Budgeting and Money Management Debt Advice Income Maximisation Fuel Poverty Help Opening Bank Accounts Help Finding Work Universal Credit

There is lots of support to help you back to work. Find out what service can help you the best.

Search the Advice Hub pages


Opening times   Citizens Advice opening times  

Benefits


Claiming the benefits that you are entitled to
If you have no income, already receiving state benefits or on a low salary, you may be missing out on benefits that you are entitled to.

You can get an estimate of what benefits you may be entitled to claim by visiting www.turn2us.org.uk. You can also use this site to see how your benefits may change if you were to find employment or change working hours.
Housing Benefit

Claiming help with your rent is changing. Most people now need to claim Universal Credit to help pay their rent.


People who still need to claim Housing Benefit include people:


  • In temporary accommodation
  • In some types of supported accommodation
  • If you receive a Severe Disability Premium within your main benefits income
  • If you (or any partner) is of Pension Credit Qualifying Age - check here if eligible you can choose to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit

Couples where one person is pension credit age and the other is working age, must claim Universal Credit in most cases.


If you are unsure which to claim, you should check before you apply to avoid loss of benefit or payment delays. In most cases once you make a claim for Universal Credit, you cannot claim 'legacy benefits' again.


Housing Benefit may be paid if:


  • You are liable to pay rent, or can be treated liable
  • Have savings below £16,000 (except if you get Pension Credit Guarantee Credit)

How much you receive will be dependent on your income and circumstances such as:


  • Your household make up
  • Your household income including benefits and pensions
  • Your savings and capital
  • How many bedrooms the law says your family needs
  • Whether you rent from a private landlord, a council or social landlord ie housing association

Please call the Advice Line on 029 2087 1071 or visit a Hub for help or information about claiming.


You can also claim online at: www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Benefits-and-Grants/Housing-Benefit/Pages/default.aspx


Council Tax

Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Discounts


Council Tax Reduction scheme


This is a payment made to your council tax account to reduce your bill if:


  • You are liable to pay council tax at your main address
  • Have savings below £16,000 (except if you get Pension Credit Guarantee Credit)


The amount you receive will depend upon:


  • Your household make up
  • Your household income including benefits and pensions
  • Your savings and capital

Please call the Advice Line on 029 2087 1071 or visit a Hub for help or information about claiming.

You can also claim online at: www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Benefits-and-Grants/Housing-Benefit/Pages/default.aspx



Council Tax Discounts


A council tax discount is a fixed amount taken off your bill if you fulfill certain criteria. You may be able to claim:


  • Single Person's Discount
  • Care Leaver's exemption
  • Student exemptions

There are several other exemptions and discounts available, please call C2C on 029 2087 2087, email ctax@cardiff.gov.uk or visit www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Council-tax/Council-Tax-reductions/Pages/Council-Tax-Reductions.aspx



Working Tax Credits
Most people can no longer make a new claim for Working Tax Credit and must claim Universal Credit.

  • The only exception is if you qualify for 'Severe Disability Premium' within a main benefit
  • If you have an existing Child Tax Credit claim, you can add Working Tax Credit to your existing Tax Credits claim

Please call the Advice Line on 029 2087 1071 or visit a Hub for help or information about claiming.

For further information visit www.gov.uk/claim-tax-credits
Child Tax Credits
Most people can no longer make a new claim for Child Tax Credit and must claim Universal Credit.

  • The only exception is if you qualify for 'Severe Disability Premium' within a main benefit
  • If you have an existing Working Tax Credit claim, you can add Child Tax Credit to your existing Tax Credits claim

Please call the Advice Line on 029 2087 1071 or visit a Hub for help or information about claiming.

For further information visit www.gov.uk/claim-tax-credits

Support for carers

Carer's Allowance


If you are a carer you may be able to get Carers Allowance to help you look after someone with substantial caring needs.

  • You don't have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.
  • You need to be aged 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for them.


Further information on Carers Allowance can be obtained by visiting www.gov.uk.

Carer's Allowance can affect other benefits you receive and your entitlement to Severe Disability Premium. Please take advice regarding this before you claim as it can affect whether you have to claim Universal Credit or the 'legacy benefits'.

Carer's Credit


If you're caring for someone for at least 20 hours a week, you could get Carer's Credit. This is a National Insurance credit that helps build your entitlement to the basic State Pension and additional State Pension. It makes sure there are no gaps in your National Insurance record. Please visit www.gov.uk for more information.

For further advice and support for carers and the people they care for please contact Carers UK on 0808 808 7777, Wednesday and Thursday, 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm alternatively you can visit their website at Carers UK.
Discretionary Assistance Fund
There are two ways that help can be provided through the Discretionary Assistance Fund.

Individual Assistance Payments

To qualify for this you must be receiving certain benefits and need help purchasing goods or service. For example a cooker, fridge or bed.

Emergency Assistance Payment

This is an emergency payment for anyone who has an immediate threat to health or well-being. You do not have to be on any benefits to receive this payment.

Full details and how to apply can be found at gov.wales.

There are certain requirements when claiming and someone may need to support your application. We can confirm the best way for you to make the application by calling us on 029 2087 1071.
Changes in your circumstances
If you have any change in your circumstances such as (this is list not exhaustive):

  • Starting or stopping work
  • Partner joins or leave household
  • Child is born
  • A child turns 16
  • Someone in the household becomes ill
  • Someone who was ill becomes well
  • Increases in your saving or capital


You must tell any offices (ie Cardiff Council, Department of Work and Pensions, Tax Credits Inland Revenue) who pay you benefits or claims straight away.

If you don't you may be overpaid and asked to pay the money back.
Changes that affect your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction can be reported at a Hub, via C2C on 029 2087 2087 or online.
Food Benefits and Schemes

Free School Meals

Primary and secondary school pupils may be eligible if their family receives:
  • Income Support
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit with an income less than £16,190
  • Universal Credit if the net household earnings is less than £7400

Families who get Working Tax Credit do not qualify.

Apply at www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Schools-and-learning/Financial-support/Free-School-meals/Pages/default.aspx or visit your local Hub.

Healthy Start Vouchers

These are weekly vouchers which can be spent on fruit, vegetables, cow's milk and some infant formulas for pregnant women and families with young children who are on certain benefits or low incomes. Vitamins are also available.
See www.healthystart.nhs.uk for further details.

Free Breakfast Clubs

All primary school children are eligible if their school runs a club. Contact your school for further details.

SHEP School Holiday Enrichment Programme (Food and Fun)

SHEP is a programme developed by the NHS and run in partnership with schools. Currently run over 12 days in the summer holiday, children can get breakfast and lunch as well as enrichment activities and sports based around healthy eating. Parents and siblings are able to attend one day per week for lunch and to take part. There is no fee, and it is not restricted to people in receipt of certain incomes.

Please contact your school to see if they are running the programme at your school.

Grants


Grants for people in need
There are several useful websites that list organisations which give grants to people in need. For example, some charities give grants to help people pay their bills or buy essential items. You can also search for charities which help people who are members, or ex-members of certain professions. Try these websites:



Some trade unions also give financial help to past and present members and their families. To find out if you can get help, contact your union.

More information on grants

Employment


Starting or going back to work
As well as a regular financial income working can have many advantages including a sense of accomplishment, stimulation, enjoyment, company and friendship.

If you are returning to work or wanting to start work for the first time there are a number of different organisations within Cardiff who can help with:

Into Work services are able to assist you with the above and more information about their service, locations and opening times can be found at www.intoworkcardiff.co.uk.

  • Choosing what type of employment you are best suited
  • How to find a job
  • Writing your CV
  • Preparation and help with interviews
  • Skills for your employment
  • Where English is not your first language


Universal Jobmatch is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) online service which is radically changing the way people look for and apply to jobs. It's one of the biggest changes to the labour market in 27 years.

It is open to all jobseekers, regardless of whether or not they are claiming a benefit.
For more information please visit www.gov.uk/jobsearch.

Further information can be found at HMRC Tax Credits.
Taking a second job
You might be able to take on a second job to help you over a difficult patch in your finances. You will need to think about the effects that having more than one job might have on your health. You will also need to think about any possible effects on any in-work benefits you may be claiming.

There may also be tax implications on your second job. Further information on this can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk.

Depending on your employer and the hours that you work you may wish to see if they can increase your hours or if overtime is available.
National minimum wage
The minimum wage and the Living Wage are the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers.

The rate per hour depends on your age and whether you're an apprentice - you must be at least school leaving age to get it. The rates change every April.

For details of the current minimum wage rate please visit www.gov.uk.
Pensions
If you are employed or self employed a pension is one way that you can increase your income in retirement. You can either make monthly or lump sum payments to a pension provider. They will send you annual statements, telling you how much your fund is worth.

The amount you get when you retire depends on how much you paid in, how well the fund's investments have done and how you decide for your retirement income to be paid, e.g. as lump sums or regular payments.

You can take up to 25% of the fund as a tax-free lump sum if you want to.

Further information can be found at www.gov.uk.
Tax and National Insurance
Make sure you're paying the right amount of tax and national insurance this is important to do especially if you have more than one job.

For more information about whether you're paying the right amount of tax please go to www.hmrc.gov.uk.

You can get help to check whether you're paying the right tax or national insurance from an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To find your nearest CAB, including those which can give advice by email, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

You can get information about how to claim a refund of any income tax you've overpaid from HM Revenue and Income website at www.hmrc.gov.uk.

As well as tax and national insurance, your employer may be deducting other money from your wages. You should check to make sure the right amount is being deducted.

Other deductions your employer might make include:

Payments under a court order
This might be, for example, under an attachment of earnings order to repay a debt such as a bank loan or rent arrears. You may be able to apply to the court to have the amount reduced.

Repayment of a student loan
If your total pay during the year is below the threshold set by the Government, you may be able to claim a refund of any deductions made.
Statutory Sick Pay
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid to employees who are unable to work because of illness. SSP is paid at the same time and in the same way as you would be paid wages for the same period.

The employer is responsible for paying SSP to employees who meet certain qualifying conditions. They also need to record any SSP they pay to an employee on a form P11 Deductions Working Sheet - or equivalent payroll record.

For more information and an online calculator please visit www.gov.uk.
Statutory Maternity Pay
If you are an employee and expecting a baby, you may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). This replaces her normal earnings to help you take time off around the time of the birth. You also have a statutory right to a minimum amount of maternity leave.

Whether you will receive SMP as an expectant employee depends on how long you have worked for and how much you earn. You will have to provide your employer with evidence of when the baby's due and give them notice of when you want them to start paying your SMP.

Payments of SMP count as earnings. Your employer will deduct tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from them in the usual way.

For more information and a SMP calculator please visit www.hmrc.gov.uk.
Your rights as an employee
If you are currently in employment and have concerns or wish to find out more information regarding your legal rights as an employee the Citizen Advice Bureau provide a wealth of information on their website.

Please visit: www.adviceguide.org.uk.
Trade Unions
A trade union is an organisation made up with members who are usually workers or employees. It looks after their interests at work by doing things like:

  • Negotiating agreements with employers on pay and conditions
  • Discussing big changes like large scale redundancy
  • Discussing members' concerns with employers
  • Going with members to disciplinary and grievance meetings


For further information on Trade Unions and how to join one, go to www.gov.uk.

For a list of existing Trade Unions please visit www.certoffice.org.
Discrimination
Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief/non-belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation


You can get more information regarding discrimination and your rights by going to www.gov.uk or Diverse Cymru.
Starting your own business
If you're thinking of starting up a business, you'll first need to come up with a realistic idea that you can turn into a product or service

The Into Work Advice Service can help with information about becoming self-employed and run events and pop up business schools. For more details please see www.intoworkcardiff.co.uk or contact them via the Advice Line on 029 2087 1071.

Find local support, including help with developing business ideas, on the National Enterprise Network website. National Enterprise Network.

More information can be found at www.gov.uk.
Paternity Pay and Leave
If your partner is expecting a baby you might be eligible for:
  • 1 or 2 weeks paid paternity leave
  • Paternity pay
  • Shared parental leave

See www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave.

Education


Further Education
You may wish to look at gaining extra qualifications or work related training. Financial assistance may be available to help with the costs of doing your course. You may also qualify for help with childcare and transport.

More information on this can be obtained from the Welsh Government website at www.wales.gov.uk.

Housing


Downsizing to a smaller home
If you live in a Council or Housing Association home and wish to reduce your property size, either to decrease your rental liability or move to a more suitable home assistance may be available:

  • Priority Downsizing List
  • Swapping or exchanging your home with another tenant
  • Homes with disabled adaptations


If you are affected by Welfare Reform you may also be able to receive:

  • Help with removal costs
  • Help setting up your new home in the form of a disturbance payment
  • If you rent privately you may to get assistance with your rent and bond in advance


Renting out a room
Have you thought about letting out a room in your home to a boarder or lodger? If you own your property and you pay income tax, you could get up to £4,250 tax-free under the Rent a Room scheme.

You may need to think about whether increasing your income in this way would affect your entitlement to benefits. You may also need to get permission from your landlord or mortgage lender and update your household insurance.

There are other advantages and disadvantages to the scheme that you may need to think about. For more information, in England, Wales and Scotland visit the Directgov website.
Charging an adult child or non dependant rent
You may wish to ask an adult child or non-dependents you may have living with for financial towards the expense of theme being in the property.

You may wish to consider before sitting down and discussing it with them:

  • The reasons why you want your them to pay rent. Helping them understand your rationale and intent will make it easier to accept.
  • The amount of rent you intend to charge and what this is based upon. Don't forget to take any existing financial obligations they may have into account before setting a monthly amount. This is new territory for you and them; keeping the amount reasonable will make it easier for them to adjust to.
  • Decide together when they will need to start paying you rent. Working with them will give them time to think it through and make it easier to accept.
  • What you intend to do with the rent they pay you. Some parents need these funds to offset household expenses; others set the funds aside for their children so they have money on hand to move out on their own later. Whatever your intentions, be open and honest with them.
Discretionary housing payments
For information please visit the Cardiff Council website.
Welfare Reform

Changes to the benefits system have been ongoing since 2012. Several changes have been made which affect the amount of money you can receive.


Bedroom Tax - Social sector size criteria or 'Bedroom tax' can affect people living in Council or Social housing. It restricts the amount of Housing Benefit, or Housing element of Universal Credit that you can receive.


There are some exemptions for people who need an overnight carer, or who cannot share a bedroom.


For more information please go to: www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit/renting-from-local-authority-or-housing-association for Universal Credit or www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Benefits-and-Grants/Housing-Benefit/Bedroom-tax/Pages/default.aspx for Housing Benefit claims.


Benefit Cap - This limits the total amount of benefits you are able to receive. Some people are exempt from the cap.


For further information on who is affected and how we can help you please see: www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Benefits-and-Grants/Housing-Benefit/Benefit-Cap/Pages/Benefit-Cap.aspx


Local Housing Allowance - If you rent from a private landlord, the amount of rent that is taken into account for housing benefit or universal credit is restricted. It depends on how many bedrooms the law says your family needs, and what the government says is a reasonable rent for a property of that size.


For further information please see: www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit/renting-from-private-landlord for Universal Credit or


www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Benefits-and-Grants/Housing-Benefit/How-Housing-Benefit-is-worked-out/Pages/default.aspx for Housing Benefit



Children, young people and students


If you have school-age children, you may be able to get financial help for things like school meals, clothing and travel costs. This will depend on your financial circumstances
If you live apart from the other parent of your child, you should check you're getting all the child support and maintenance you're entitled to.

Financial support is available for some young people, for example, to:

  • Help with the costs of learning or training
  • Provide additional help for someone in a low-paid job
  • Support someone who is looking for a job or course or is caring for someone else.


Young people continuing in education after the age of 16 may be entitled to an education maintenance allowance to help pay for books, travel and materials.


Support and maintenance from non-resident parents
Where parents live apart, child maintenance is the regular financial support paid by the parent who is not living with the children to the parent who is the main day to day carer.

The Government believes that families themselves are best placed to determine what arrangements will work best for them. Evidence suggests that this is better for the children affected.

The Government wants to encourage and support parents to:

  • Fulfil their responsibilities as parents by continuing their involvement in their children's lives and through paying child maintenance
  • Make family-based arrangements wherever possible rather than relying on government services to step in and administer arrangements


If you wish to look at the amounts you should receive or expect to pay please look at the online calculator.
Cardiff Family Information Service
The Family Information Service (FIS) is a free information and advice service for ALL parents/carers of those aged between 0-19 and the professionals who work with them.

FIS are there to provide you with information, assistance and advice to help you find and choose:

  • Registered Childcare (childminders, nurseries, playgroups, creches, breakfast / after school clubs)
  • Unregistered Childcare (holiday / sport clubs, parent and toddler groups, nannies)
  • Children and young people's Activities
  • Family Support Organisations


FIS also provide information on:

  • Help with the costs of childcare
  • Careers in childcare
  • Childcare training


The FIS is your ideal starting point if you have any questions regarding support for your family. Cardiff FIS will be able to provide you with information tailored to your individual needs... so call the Family Information Service (FIS) first.


Tel: 029 2035 1700
Email fis@cardiff.gov.uk
www.childcareincardiff.info
Facebook page

Selling your belongings


If you own anything you don't want anymore, you could sell it to raise money. Places where you could do this include:

  • A car boot sale
  • In a garage sale
  • On an internet auction sites
  • Advertising in a local shop window or newspaper.


When you give a description of the item you're selling, it must be accurate. You should read any terms and conditions and be especially careful if you're selling over the internet.



Making the most of your money


Childcare
There are many different schemes offering help towards childcare costs. For example if you receive Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits you may be entitled to help with your childcare costs. There is also help available if you aren't claiming benefits.

To see which schemes you may be eligible for please visit www.gov.uk.

For further details of support for families and childcare in Cardiff, please see: www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Schools-and-learning/Early-years-and-child-care/Pages/default.aspx.

Childcare in the school holidays
Some schools run the School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP) called Food and Fun.

Discretionary Learner Support
If you're 20 or over and on a further education course you may be able to get Discretionary Learner Support to pay for childcare. Each college has its own scheme so contact the college direct to find out more.


Childcare Grant
If you're in full-time higher education you can apply for a Childcare Grant to pay for childcare costs for children under 15, or under 17 if they have special needs.


Care to Learn
Care to Learn payments go direct to your childcare provider to pay for childcare costs. You may be able to get Care to Learn if you're under 20 and caring for your own child.

Further information on support while you study can be found at www.gov.uk.


Students with Dependant Children
If you are a full time student with dependant children you can apply for a Childcare Grant through Student Finance Wales. This grant is dependant on your University course, your income and that of your partner and any other dependants.

More information can be found on the Student Finance Wales website: www.studentfinancewales.co.uk.

Funding for school
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
The Welsh Assembly Government has introduced a new student support scheme, the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which started in 2009/10. Young people from low income households and who are continuing in further education can get financial help and bonuses.

There are four main things that determine if you can get EMA:

  • Your date of birth
  • Your course
  • Your household income
  • Your nationality and residency status


You don't need to study in Wales to get EMA. As long as you live in Wales and your school/college is participating in the scheme, you can apply for EMA.

Courses that allow you to get EMA are:

  • GCSEs
  • A or AS levels
  • BTEC, GNVQ, NVQ courses
  • Basic Skills courses


Courses must last at least 10 weeks.

Assembly Learning Grant (ALG)
ALG (FE) is for students aged 19 or over who are studying a course of Further Education at college. If you're eligible, you could get up to £1,500 a year.

There are lots of courses you can do and get ALG (FE) such as:

  • GCSEs
  • A or AS levels
  • BTEC, GNVQ, NVQ courses
  • Basic Skills courses


Your course must be 'eligible' for ALG (FE) support. Your college can tell you if the course you want to do is eligible.

Additionally, if you have previously received ALG (FE) while studying on a course that was at the same level (or higher) as the course you want to apply for now, you will not be eligible for ALG (FE) in the current academic year.

Visit Student Finance Wales for further information regarding Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and Assembly Learning Grant (ALG).


Students with Adult Dependants
You may be eligible for extra money if you have an adult who is financially dependant on you. This Student Finance Wales grant is dependant on your University course, your income and that of your partner and any other dependants.

More information can be found on the Student Finance Wales website: Student Finance Wales

Students with Disabilities
Disabled Students' Allowances can help to pay for extra costs when studying, as a result of a disability. The amount you can claim does not depend on your income, or that of your parents or partner. You will have to attend a Disabled Students' Allowance needs assessment to determine the help required to complete your course.

More information can be found on the Student Finance Wales website.

Free School Meals
Please see Food benefits section.

If you receive Working Tax Credit you will not be entitled to Free School Meals for your child even if you also receive one of the incomes listed above.

To contact Free School Meals

By Phone: 029 20872873
By Post: Benefits Section, FREEPOST CF429, PO Box 6000, Cardiff, CF11 0WZ
By Fax: 029 20877034
By Email: Freeschoolmeals@cardiff.gov.uk


Free Milk
Free milk is only supplied to the following pupils:

  • All children under five
  • Children under the age of seven who would normally be entitled to free meals
  • All pupils in Key Stage 1



Free School Uniform
This is now called Pupil Development Grant.


Visit Uniform Exchange Events
Many schools or parent committees hold uniform exchange events a few weeks before the start of the school term. Parents donate items of uniform that kids have outgrown or no longer have a use for. Keep an eye on newsletters, school emails and school websites for details of uniform exchanges. If your child's school does not currently hold such events, be sure to get in touch with the head teacher to suggest it.


Take a Trip to the Supermarket
Some of the lowest priced school uniform items are to be found at the supermarket. Large, out of town supermarkets are the best ones to try. Pick up cheap shirts and buy socks in bulk. Sewing a school badge onto a bargain blazer will be cheaper than buying a finished blazer from a school outfitter. Be sure to choose items carefully, though, to avoid costly mistakes and potential embarrassment. For example, check uniform regulations to ensure that the style of skirt sold in the local supermarket complies with school guidelines. Take care to pick items in the correct colours, too. A blue blazer won't go down well if the school insist upon navy.


Free School Travel
Pupils are entitled to free school transport only if they are:
Over the statutory school starting age and under 11 (Primary aged), living over two miles from the nearest appropriate catchment school for their home address.

Secondary age and under the statutory school leaving age of 16, living over three miles from the nearest appropriate catchment school for their home address.

Pupils who qualify for free transport will be able to use contracted school buses, or will be given a free bus pass, which can be used on local commercial bus routes. Distances are measured via the shortest walking route to the nearest appropriate school and pupils must be of statutory school age to qualify.

Tel: 029 2087 2808
Website: www.cardiff.gov.uk/schools
Pupil Development Grant (Formerly School Uniform Grant)
Pupil Development Grant is available to assist families on a low income to buy school uniform, sports kit, uniform for enrichment activities (ie cubs, brownies, martial arts uniforms), school bags, stationery etc. Please note IT equipment is excluded from this grant. The grant is available to pupils entering:
  • Reception class or Year 3 of a maintained primary school
  • Year 7 or Year 10 of a maintained secondary school
  • In Reception, Year 3, Year 7, Year 10 or equivalent in a special school, special needs resource base or a pupil referral unit


For details of who qualifies for this grant and details of how to claim, please visit: www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Schools-and-learning/Financial-support/pupil-development-grant/Pages/default.aspx.

Spending less on food


Wastage and meal planners
Food wastage costs you money. As a country we throw away from our homes 7.2 million tons of food every year, the majority of which could have been eaten.

Meal planners also help you plan your meals and buy what you need to reduce costs and limit wastage.
Rural Regeneration Unit - Food Cooperative
The Rural Regeneration Unit has set up food cooperatives around Wales. A food co-op is a simple system through which customers access fresh fruit, salad and vegetables on a weekly basis at wholesale prices. Local produce is accessed as much as possible, quality and price permitting.

Some farmers supply direct through food co-ops. The co-ops provide 'bags' of fruit, vegetables or salad to customers at a fixed price. The supplier chooses the selection of fruit and vegetables according to what is in season and what offers best value for money that particular week. The supplier delivers the produce, in bulk, to the co-op. Customers order and pay in advance so there is no wastage. The co-op makes no profit and all the money taken goes directly to the supplier. Cash is paid on delivery.

The Rural Regeneration Unit has helped set up and support approx 300 food co-ops across Wales and it is expected that this number will continue to increase.
To find your local Food Cooperative visit Food Cooperative.
Cardiff Food Bank
Cardiff Foodbank was launched in 2009 as a franchise of the Trussell Trust, and is part of the National Foodbank Network. It is a project to help and support those suffering financial hardship and who are facing the reality of being unable to feed themselves or their families.

Food is donated by individuals, schools, businesses and churches and is sorted and stored for future use in the Warehouse in Ely. Front line professional care workers such as health visitors, charities, church pastoral workers social services, etc issue clients vouchers. Clients can exchange vouchers for 3 days of nutritionally balanced emergency food.

Clients collect food from the distribution centres across the City where they find a safe place to chat over a hot drink and snack and receive signposting to a range of support services. www.cardifffoodbank.co.uk.


Spending less on clothing and goods


Freecycle
The Freecycle Network is made up of 5,094 groups with 9,309,384 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely not for-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Membership is free, and everything posted must be FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages. To view the items being given away or sought in Cardiff, you must be a member of the local group.

To find your local Freecycle group, please go to www.freecycle.org.
Voucher codes
There are many groups that offer free voucher codes for deals and free goods.

www.groupon.co.uk

www.vouchercloud.com
Car boot sales
Car boot Sales and markets are held around Cardiff all year round. Find a bargain from sellers' unwanted and disused goods and save yourself a fortune! Always check with the venues that these events are still running as car boot sales and markets can be seasonal.
Charity shops
Charity shops are a great opportunity to recycle unwanted goods. If you are living on a budget you can pick up some bargains at your local charity shops.

If you are looking for specific items then you are unlikely to have much luck but if you are looking for general items such as clothing or kitchen wares then they are a great source of discounted, unwanted and sometimes unused goods.
Online Cashback
Cashback allows you to save money when you buy things online. When you purchase an item through a cashback site, they earn a commission and pass this on to you, this allows you to get money back and save on your shopping.

When you next need to shop online check a free to join cashback site like www.TopCashback.co.uk (or use the TopCashback App) to see if you could save money. TopCashback offers 100% of the commission back and there is even cashback you can earn without buying anything.

Travel


Public transport
If you use public transport there are ways that you can reduce your travel costs.

Journeys that you do on a daily basis usually work out cheaper if you buy a weekly of monthly ticket instead of one on a daily basis.

Buy a Family Ticket this should work out cheaper than individual tickets.

Instead of paying on the day plan longer journeys in advance. Travel companies and hotels may offer Advance Purchase Rates. If your plans change however they may have different terms and conditions with regards to your right to cancel. Hotels do not make money on empty rooms and grabbing a late deal may work out cheaper again.

Use the internet to research your costs as there are plenty of comparison websites there to help.
Reduce your petrol/diesel costs
Fuel consumption has a lot to do with the car you buy, but whatever you drive there are things you can do to save money and reduce your petrol usage.

There are many things that you can do to increase the efficiency of your vehicle such as:

  • Ensure that your tires are properly inflated
  • Take out any extra weight from the vehicle
  • Take off roof racks and boxes to reduce wind resistance

There are however many more things that you can do, search 'How to Use Less Petrol' online.

Before you buy petrol try websites like www.petrolprices.com. You may need to register with them they show the cheapest prices in the petrol station around you (Prices are within one or two days old).

There are also applications you can download for your smart phone from your app store.
Pedal Power Cardiff
Pedal Power is the working name of The Friends of Pedal Power Project. They are a registered not for profit charity whose mission is 'to make cycling accessible to all'.

Pedal Power Cardiff are situated at two locations within Cardiff and offer an extensive range of different cycles for hire from standard bikes and tandems to specially designed tricycles for all abilities and ages.

Pedal Power Cardiff reconditions bikes for resale. If you have an old bike that you no-longer use please bring it to one of the Pedal Power Centres. If you would like a bike but are on a modest budget then contact Pedal Power to see what they have for sale after reconditioning.

Pontcanna: 029 2039 0713
Cardiff Bay: 07775 616411
Email: info@cardiffpedalpower.org

Postal Address
Friends of Pedal Power Project Ltd
Off Dogo Street
Cardiff
CF11 9JJ

Reducing your energy bills


For information on how to reduce your energy bills please see the Fuel Poverty page.