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Coping with the rising cost of living

Many people worry how they will afford to live right now. We can help.

Get free debt help now

Important costs like energy, food and rent are rising. Lots of people are cutting costs or using credit to get by. Many are falling behind with payments. But there is help out there.


What can I do?

  1. Make a budget and see which bills are the most important
  2. A budget is a list of all the money you have coming in and going out in a month.

    It can help you:

    • See where your money is going
    • Figure out what bills to prioritise
    • Spot places to save

    Read our guide to making a budget.

    Read our guide to priority bills.

  3. Find out if you can increase the amount of money you have coming in
  4. Are you claiming all the benefits you can?

    Could you sell old clothes or take on a second job?

    Use our free benefits calculator to check what benefits you can claim

  5. Look at ways to spend less
  6. Read our tips to save money or increase income.

    Visit our emergency funding page for information on foodbanks and more.

Government help with the cost of living

Households that receive the Winter Fuel Payment get this on top of any other support.

This payment is tax-free and does not affect any other entitlements.

Most people are paid by direct debit.

The government no longer offers crisis loans.

You can apply for a budgeting loan instead.

You may be able to get this if you have an unexpected expense.

You must have been on one of these benefits for at least 26 weeks:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credits

You can use budgeting loans to help pay for things like:

  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Moving costs
  • Maternity expenses
  • Travel costs

The amount you apply for depends on your situation.

Repayments come out of your benefits.

Hardship payments are for people who:

  • Have had benefits sanctions
  • Cannot pay their essential bills

Hardship payments apply to these benefits:

  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Read our guide to hardship payments and how to apply.

You may be able to apply to have your benefits paid early.

Repayments are:

  • Taken from future benefits
  • Over about 12 weeks

You can get a short-term benefit advance if:

  • You need money before your first benefits payment is made
  • You need money before your benefits go up
  • Your benefits will not be paid on its due date

You can apply for most benefits through your local Jobcentre Plus.

Read our guide to claiming benefits.

The government announced in March 2024 that the Household Support Fund is extending for another six months.

Local councils may be able to help with essential costs.

It is for anyone who is:

  • Vulnerable or
  • Unable to pay for basics, including:
  • Food
  • Bills

Check with you your local council, as they all have different criteria.


What to do if your fixed rate mortgage term is ending

Millions of people are coming to the end of their fixed rate mortgages. If this is happening to you, you may feel you cannot afford the new variable rate.

Find out about your homeowner options

See if you can pay less and find out what to do if you have arrears.

Offer your supplier an amount you can afford and get debt help.

Tell your landlord. Offer to pay what you can afford. We can help.

Sharing your worries with loved ones can have positive mental health impacts for both of you.

Who else can I ask for help?

The National Energy Action (NEA)

  • They offer free support to people in England and Wales
  • They can help you to keep warm and safe
  • Fuelbank Foundation

Find your local foodbank.

We work with the Trussell Trust.

  • They have over 1,200 foodbanks across the country
  • Use their website to find one near you

Get in touch with the Samaritans if you are finding it hard to cope. They are here to listen.

Not sure what help you need?

Take a couple of minutes to answer a few quick questions and find the best help for you.

Get started now
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"They are helping with my debt payments, especially now it is even harder due to high and rising cost of living."

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Update your details if you are in the process of choosing or setting up a solution.

You can do this if your spending has gone up.

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Are you a current client?

We have resources to help when times are tough.

What solution are you on?

  • tick iconA debt management plan (DMP): Review your budget with OnlineDMP
  • tick iconA debt payment plan (DPP) through a debt arrangement scheme (DAS): A payment break may help you in the short-term
  • tick iconAn individual voluntary arrangement (IVA): We can help you make sure you can afford your IVA payments
  • tick icon Another solution: Let us know if you need support

Campaigning for support for those hit by the rising living costs

We do not just help people with their finances.

We also demand more help for those who are struggling.

In the short-term, we are calling for the Government to:

  • Make the £1 billion Household Support Fund permanent
  • This funds local crisis grants
  • Set up a new fund to write-off unaffordable energy debt from the period of exceptionally high costs
  • Take urgent steps to improve the adequacy of the social safety net to prevent poverty and destitution, including:
  • Removing caps like the two-child limit that break the link between household need and support
  • Limiting deductions from Universal Credit to repay debts to 15% of the

In the longer-term, the next Government should commit to significantly improving the affordability of essential household bills by the end of the next parliament.

This means:

  • Permanently linking housing support in Universal Credit to the cost of rent;
  • Pursuing the development and roll out of an energy social tariff as part of a strategy to end fuel poverty in the UK; and
  • Restoring an effective Council Tax Support Scheme and supporting local authorities to offer forbearance and relief for those struggling with their bills

Debt happens. We deal with it.

We have helped millions of people since 1993.

Find out how.

"I was struggling to pay my debts."

"Plus the increase in my bills. I called StepChange to help me. They were so helpful and now I can breathe again."

Mohamed, Feefo Review