Six big money changes happening in October – how it affects your finances

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OCTOBER is a big month for your finances, from energy bill hikes to the £400 energy bill rebate – here’s how six changes will affect you.

You’ll want to get clued up on the major dates, because this month millions of households across the country will get help for energy bills.

Here’s all the major money changes you need to know about this October

While other changes will hit your bank account – we explain all you need to know.

October 1 – energy bill hikes

Energy bills will jump from £1,971 to £2,500 a year for the typical household from October 1 under the government’s energy price guarantee.

It has been put in place to freeze energy bills for two years, which were set to rocket to £3,549 this winter.

It will save households £1,000, the government claims.

The energy price guarantee replaces the energy price cap, which is reviewed by Ofgem.

The energy regulator was set to review the price cap twice as often – which would have seen energy price rises passed onto customers faster – before the government replaced it with the energy price guarantee.

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, here’s how to get help and support, including grants and government schemes.

Households have also been urged to take a meter reading ahead of the price rise from October 1.

By taking meter readings, it will ensure you are billed correctly for your usage up until now ahead of the price rise.

From October 1 – £400 energy bill discount

Over 29 million households are eligible for a £400 energy bill discount from October.

The help was announced in the former Chancellor’s mini cost of living budget in May.

The discount will be automatic and will be made up of six instalments, starting from October.

It’s up to individual energy suppliers to determine how their customers are paid.

British Gas, EDF Energy, Ovo Energy and Scottish Power will pay the discount into customer bank accounts for those paying their bills by direct debit.

Bulb, E.ON and E.ON Next, Shell Energy, Octopus Energy, So Energy, Utilita and Utility Warehouse will instead knock the money off customers’ bills.

Those on credit meters and smart prepayment meters will be paid the £400 discount automatically over a six month period.

From October 1 – Warm Home Discount letters sent out

Millions of households are in line to get a £150 discount off their energy bills between December and March 2023 under the Warm Home Discount scheme.

You’ll be sent a letter about the scheme in October if you qualify for the help.

In previous years the cash was split across four payments – giving customers a £37 discount off their bills each month from December to March.

The way in which you’ll be paid this year will be confirmed by your energy supplier in due course.

You’ll be eligible for the automatic discount if you received any of the following benefits up to August 21 this year:

  • Income support
  • Income based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance
  • Housing benefit
  • Universal credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credits
  • Pension credit guaranteed
  • Pension credit savings credit

Payments for the £150 Warm Home Discount scheme will likely begin from December.

October 5 – Register for self-assessment tax return

If you need to complete a tax return for the 2021/22 tax year, you need to let HMRC know by October 5.

To do this, you’ll need to register for a self assessment tax return.

To register for self-assessment, visit the GOV.UK website and complete the identification process.

You’ll then be sent an activation code in the post, which can take 10 days in the UK, or 21 days if you’re abroad.

Once the code arrives, you need to activate the account within 28 days, otherwise it will expire and you’ll need to request another one.

The deadline for paper self-assessment tax returns is on October 30, 2022 – so you’ll want to fill yours out before this point.

For online tax returns, the deadline is January 31, 2023.

If you need help with your return, visit the GOV.UK website or call the helpline on 0300 200 3310.

Read our handy explainer here for more information on how to do a tax return.

October 19 – Latest inflation rates

The latest inflation rates will be released on October 19.

Inflation is what goods and services are worth in a country – so if it is higher, that means everyday essentials such as food are more expensive.

It means your money won’t go as far, and you’ll be paying more just to get by.

Inflation stands at 9.9% – down from 10.1% in July.

The Bank of England previously warned that inflation could reach 13% this year.

Soaring price of food, drinks clothing and footwear is driving rates up, the ONS said.

October 30 – Clocks change

Millions of us will get an extra hour in bed on October 30 when the clocks go back at 2am.

For many night shift workers, this means an extra hour of work – which could mean more pay.

Whether or not you need to work an extra hour will depend on how your employment contract is worded.

If it says that you have to work specific times, for example from 12am to 8am, you are likely to have to work the extra hour.

But if it states the number of hours you should work, for example an eight-hour shift, you should be allowed to finish an hour early.

If you’re one of the unlucky people who has to work the extra hour, whether you will get some extra cash depends on how you are usually paid.

If you’re paid by the hour, you should get some extra money for working longer.

But if you are salaried or paid a day rate, your company doesn’t have to pay you any more than usual.

The exception to this is if the extra hour pushes your equivalent hourly wage below the national minimum wage, which is £8.91 per hour for workers over 25.

To calculate this, take the amount you’re being paid for the shift and divide it by the number of hours you’ve worked.

If you’re asked to work extra for no pay, then double check to make sure you won’t be dipping below the minimum legal requirement.