A hand holding a purse and a handful of coins.

Top 10 tips for saving money this winter

Published: 22 September 2023

We know cancer can be tough on your finances, and it can be even more difficult over the winter months. Here are our top 10 tips to help save money this winter.

Sam Valdez Digital Content Intern at Macmillan

1. Check what help is available to you

If you are affected by cancer, you may be entitled to various benefits to help with everyday living costs.

Our benefits and financial support information has more about different benefits and how to claim them. You can check what benefits you might be entitled to by using our online Benefits Calculator.

Some additional benefits are available to help over winter. These include:

2. Speak to our energy advisers

If you are worried about your energy bills, we are here to support you. Our energy advisers can:
  • help you access schemes
  • tell you which charity grants are available and how to apply
  • advise you on boiler schemes
  • help you deal with water companies.

Our energy advisers are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. To speak to an energy adviser, you can:

You can speak to the Macmillan Support Line team in your language. We have an interpreter service, just tell us, in English, the language you need when you call.

3. Heat your home efficiently

There are lots of ways you can warm up your home without turning the heating on.

Putting draught excluders by your doors, using radiator reflectors, and closing your curtains can help keep warm air in. It's also worth checking that furniture is not blocking your radiators.

The Energy Saving Trust has advice about draught-proofing your home.

4. Start batch cooking and meal planning

Batch cooking and freezing things like soups and stews is a really good way to save money. Not only does it reduce food waste, you'll also reduce the amount of energy you use by not cooking from scratch every day.

Meal planning is also a great way to save money on your weekly shop and stop impulse buying. Here are some tips to help you meal plan:

  1. Write a meal plan for the week. Think about what you enjoy, what will give you a balanced diet, and what you could cook in bulk. Some ingredients will work for multiple meals, so it could be cheaper to buy a larger pack - for example, mince you use in a spaghetti bolognese and a shepherd's pie.

  2. Make a list of the ingredients you will need. Think about when you need fresh fruit and veg. Don't buy them so early that they have gone rotten by the time you want to use them. 

  3. Make your shopping list and go shopping. How did it go? Did you save money? 

5. Reduce how much electricity you use

Here are a few things you can do to try and reduce the amount of electricity you use:

  • Switch to LED light bulbs. LED bulbs use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and are a lot more energy efficient than regular light bulbs.
  • Turn off things like televisions when you're not using them. Don't just leave them on standby.
  • Switch off lights when you leave a room.
  • When using your washing machine, use cycles at 30 degrees or cooler.
  • When boiling the kettle, only boil the amount of water you need.

6. Save water

There are also a few things you can do to reduce the amount of water you use:

  • Have showers instead of baths.
  • Make sure washing machines and dishwashers are full before you put them on.
  • Use a washing-up bowl, rather than cleaning dishes under a running tap.

7. Check you are getting the best deal

When it comes to things like car and home insurance, broadband and mobile phone, do you know if you're getting the best deal?

There are lots of price comparison websites you can use to compare the cost of different providers. Some of the most popular ones are:

8. Budget your days out

It might be getting colder, but that doesn't stop us wanting to go out and spend quality time with people. Days out don't have to break the bank. Here are some things you can do to keep costs down. 

Plan ahead

Set a budget for the day that you can stick to. It can be easy to go over budget, so think about taking out the cash you plan to spend, or creating a "days out pot" in your bank account.

Group discounts

Many places give discounts for families or groups. See if you can save money by booking as a group, or booking in advance.

Off-peak hours 

If you are using public transport, travel at off-peak times can be a lot cheaper. Tickets for theme parks, zoos, museums, and trips to the cinema can also be cheaper off-peak.

9. Break away from tradition

If you celebrate Christmas, the festive period can be an overwhelming time. If you are worried about the extra cost of gifts, here are some ideas to help you keep costs down.

Homemade gifts

Doing something crafty that you can personalise, or even baking something special can be a really lovely, sentimental and unique gift.

Secret Santa

If you spend Christmas with family or friends, you could suggest a Secret Santa to reduce the amount of gifts you need to buy. Secret Santa means everyone in the group is randomly assigned one person to buy a gift for. Online tools like Draw Names and Elfster can help you assign names.

Ask people what they would like

It can be easy to overspend on things people don't actually want or need. Asking people what they would like could give you some cheaper options, and make sure you spend your money on something they'll really value.

We have more about advice in our blog about Christmas and the cost of living.

10. See what childcare help is available

If you care for children who go to school, the school holidays can be an expensive time.

We have information on childcare, including services and charities that might be able to help with the costs of childcare, and childcare-related benefits you might be entitled to.

About our information

This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan's Digital Content Editor team and checked by Macmillan's Cancer Information team.

Learn more about our Digital Content Editors and how we produce our cancer information.

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How we can help

Macmillan Support Line
The Macmillan Support Line is a free and confidential phone service for people living and affected by cancer. If you need to talk, we'll listen.