tesco’s Clubcard, or Nectar cards. We can download Stocard which is a mobile wallet for our rewards cards (and we may even discover some new ones on there). Available on both iOS and Androids.


“I find it super helpful to have all my cards in one place on my phone. So if I ever do forget my purse, I know I’m not missing out on collecting the points”

19. Use second-hand, or marketplace websites to make purchases, such as Ebay, or Depop. We may be able to find the things we’re looking for below market price. And we may be able to sell a few things too.


20. Finally, are we paying for any subscription services that we don’t currently really need? Are there any that have slipped under our radar? Carers shared that taking time to review their direct debits and cancelling any unneeded subscriptions saved them a little more.



Eight more tips shared by parent carers in the Mobilise community

Kate Crockford, a parent carer in the Mobilise community has kindly shared her money-saving tips, in hopes that it would help other carers.


Here are eight of her brilliant ideas.



1. See if there are any swap schemes or toy libraries

Some that carers recommend include:

  • Cerebra and Newlife have toy lending services for those with children who have additional needs.

  • ClearVision Project is a braille lending library.

  • Living Painting has audio and tactile books for partially sighted children and adults.

  • Carers shared that they have also been enjoying local lego lending schemes found through Facebook groups!


2. Make the most of the local Library!

Borrow books, CDs or DVDs. For those with visual impairment, RNIB has a lending library. The National Poetry Library in London also offers poetry CDs to borrow.


3. Use Royal Mail online services

It's cheaper to buy postage online for Royal Mail and can save us more time.


4. Make an Amazon Wish List

Make an Amazon Wish List for yourself, your child, loved one for their birthday or Christmas so if people want to buy them something, it can be something they like or need. You also then get notifications if any items on the list are reduced in price.


5. Prepare or cook food in bulk

Our 'Meal planning for busy carers' is a good starting point, filled with carers' tips and tricks to keep costs low. These can also potentially be good gift options - we can simply jazz them up in pretty bags with a homemade card.


6. Is setting a timer for showering possible?

"Set a timer for the shower and try to be quicker if you can – not easy when you are manipulating hoists, slings etc, but it’s worth a try" - Parent carer

7. Share with others

This can include clothes the children have grown out of, shoes that don’t fit, toys no longer played with, DVDs not watched, books, food, anything. Use Facebook to find a group local to you and post the things you have and give them to those who need them.


Kindness goes a long way, now more than ever. Help out who you can – it doesn’t have to be money, it can be that spare onion you have in the cupboard or those shoes you never wear.


One great kindness scheme is Kindness By Post which is simply sending a card to someone else, no strings. It really helps cheer you up, and would be accessible to almost everyone.


8. Master some sewing basics

Learn some basic sewing stitches to repair clothes, bedding or dog toys rather than throwing them away. We can YouTube some simple and quick tutorials to guide us. Plus, it can save us a lot of money.



Hopefully, you managed to find something helpful for you. Or perhaps you have your own tips that you would like to share with other carers - please do let us know, and we’ll add it to our guide


Don’t forget, you can also join our Facebook group for unpaid carers, a place where we help each other through sharing advice, support and tips.


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