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Coping with the cost of living crisis

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 The cost of living crisis has hit right where it hurts – at home and in business.

We’ve taken a look at some specialised health tech and apps which are designed to help us cope, emotionally and financially, through these difficult and uncertain times… 

Unlike previous hard times such as the recession of 2008, we’re using apps and smartphones for pretty much everything we do. Financial management, mental health support and even stress monitors are all, as a general rule, in our pockets as apps. So where do we turn when the going gets tough and we need support during a crisis? Not at all surprisingly, it’s towards technology. 

The cost of living crisis? There’s an app for that

Small business owner Andy Smith was really feeling the pinch from rising prices, and decided to set https://cutmycosts.site/ – where cost cutting tips could be crowdsourced and upvoted in a large online community. 

Speaking to Health Tech World, he said: “I’ve been feeling the pinch of rising prices since the start of last year. 

“From the skyrocketing price of sea containers to the quadrupling cost of cardboard, it was clear in the middle of 2021 that firms wouldn’t be able to absorb these price increases. 

“It was clear that inflation was going to become a real issue for consumers in 2022.”

Andy pointed out that the age of Google and information such as instant price comparisons have had an effect. He added: “Information asymmetry is decreasing, which can help everyone save more money. 

“For example, using a comparison site to quickly find a range of better broadband deals. Or finding out how to do basic home repairs on YouTube to save on costly tradesmen callout fees.

A problem shared through tech

“I’ve always been frugal and, for the most part, good with managing money. I was thinking about what I could do to share what I do and help others and came up with the idea for Cut my Costs. A simple site to crowdsource quick cost cutting tips. 

“Users can upvote their favourites, with the best tips rising to the top. 

“I find it fascinating seeing the tips that users put forward, some I’ve never even thought of myself, and hope that the site will help people through the cost of living crisis.”

FemTech & the cost of living crisis 

Femtech and female-aimed apps are no exception when it comes to tackling tough financial times. In fact, Scottish firm MyPeriod launched an app called PickupMyPeriod – listing places all over Scotland where free period products are available. 

The app, which was set up to tackle period poverty, has become a frontline smartphone solution for women who are struggling to pick up the bill for expensive sanitary items. 

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison launched the app virtually with pupils from St Paul’s High School in Glasgow.

Ms Robison said:“The app is a fantastic tool that will help everyone who wants to access free period products for themselves, a family member or friend to easily find them in many places across Scotland.

“I’m thankful for the support of local authorities in the implementation of access to free period products in Scotland. 

“Young women and girls have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs and I’m grateful to them for sharing their views.”

FinTech apps for financial help 

With consumers struggling to make ends meet, there has been a rise in FinTech apps to help people cope financially. 

Moneybox

Moneybox was set up to help people save up for property purchases, retirement or a rainy day. Its lifetime ISA account gained popularity for helping younger users save up for house deposits. Its useful features helps to relieve stress and pave the way for better financial opportunities for those who are hit by hard financial times. 

More about Moneybox 

Emma 

This FinTech app has been described as the consumer’s “financial best friend” – and works towards improving financial health though better planning and paying off bills. Advanced budget management is designed to reduce stress and anxiety in users and help them to feel more in control. 

More about Emma 

Soaring prices & “serious” mental health complications 

Dr. Charles Armitage, former NHS doctor and CEO and Founder of Florence, told us that he expects “serious physical and mental health complications” as a result of soaring prices. 

He said: “Nobody should have to choose between food and heating. We’re expecting the cost of living crisis to trigger serious physical and mental health complications upon the public sphere. 

“It isn’t just about the quality of food people consume, which could see obesity levels increase as rising food costs make it more challenging for those with stretched budgets to buy healthier food. 

“It’s also about the consequences of financial hardship on the risks of other conditions. 

“For example, people who are unable to afford to heat their homes leave themselves exposed to increased risk of certain diseases such as pneumonia.”

Apps for financial and emotional support 

  • Big White Wall Connects users with round-the-clock support from mental health professionals.
  • Sleepio An online sleep improvement programme based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBTi).
  • distrACT Gives you quick, easy and discreet access to info and advice on self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
  • SilverCloud An eight-week online course designed to help manage stress, anxiety and depression.

Wellness apps – the future of financial support

Kirck Allen, CEO of Kaloscope, a decentralised Web3 social media platform said: “Right now people are already using wellness apps, post COVID, to help them think differently or cope with situations and life in general. 

“The issue to really consider is social media platforms because they are centralised in nature.

“Web3.0 decentralised platforms are the future, because instead it allows the community to help regulate the content (or control it) and hence, when you think about it, is more ground for mental health and wellness.”

CEO Yaseen Rostom from the Incredible app said: “Two-thirds of Brits are worried their life goals won’t be reached because of the cost of living crisis.

“Most financial health apps focus on saving or investing however, there are more people in debt than those who have savings! Incredible is an app that helps people track and reduce the cost of personal debt.”

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