MILLIONS of households will be hit with a tidal wave of bill increases in April.
You’ve probably already noticed your money isn’t going as far as it used to, with soaring inflation pushing up food prices and a jump in energy bills.
But in April households will be hit by further pain, as a planned National Insurance and income tax band freeze kicks in.
It means the average household will be £600 worse off a year.
That’s why The Sun has pulled together a team of experts from our Squeeze Team to help support you.
Today we are taking phone calls and emails from you.
We want to hear from you about your bill increases and worries about your finances.
Each week we will focus on a different bill or financial topic and help you to navigate the cost of living crisis.
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We will also continue to fight for help from the government, as well as calling out companies for rising bills unnecessarily or unfairly.
You can email us on [email protected], call on 0800 028 1978 or write to: 1 London Bridge St, London, SE1 1GF.
The phone lines will be open today between 8am and 8pm.
Below, we take a look at some of the rising costs and I share my advice on what you can do now.
Energy bills are set to increase by £700 when the price cap is reviewed in April and some experts predict bills will rise to £2,000 a year.
The huge rise is due to spikes in wholesale prices and almost 30 suppliers going bust in the last year.
Start planning how you will pay for the rise. Make sure you apply for help like the Cold Weather Payments or Warm Home Discount if you’re eligible.
Ask your supplier for help if you’re struggling. Check if your local council is offering cash support.
TV, broadband, phone and mobile
Virgin Media has already announced a £56 a year rise from April. Other telecoms firms are likely to follow with their annual rises.
If you’re unhappy with the rise then you might be able to cancel your contract. Take time to review your bills. Can you ditch some of the add-ons or subscriptions?
Use websites like uswitch.com and comparethemarket to find cheaper deals. Try haggling with your supplier to cut your costs now.
Council Tax bills are set to rise by upto 4% in some areas. The rise will vary based on where you live. Your local council should be able to tell you if they’ve set the rates for next year.
Save: Potentially £1,000s
Are you paying the right tax band? Thousands are overpaying – you may be able to claim back a refund. Check thesun.co.uk/ctax for advice.
Check with your local council whether you can get a discount or help with your bills if you’re struggling to pay them.
Water bills could also go up in April. An announcement on the rates for this year is imminent.. You can’t choose who your supplier is – but there still might be a way to save money.
Could you save money with a water meter? The general rule is that if you have more bedrooms in your house than people then you could save. Use ccwater.org.uk/watermetercalculator to check.
Rail fares are going up by 3.8% in March. It means an annual train ticket from Oxford to London will go up by £245 to £6,700. While a season ticket from Macclesfield to Manchester will jump by £84 to £2,284 a year.
If your annual season ticket is up for renewal before March then make sure you renew. Book up to 12 weeks in advance to get the cheapest ticket.
Inflation added £15 to shopping bills in December as the rate hit 3.5%. We are expecting the next set of numbers on Wednesday and it’s highly likely to be bad news for our wallets.
Start by meal planning to make the most of your food. Check for vouchers and discounts before going to the supermarket. Swap expensive big name products for cheaper own-brand versions.
OUR expanded Squeeze Team are here to help you. Whether you’re worried about paying your bills, need to pay off debts or don’t know what to do with your pension, we want to hear from you today.
Call 0800 028 1978 or email [email protected]
Who is on our team of experts?
A money whizz from consumer group Which?, Gareth has been a journalist since 2007 and is a regular expert on TV and in print. He can help with all your consumer woes and offer tips for managing your money.
Romi founded PensionBee in 2014 to simplify pension saving in the UK. She can answer questions about how to prepare for retirement.
Laith has decades of experience in financial services and is a regular expert for the national press, TV and radio. A financial analyst at AJ Bell, you can ask him about investing.
Naomi set up award-winning money-saving website SkintDad.co.uk, along with her husband Ricky. Having previously cleared her own mountain of debt, Naomi can help you slash the cost of your supermarket shop and cut your everyday spending.
Marie is a partner in employment law at Langleys Solicitors. She can help with questions about your rights at work and what you’re entitled to if you’re made redundant.
Anna is a welfare benefits specialist at Turn2Us, a charity that helps those who have had life-changing events. She can help you understand Universal Credit and other benefits to make sure you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to.
Nick is an expert at mortgage broker Coreco. You can get his help with any concerns about rising home loan costs or getting onto the property ladder.
Richard is head of regulation at the comparison site uSwitch.com. He’s an expert in energy and personal finance. Ask him for help with soaring energy bills, broadband and other monthly payments.
Jonathan has been helping people with their debt problems for 28 years, working for Stepchange. Get his advice on how to get out of debt.
Jim is the man to turn to if you have any money problems relating to taxes. He is a tax partner at James Lee Associates.
Tara is head of consumer at The Sun and has all the knowledge and top tips on personal finance, from paying bills, to getting out of debt and the best ways to save money.
Leah is editor of Sun Savers. She’s an award winning journalist with 15 years’ experience of writing about money and property. Ask her about making your money go further, housing questions or how to deal with troublesome companies.
Tashema is a consumer champion at price comparison website energyhelpline.com. She can help you prepare for rising energy bills and learn to keep your costs down as much as possible.
Holly is the founder of Boring Money, a comparison website for savings and investments. She can give you tips on how to build a rainy day fund and save for your future.
Martyn is a consumer rights expert and campaigner, broadcaster, presenter. He’s the man to help with scams, refunds, complaints and hopeless customer service.
Mitch is an accountant at Fusion Consulting Group and regular commentator in the press. You can ask him about all your tax queries.
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