Tools to fight the cost of living challenge

FOOD, UTILITIES, TRAVEL: Pick of some top apps and sites that can help ease the financial strain many of us are under, particularly in the UK
23 November 2022 by
Tools to fight the cost of living challenge
Open User Systems Ltd, Chris Mann

Since 2021 the term cost of living crisis has become all too familiar.
The fall in disposable incomes compared to previous years, coupled with the exponential rise in energy prices has caused much worry for the majority of us.

In September 2022, UK inflation reached 10.1%. A result of the Covid pandemic, energy costs and worldwide conflicts. 

Sadly this means for many there will be a struggle to afford the basic essentials, as we have seen a huge increase in dependency on food banks over recent years.

The ONS states that around 9 in 10 (89%) of adults in the UK report that their cost of living has increased. Mainly due to food prices, energy bills and the price of fuel.
In an effort to tackle this, people are cutting back on non-essentials such as car journeys and luxuries they would have previously purchased, which is not always possible.

With the energy prices not likely to fall anytime soon, the crisis seems here to stay. There are no magic wands to solve these issues and it would be insulting to suggest that the general public are not already doing their best to overcome adversity, but below are a few of tips on some technology solutions you might want to take a look into if you don't already make use of them.

They are either things i've used successfully myself, or have close family and friends successfully benefiting from them.


Save on groceries and other ingredients as well as meals.


Train tickets, fuel and parking.


Utilities (gas, electric, phone, internet).

Shopping and gifts

Birthday and Christmas presents, gifts and treats.


OLIO logoOLIO is a mobile app for food-sharing, which aims to reduce food waste. Simple to use, it connects you with those sharing surplus food. Food must be edible - raw, cooked, sealed or open.
Not only individuals but supermarkets and retailers also donate regularly. Started in UK 2015 but now available worldwide.
OLIO – The #1 Free Sharing App (

Too Good To Go 
is a service with an app that connects customers to restaurants and stores with surplus unsold food. Launched in 2015 it services Europe and North America.
Alongside OLIO it aims to help the environment by reducing waste and saving money for consumers.

ODDBOX is website that aims to reduce food waste and rescue wonky fruit and veg, which can be delivered directly to your door.They have direct relationships with growers, cutting out the supermarkets to provide a economical and sustainable way to keep costs down on your essential groceries.
Wonky Fruit & Veg | Deliciously Odd & Delivered to Your Door | Oddbox

Aldi and Lidl
 are both German supermarkets that broke through into the UK in the 90's but have in recently years become an undeniable necessity for many trying to keep their weekly food bills to a strict budget.
If you've never tried them, give it a go you will be pleasantly surprised at the quality and value. The middle aisle is also great for gifts and essential homewares (careful not to get too tempted by all the gadgets!)
ALDI UK | Homepage 
Lidl GB | Food, Non-Food, Wine and Recipes -


TrainPal is an app and website that aims to save you money on train tickets by optimising your route. It cleverly looks at options that would involve split tickets and helps you see if singles are cheaper than returns. 
Book Cheap Train Tickets, Bus and Coach Tickets in the UK & Europe Online | Trainpal ( 

is an international service for train tickets and railcards, with live updates of train times and station info. It's available as an app as well as website. Similarly to TrainPal, you can use it to compare the best options for travel and see what time / route is most cost effective.
Trainline : Search, Compare & Buy Cheap Train Tickets (

PetrolPrices has been around a long time in the UK as a website but now is available as an app also. It's unique aspect is that it compares prices of fuel across the country, aided by it's community to help you find the cheapest place to fill-up locally.

Parkopedia Parking
is both a website and app that is available worldwide and lets you find the best parking available. It provides price tariffs and details to help you find your way to the cheapest place to park easily.
Find Parking, Car Parks, Street Parking, Private Garages - Book Parking (


Comparison sites like,,, are all a great resource for finding the best deals on insurance and utilities. The energy crisis has made them less useful with regards gas/electricity lately but they are still invaluable for insurance, broadband and banking services as there is potential to save a lot annually.

is an app service that connects to your smart meter, providing more frequent readings and ability to track your usage in greater detail than possible using most in-home-devices. 
Useful if you are on off-peak tariffs or trying to locate high energy usage peaks in the home.
Loop | The leading FREE smart meter app

How could an article like this fail to mention ?
Run by the dedicated expert and enthusiast, Martin Lewis, the site has been an essential for many of us (me included) to not only save money on all types of utilities but also to check the reputation of a service that you consider using.
It is really an impartial and independent voice in a usually biased market. Anything you're looking as buying, check MSE first!

Shopping and Gifts

is an amazing, community driven website that allows users to vote on the best current deals available. Each deal is given a "temperature" rating, the hotter deals rise to the top. It's very honest and impartial, often allowing you to save as well as compare the best value products when shopping around. Great for Christmas and birthdays. TIP: If you are waiting to make a large purchase, setup alerts which can notify you immediately when they match a keyword you are hunting for.
hotukdeals - Your No.1 Deals & Discounts Community

is a browser extension and app that automatically searches for online coupons/vouchers for websites you are browsing. Founded in 2012 in the US, it works worldwide and was aquired by PayPal in 2020. This sparked anger from Amazon who saw it as a strong competition for themselves.
Automatic Coupons, Promo Codes, and Deals | Honey (


If this is has been useful to you, please share with others and suggest anything else to add to this article.

Tools to fight the cost of living challenge
Open User Systems Ltd, Chris Mann 23 November 2022
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