If you’re struggling with debt, or your paycheque isn’t meeting your monthly expenses, then there are probably a lot of different financial pressures competing for your attention. Bills, rent or mortgage payments, food for the table: these areas have to be your priorities, and that can mean you end up doing without in other key areas.

One important but often overlooked issue is appliance poverty. This means living without the kinds of white goods that most people would see as essentials – things like ovens and fridges.

The charity Turn2Us has uncovered the scale of appliance poverty through their recent #LivingWithout campaign. They surveyed people around the UK to find out what households are having to make do without. Here are some of the results:

  • 1.9 million are without a cooker
  • 2.8 million don’t have a freezer
  • 900,000 don’t have a fridge
  • 1.9 million are without a washing machine

Breaking the cycle

These items are typically cost several hundreds to buy, even when looking at the most basic model. Unfortunately, living without can help to create a vicious cycle: not having these appliances can make it difficult to cook cheap meals or lead to expensive trips down to the launderette.

Fortunately, there are several options that could help you break this cycle. We would recommend trying some of these if you’re currently unable to afford important appliances. Aside from making life easier and reducing some of your regular outgoings, it can give you back some control.

Search for grants

The turn2us website includes a grant search function, which allows you to look through different charitable grants and find one that you may be eligible for. You can input your personal circumstances, including location and age, but also more specific information such as your occupation or religion.

Different organisations will give out grants to people who fit specific criteria, which often relate to your situation (e.g. how much you earn, or whether you have a physical or mental health problem), but they can also focus on your background or heritage. There is no obligation for them to offer the money out equally: they set the criteria based on their own organisation’s goals or interests.

Money that you get from a grant is not repayable. This means that you aren’t expected to pay it back. However, it can only be used for the purpose that it’s given for. If you receive money to buy an appliance, you can’t use it for anything else.

Pick up a second-hand appliance

You can also find appliances for significantly discounted prices if you buy second hand. Looking at local buying and selling networks like freecycle or Facebook marketplace. It’s great to consider these options, however be careful to make sure that the item you’re buying is safe and useable before parting with any cash.

There is also the reuse network. Although they aren’t guaranteed to have the item you need available, it’s a more secure way to pick up used white goods for your home.