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Eight top tips to tackle the rising cost of living

Find out more about how you can tackle the rising costs of living

Rising inflation’s still making the headlines, despite everything else that’s going on, and there’s little comfort in being told it won’t last forever because most of us are feeling the effects now.

Your guaranteed USS pension income provides some certainty during these uncertain times, but how and where can you build on that and make some savings that’ll relieve the squeeze?

  1. Check to make sure you’re not one of the millions of people who are missing out on income-related state benefits. Around £15bn of benefits go unclaimed each year, and organisations like Citizens Advice or Age UK can help you find out what you’re entitled to.

  2. If you’re above State Pension age, check whether you’re eligible for Pension Credit, which provides extra money for living costs. Around a third of eligible pensioners don’t claim it because they don’t know about it.

  3. Get more from your groceries. As well as shopping around at different supermarkets, cutting down on food bill costs by planning meals and batch cooking could reduce waste as well as save cash.

  4. Clucking for an alternative to lamb for your roast? With prices for lamb and some other meat sky-rocketing over the past year, chicken’s going cheap (the second bird pun didn’t work – sorry). You get the point, though? There might be less expensive alternatives to your usual groceries.

  5. Cut energy bills. While cheap tariffs are like hen’s teeth, there are other ways to reduce your energy outgoings, like switching to dimmable LEDs, which use about half the energy of traditional bulbs.

  6. It may be a no-brainer, but budgeting to monitor your outgoings could help. Use a simple spreadsheet to list your income and outgoings each month or make a list to see where you could save money – the gym that you joined as part of an ill-fated New Year’s resolution, forgotten subscriptions or even cheeky luxuries like posh hand soap all add up.

  7. Get off the gas. The less said about the costs of running a car, the better, but if you have to drive, take it easy. Driving smoothly in a high gear and sticking within the speed limit can knock 25% off your fuel bill. You can also cut costs by making sure your tyres are the correct pressure, turning off the air conditioning, and emptying the boot.

  8. Take care of your future self. This is a tough one because we’re feeling the pinch now, but don’t neglect your rainy day fund entirely. It’s easy to stop planning for the future when the present’s so tough.

As a member of USS, your defined benefit pension is guaranteed. It also includes some inflation proofing, the amount of which depends on when you built up your benefits.

Remember, if you need to talk to someone about getting by or for any other reason, reach out. Age UK is a good place to start, if you think you need some help or support.


Published: 26 July 2022

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