Couple with a phone and credit card

Don’t blow the cost-of-living payment!

We’re going to be faced with even higher energy costs in autumn and the £650 cost-of-living payment is meant to help us pay the bills

The first half of the £650 cost-of-living payment should have been paid by now to those of us who are eligible.

The £326 first payment was made from 14 July. But with living costs still rising it makes sense to think about how the cash can best be used to make this autumn and winter a little easier.

Spending a little time now to work out a budget could really help our mental health.

When we come into a windfall like the cost-of-living payment it’s tempting to splash out on a treat. We’re not alone – scientists found that we’re often programmed to live for the moment.

That’s why it’s important to make a real effort with the cost-of-living payments. If we blow the cash now we might find we can’t pay the bills once energy costs rise in autumn.

Time to think about our budget

Quids in! founder Jeff Mitchell says the cost-of-living criss means we need to plan ahead like never before.

“Good budgeters often have a few money ‘pots’ where they keep money safe for different things,” he said.

“If nothing else, having a pot for bills and rent separate from everyday expenses is a good idea. It takes the stress out of knowing there’s enough set aside for shocks like rocketing gas and electric charges. Some banks, credit unions and pre-payment cards offer multiple sub-accounts within one account, although we need to make sure any charges are worth the peace of mind.

“Additional payments from the government, and any other little windfalls, are best set aside in one of these accounts. We’re going to need them down the line.”

To qualify for the payments – £326 already paid in July plus another £324 in autumn – we need to be claiming Universal Credit or other benefits. These are income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related ESA, Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.

There’s a further £400 to help us out from October. But this cash will come off our bills every month until March and won’t be paid into our accounts. (If we have a prepayment meter, the £400 will be added to our meter as credit or we’ll get vouchers by text, email or in the post. Read more here.)

Image: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

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