Don't Panic and Don't Freeze

It's winter in the UK and we're cold. We have debt problems and other money worries, and the forthcoming energy bills are filling us with dread. According to studies by online credit experts Equifax, 73.8% of people in the UK are worried about the rise in fuel bills this winter. That's no surprise, given that 1,644 people are being made redundant every day in the UK, and the average debt of every UK adult is £29,532, (according to money education charity Credit Action.)

What this means is, at a time when we need the money most for heating British homes this winter, we have found ourselves cash-strapped or unemployed.

Keep up with the suppliers

Energy companies are constantly changing their tariffs and prices, but moneymaxim's EnergyMonitor provides a quick and easy way to keep on top of these, and their latest figures show that over 50% of subscribers are able to identify areas where they can save money; often as much as £100 a year!

Phone a friend

Ten percent of households in the UK are entitled to some form of help with their energy bills, including free or discounted home insulation and assistance with a new boiler. The Home Heat Helpline is a free, not-for-profit service designed to help people who are worried about fuel bills they can't afford, or keeping their home warm; they are available 9am-6pm Monday to Friday. Call them for free on 0800 33 66 99; they estimate that an eligible household will save £250 on average.

Dual fuel – Too cool for school?

It's worth looking into whether it would be cheaper to get your gas and electricity from the same supplier, or whether it's better to deal with two separate companies. It's usually worth taking the time to check all the different options, as you might find a better deal.

Get some perspective

Money Dashboard money management software allows you to automatically see where your money is being spent, by tagging and categorising transactions on your bank accounts and credit cards. It would seem ridiculous to have to wear a coat indoors to save on heating bills if there are other parts of your life where you waste money. Money Dashboard will help you find where that hole in your pocket is.

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