The cost of living crisis continues to affect so many areas of our lives and households are looking for ways to make their money go further.

This webpage contains information about how you can potentially increase your income, or reduce your spending.

Check your benefit entitlement

You may be able to boost your income by applying for benefits, if you are entitled to them. Claiming some benefits can automatically refer you for other payments and support such as Winter Fuel Payments, Warm Home Discount, and extra Cost of Living Payments, it is worth checking what support you can get.

Benefits such as Pension Credit and Universal Credit are underclaimed, with many households missing out on thousands of pounds per year. 

You can check your entitlement to benefits using an online calculator using the link below: 

Benefit Calculators (from GOV.UK)

Or contact your local Citizens Advice to speak to an adviser.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction are benefits we administer as a local council.

If you are a resident within one of our districts, and you would like to make a claim for either, please visit the benefits section of our website.

If you already receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element, and you are struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Check your grant entitlement

If you are unable to afford essentials, you may be able to apply for support via the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme:

Suffolk Local Welfare Assistance Scheme

If you are a tenant (in Council or social housing, or private) and you are struggling with housing costs, you may be able to apply for a grant, paid to you from the Household Support Fund.

If you need assistance to afford adaptations to your property - as a result of your health condition(s), or because your property is in a serious state of disrepair - you may be eligible for a grant from our Private Sector Housing Team.

If you are not eligible for any of the above, but you are experiencing financial difficulty, please contact your local branch of Citizens Advice. They will be able to provide you with information about support that may be available to you.

You can also search for charitable and educational grants via Turn2us.

Support with childcare costs

Childcare costs can absorb a huge portion of your income - especially if you have more than one child. 

The government have provided a 'Family support' section on their website, which details information about:

  • support with childcare
  • Child Benefit
  • free school meals
  • holiday activities

Access family support GOV.UK

You may be able to reduce your childcare costs through either Tax-Free Childcare or Universal Credit childcare costs element.

Please note: You cannot claim tax-free childcare and Universal Credit childcare costs at the same time. Before you apply for either, it is important to find out which option is best for your household.

To work out how much you could receive through tax-free childcare, check what help you could get with childcare costs.

To work out your Universal Credit entitlement, please access the Benefits calculators (from GOV.UK).

If you are still unsure which option is best for you, please contact your local branch of Citizens Advice.

Reduce your spending

When finances are stretched, reducing your spending (where possible) can help.

If you don't set a household budget, you can create one to help you identify possible ways of saving money.

Many organisations provide resources on reducing your spending:

For guidance on creating a budget - and being strict with it - Citizens Advice have created an online budgeting tool:

Work out your budget 

Get help

If you have looked at how you could increase your income or reduce your spending, but you are still struggling to pay your bills, it's time to get help.

Citizens Advice and StepChange both offer free, impartial money and debt advice.

Suffolk InfoLink also provide a list of debt advice providers in the county:

Suffolk Infolink