Published: 05/07/2022

How the cost of living crisis is changing communications

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The rising cost of living is causing a strain on families across the nation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been steadily rising since early 2021 and in March this year, it reached the highest recorded level since 1992. Inflation is still on the rise and not forecasted to decrease until 2023.

From fuel, to food, to energy prices, the cost of living is having a massive impact on households across the country and people are looking for new ways to keep costs down. Part of this change in living costs is also influencing the way we communicate, so people are constantly searching for new ways to stay connected without breaking the bank.

As we’ve moved away from landlines and texting in recent years, and with video calling and messaging apps becoming increasingly popular, it's interesting to see the trends in how we communicate in a post-covid world.

Not only has the past two years taught us how important it is to stay connected, but looking for new ways to keep costs down is having a massive impact on how we spend our money when it comes to communications.

Rising costs look to continue in coming months

The influence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has meant that economic forecasters expect inflation to stay high and for a longer period of time. One of the major sectors the invasion has impacted is the fuel economy and although chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p per litre fuel duty cut, there are reports the cut is not being passed on to drivers. With the cost of fuel accelerating faster than the cut was implemented, this well-meant scheme barely made a difference to the costs of running a car.

Food prices have risen exponentially, the number of people using food banks, such as the Trussell Trust, continues to increase and the coinciding rise of energy costs mean that more and more people are faced with hard-hitting decisions on whether to pay for heating or food.

It’s reported that the lowest income percentile of the country spends 13% of their income on energy compared to only 4% of those at the top. These numbers alone show just how much the cost of living crisis is affecting the most vulnerable, and in March it was reported that some food bank users were refusing root vegetables due to the cost of cooking.

Ofgem has been calculating and regulating tariffs to protect homeowners and tenants from the current inflated costs of energy with an energy price cap. This cap sets a limit on the prices suppliers can charge for gas and electricity. But these helpful schemes don't come close to addressing the problem when it comes to saving money in the long run. Despite the cap, energy customers saw an increase of 54% in April and as the cost of living continues to soar, people are looking for alternative ways to save money.

The pandemic’s influence on how we communicate

Pre-pandemic studies showed that mobile users were already switching from regular SMS texting, to popular messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. It was becoming obvious to mobile network providers just how much data usage was increasing, and many started to offer large or unlimited data contracts.

In recent years, the pandemic changed communications further. We experienced a massive shift in the way we live and work. With an increasing demand for flexibility, it's no wonder people are moving away from landline phones and texting, and looking for alternatives. The pandemic saw a boom in video communications which solidified the trending need for data. Fortunately, this shift in the way we communicate can actually increase savings without losing touch.

How Payzone can help bring your communication costs down

Pay-as-you-go phones allow you to pick and choose just how much you’re spending without the monthly fixed cost of a contracted phone. What’s better is these SIMs can be used in any phone, which means you can reduce the overall cost by purchasing a second hand device or reusing an old mobile.

Payzone retailers provide an easy way to top-up pay-as-you-go SIM cards in store either through E-vouchers or an E-top-up card. Payzone retailers can help you top-up on connectivity through multiple network providers, from Vodafone and O2, to giffgaff and Lycamobile.

Lycamobile has recently released a range of MTU ‘added value bundles’ that are suitable for every PAYG or SIM only customer’s needs whether they like to talk, text or roam.

Pushpakumara M W Arachchige from Lyca Mobile said:

“It’s really important to provide our customers with a variety of tariffs that suit their mobile usage, whatever their budget. With the MTU added value bundles, customers can manage their budgets better while staying connected to their loved ones for less.”

If you’ve found yourself in a tricky situation where you’re stuck for cash, switching your landline and broadband out for a PAYG smartphone can save you an extra bill each month. Smartphone users have reported 4G mobile networks are much faster than regular broadband speeds, and with the recently implemented 5G mobile speeds, using the internet on your phone is set to get even better.

Not only can you stream your favourite TV shows or order your grocery shopping from the palm of your hand - many smartphones also allow hotspotting so you can connect to a television or games console. Utilising your smartphone’s capabilities can keep your overall costs down without jeopardising your daily lifestyle.

If you’re a convenience store owner looking to help your customers make savings, joining Payzone can increase your footfall and help families stay connected during the cost of living crisis. Become part of our 24,000 strong network of Payzone retailers and help your customers save money and stay in touch. Have your store be the connection needed to keep your community online by providing pay-as-you-go SIM cards.

We want to help our customers during this critical time and whether it's for work or keeping in touch with loved ones, everyone deserves to stay connected.

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