The yearly average household cost for living expenses is a staggering £14,545, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Family spending in the UK: financial year ending 2017 survey. That includes the money we spend on accommodation, food, gas, electricity, water, running a car, phone and broadband.
What that figure doesn’t necessarily take into account is all the other regular expenditure that puts a dent in the household budget like transport, childcare, clothing, debt payments, insurances, holidays and dining out, to name a few!
It’s a known fact that poor financial wellbeing can impact employee health and contribute to higher stress and anxiety levels, which in turn can affect productivity. So, how could employers help to relieve some of the burden?
Here are our five top tips for supporting employees with their everyday living expenses.
1. Give them access to online discounts and cashback
Whether it’s two for one, 20 per cent off or buy one get one free from some of their favourite retailers, giving employees access to online discounts on an employee benefits/discounts platform, is a simple way for you to help them save on their everyday living costs. They could get cheaper car insurance, train tickets, utility bills, mobile phone and broadband packages just by checking out their discounts platform first.
Integrate a cashback scheme with the discounts and they have even more ways to save, by earning a percentage back on their purchases in real money. Often they can earn cashback on purchases they were going to make online or in a store just by registering their card on the platform. Cashback is then sent directly to their bank account
2. Don’t ignore the value of reloadable gift cards and prepaid debit cards
Reloadable gift cards work like normal gift cards, the difference is that employees can just keep reloading them with cash and take advantage of the discount on offer. So, if they put £100 on the gift card to go and do their weekly shopping in Sainsbury’s, they’d only pay £95. Employees can keep doing this over and over again. Another advantage is that gift cards can also be used with store sales and in-store promotions, so even more savings can be made by employees.
Of course, with most gift cards, you can only use it in the store that it’s meant for. Prepaid debit cards are a popular way of helping employees get a rebate on their regular spend, straight back to their card. Also, funds for prepaid debit cards can be loaded from an employee’s salary each month.
3. Introduce flexible benefits that will make a difference
Consider introducing a range of flexible benefits, or enhancing your existing range, that will specifically support employees additional everyday living expenses. There are lots of benefits that can help including: assisting people with their debt through a workplace loan scheme; providing ways to claim back on their routine healthcare costs with a health cash plan or dental insurance; or perhaps a car scheme that helps them manage their motoring costs all for one monthly amount.
For some benefits offered through salary sacrifice, there may be additional tax and National Insurance savings to be made, which will all help to increase the amount of pay in the employee’s pocket each month. Plus in some cases employers will make savings too and, if you are feeling generous, you may choose to pass on some of those savings to your employees
4. Provide financial education
Provide your employees with workshops, hosted by experts, on how to manage their money better. Workshops could include learning about budgeting, managing relationships with credit card companies or how to apply for mortgages successfully.
Also, hook them into the Money Advice Service, set up by government, which gives free and impartial money advice. It tackles a broad range of subjects from how to save money on your household bills, to help with mortgages and taking control of debt
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
If you don’t tell employees what’s available, how will they know you can support them to save money on their everyday living expenses. Make good use of online and offline comms and make sure you think about all of your possible communication channels.
Don’t just leave comms as a once only event with an email and a few posters. Keep the messages going all year round. Relay stories from employees who have made substantial savings. The key is to be consistent.
If you help your employees save even just 10 per cent on average over the year, based on the ONS figures, that would amount to just under £1,500. That could go a long way to alleviating some of the anxiety and stress around everyday living expenses.
Talk to us today to find out how we can give you all the tools you need to help your employees cut their everyday living expenses.