Taking control of increasing expenses

There are different forms of support and help available for the increasing energy and food costs. You can also save on both by adjusting your own behaviour. 

Written by Tiina Parikka Photos by iStockphoto

The news is full of warnings about energy even running out temporarily. Everyone is now encouraged to take part in joint efforts to save energy. The most energy is spent on the heating of apartments, but you can save energy by paying attention to other everyday energy consumption habits as well – which will also reduce your electricity bill. 

The state also supports households in which the increasing electricity prices have an unreasonable adverse affect on finances. The methods used are a temporary tax credit for household expenses granted based on electricity invoices, and temporary electricity support granted for low-income households. The taxation of electricity will also be lowered as of the beginning of next year. 

Control your expenses with a budget calculator 

Monitoring your use of money is always useful. The Guarantee Foundation provides a free budget calculator (in Finnish) that you can use to calculate your monthly income and expenses. When planning your budget, you should give priority to necessities such as housing expenses, food, medications, your telephone and your internet connection, as well as necessary travel expenses. In addition to rent, housing expenses include the very electricity expenses discussed here and a water charge, if it is paid separately. 

You can also monitor your monthly use of money by keeping a record of your purchases. Sometimes the total amount of seemingly insignificant individual expenses can come as a surprise.  

You can also save on food 

Other expenses, particularly the price of food, have also increased significantly. You can also save quite a bit of money on food expenses by giving more careful thought to what you buy and comparing the prices of products. In particular, you should monitor the prices of food items that are consumed a lot in your household. 

Development Manager Emmi Tuovinen from the Martha Organisation, who are known for their frugality, compiled ways to save on food into five tips: do it yourself, plan in advance, avoid impulse purchases, emphasise vegetables in your food and favour seasonal ingredients. Tuovinen also encourages people to try foods outside their comfort zone, whereby any leftovers can be utilised better. 

If you purchase foods with a discount sticker, make sure that they will be eaten before their expiration date. There are also online stores that sell waste foods for affordable prices. 

The most important thing is not to be left alone with your financial troubles. If you do not have any close relatives or friends to share your worries with, there are communities such as the Hallitse rahojasi (‘Control Your Money’) peer support group on Facebook. 

Help with financial management 

You can find energy saving tips on the Motiva website

You can find tips for frugal cooking in Finnish on the Martha Organisation website

If you have difficulties with paying your rent, please contact Heka’s Lease Control Division without delay. You can agree on creating a payment plan.