Every aspect of our lives is affected by the cost-of-living crisis, from home expenses like food and energy, to our travel costs and everything in between. And we’re feeling the pinch even following Christmas. We’re all looking for ways to cut-back, and save what we can, when we can. Here, we share some of the best free apps to help you through these trying times.

Olio

Olio is an app-based community to connect you with your neighbours and local businesses to help reduce food waste. In these difficult times, it can help you to put food on the table. It’s quite wide-spread too it seems; on joining the app, I can see that there are 410 ‘Olio’s’ near me and you can extend the search further afield, though it does seem like things go very quickly. You will also find non-food items too; we found a shed, decorative plates, mugs, bracelets, 3D glasses and more.

If you have items you can’t make use of, or its due to expire before you get to it, you can list it on Olio. You could also become an Olio volunteer and work with local businesses to help distribute the food they have going to waste within the community.

Freecycle

The idea behind Freecycle is to stop things from ending up at landfill. All things listed must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. You simply create an account, sign up to a ‘town’ and search for the items you’re looking for (or simply browse what’s available); you can also list the items you can no longer make use of as long as it meets the core criteria. On Freecycle, you’ll find everything from appliances to textiles and everything in between.

Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a free community platform that wants to connect you with your neighbours and local town, including small businesses and non-profits. It can help you keep abreast of events, groups and support that is available to you in your local vicinity; with more warm hubs, food banks and other community support events becoming increasingly in demand, this community can help you find the services you need, when you need them most. It’s also an opportunity offer support to your neighbours by helping with shopping, small errands and even around the home.

Too Good to Go

It’s a simple concept: for food that doesn’t sell, but will go to waste, you can find it on the Too Good to Go app at a reduced price and often a big bag of food too. Big businesses like Toby Carvery, Starbucks, Pret, Greggs and supermarkets, like Morrisons, Co-Op, Spa, and Waitrose are all signed up. With just a quick look on the app (at lunch), you can get a magic bag from Pret for £5 (which will be a lucky dip of items you’d find in store), groceries bag from Morrisons for £3.09 (which could be fruit, veg, baked goods and/or cupboard items), and a magic breakfast bag from Toby Carvery (“expect to receive a selection from sausage, bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, baked beans, hashbrowns and tomatoes”) for £2.79. In addition to end of day sales, you can pre-order some items too.

Do you know of other platforms, organisations and support that could help someone else? Please let us know in the comments below and we’ll get this article updated.

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