Money help and advice

Money help and advice

Many of us will be facing a range of financial pressures which may include rising energy and fuel costs.

So many costs are rising

Money help leaflet cover You aren’t alone. As household budgets are being stretched to the limit by this unprecedented cost of living crisis, there are more and more of us struggling to manage our finances.

Heating and energy, food, fuel and clothing...the list goes on. We know it can feel overwhelming.

That’s why we ask you to talk to us. If you are having difficulty in paying your rent, contact us as soon as possible.

We don’t have a magic wand that we can wave to fix everything, we wish we did. But we do have good people here with a lot of financial knowledge, skills and experience between them. They will talk to you and help you find the best way through and the right people to help you.

Then we will contact you to discuss if you are entitled to any further financial help and to set up an affordable payment plan that fits with your current circumstances.

Please read through the practical tips and links below, here on our website and in our dedicated leaflet.

Cost of living support

We are all being affected by the cost of living. If you are struggling, get in touch and we can check you are getting all you're entitled to and managing your money well. Meanwhile, check what you could be missing out on below:

Household Support Fund

Westward Household Support Fund - we provide a fund to assist our customers who are impacted in the rises to the cost of living. Click here for more information.

Local authorities have funds to help those who are particularly struggling. More information around criteria can be found on each local authorities websites. You can also see some of the main links in our area below:

Cornwall Council Household Support Fund

East Devon Hardship and Household Support fund

Exeter City Council Household Support Fund

Mid Devon Household Support Fund

North Devon Support ( and Household Support Fund (

Plymouth Household support fund

South Hams Household Support Fund

Torridge Household Fund - Encompass

West Devon Household Support Fund


Cost of living payments – over eight million households on certain benefits and tax credits will receive a third cost of living payment of £299 between 6 -22 February 2024. You don't need to apply for it, it will be paid directly into your bank account. 

If you are struggling with your energy bills tell your energy company. If you do, that means you are legally protected and they have to work out a payment plan with you.

Warm Homes discount – you could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount applied to your electricity bill between early October 2023 and 31 March 2024. You’ll usually get the discount automatically if you’re eligible. Click here for more information.

South West Water – their Water Care tariff could reduce residents’ water bills by 50% and applies when total household income after housing costs is less than £295, in addition to receiving means-tested benefits and having a meter or assessed charge. Water Sure requires you to be on a form of benefit, have a meter, three children under the age of 19 living at home, or someone in the home with a medical condition which requires extra water. Click here for more information.

Discretionary Housing Payment – these were introduced as welfare reform began and are still available where individuals are struggling to afford payments towards their rent account. In order to qualify, the individual must be in receipt of a benefit to help with their housing costs (either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit). Payments are administered by local authorities and more information is on each local authority’s website.

Money saving tips

Price tagThis site offers guidance based on your particular situation. Whether you’re worried about your future finances, you’ve lost your job, or are self-employed and can’t do your job: Money Navigator 

  • Discounts and offers - Help for Households
  • Money Helper website has some great step by step guides
  • Martin Lewis has many great ideas about saving money on his website here: Martin's Money Tips (
  • Barclays bank has some interesting money saving tips here: 10 great money saving tips | Best ways to save money | Barclays
  • Do you have an unnecessary subscriptions that you can cancel?
  • If you work from home are you claiming the £312 tax relief? Claim tax relief for your job expenses
  • When any renewals come through for home insurance, pet, car, etc make sure you compare with others as your current provider will not always give you the best deal. If you call them they will normally give you discount
  • If you do need to get a credit card shop around as they differ hugely in interest rates. Many offer a period where you can use it without paying interest if you need to buy a larger item
  • Sometimes an authorised overdraft is cheaper if you need to borrow short term. Speak to your bank around rates.
  • If you have enough space and time, growing your own vegetables is a good way to subsidise your weekly shop. Some items can be grown fairly quickly with little effort such as tomatoes, potatoes and onions. Click here for more information
  • Bulk cooking and freezing can save money
  • Community Fridges - Check out this link to see where the nearest community fridge is to you. There’s also some great articles on ways to save money on your food bills.
  • Your home broadband and TV packages can sometimes be re-negotiated and the below site will help.  After you have been with a provider for a period of time the costs do creep up so it’s worth checking for new deals for new customers: Compare our Best Broadband Packages -
  • Many local shops and restaurants now have a “too good to go” bag of goods which are coming to the end of shelf life – these are normally hugely discounted and this app advises where you can go locally.
  • If you are going to another area, check the prices before you go as some places are considerably cheaper than others and you could fill up in the way back. You can do that here.
  • These websites have money off codes for everyday essentials: MyVoucherCode, Groupon

Food Bargains             

Asda supermarket is providing winter warmer soup, roll and unlimited tea and coffee for just £1 this winter for the over 60s. From 1 November until the end of February in all their cafes. The offer is available all day, every day.

All major supermarkets reduce food either at the beginning or end of the day. Please see when for each supermarket below – these items can normally be frozen and are around their best before date.


Best Time to go



After 8pm or around 30 mins before smaller stores close.

The later in the evening you can shop the more chance a 50% off discount, or more.


After 7pm

There may be some discounts just after lunchtime but the majority of discount stickers get put on food around 7pm.


Try from around 5 pm for reductions of around 75% off.

Morrisons reduced items times can start from late morning, but again you will find the best reductions later in the evening when food can be sold for pennies.


Asda reduce to clear food in the morning

You’re looking for “whoops” yellow stickers.  They can have a second round of discounts from around 7 pm onwards but there won’t be much left after 9pm.



Either go first thing in the morning or later at night.


At around lunchtime, they reduce their food by 20p here and there, but around 30 minutes before the store closes you can see food drop to around 10p if you’re lucky.


Aldi starts to reduce their foods in the mornings.

Instead of a yellow sticker, look out for red 50% off stickers. When food is a day before its use by, they also add an additional 75% off stickers.

Aldi has also introduced discounts of 30% off imperfect packaged products.



Price reductions start early, so go and grab cheap food if you’re an early bird.


Lidl have orange stickers on their foods that get you a set 30% off the marked price.  If food doesn’t sell, final reductions often start around lunchtime onwards and stickers get replaced with green “Waste Not” 20p or 70p stickers!

Before lunchtime, you could find a whole create of cheap fruit and veg for £1.50 like mine.


Discounts applied all day

As it moves into the evening, you can get discounts for up to 75% off the original price.



After lunchtime

They then do a second batch of reductions on the food around two hours before the store is close where you can get around 50% off.


What to do if you're worried about energy bills

Socks and green mug image Your energy supplier can help if you are having difficulties with your gas and electric bills. You can get other grants and benefits too.  Your options will depend on your situation.

  • Help for Households has practical, helpful and up to date energy advice
  • Simple Energy Advice is a government website with an energy efficiency calculator and links to grants
  • There are some useful tips here from Money Helper and here from Ofgem.
  • The Household Support Grant has been extended, check your local authority website for links to it. You can get some help towards heating and lighting costs and any household expenses you are struggling with. 
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme supports low income and vulnerable households at a time when people are having to choose between food and heating.
  • Cold Weather Payment is hard to get in our part of the world but offers a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0 degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days.
  • Winter Fuel Payment should arrive automatically in bank accounts for those who are eligible. If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. 
  •  If you need to buy oil in Devon see if you can join to get a better price deal: Devon Oil Collective

The Westward Assurance

Talk it through image

If you fall behind with your rent payments because you are struggling financially due to the impact of the cost of living crisis, you will not lose your home so long as you are talking to us and working with us.

We just need you to ask us to get in touch by filling out the contact us form here. If you are struggling…don’t hesitate, do it now. Book that conversation! 

If you are a support service user, please arrange this through your support / housing worker. 

We helped hundreds of customers during the pandemic. We are here to help now.

So please call us on 0300 100 1010 or get in touch using the Contact Us form now.

If you think or know that your rent account is in arrears and you have not set up a manageable arrangement to pay it off with us, it is very important that you contact us. We will make sure that you feel you can manage the payments and that they are realistic for you.

Managing your money