How can disabled people reduce their costs?

Chris_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 689 Empowering
edited November 2016 in Everyday life

This week saw the release of a new report by the Extra Costs Commission, an independent inquiry set up to explore the additional costs faced by disabled people and their families.

The research found that on average, disabled people spend £550 a month on costs associated with their disability, such as buying specialist equipment. You can read more about this in our blog, or download the new report here.

The report found that one of the main reasons for these additional costs is that disabled people are under-served as consumers. But, it says, if disabled people and their families, disability organisations and others help to raise the profile of the so-called 'purple pound' (most notably, the £212bn spent by disabled households each year), much can be done to reduce the cost of living for disabled people.

The power of speaking out

One powerful example of this can be found in the story of Rita Kutt, whose four-year-old grandson Caleb has cerebral palsy. Unable to find affordable suitable clothing that fitted with his needs, Rita contacted Marks and Spencer to ask if they could make their popper vests a little bigger. "I chose them because they're a global company," she later commented, "surely if they were able to order products in mass then these would be priced lower”.

Fortunately the high street name not only listened to Rita's request, but went on to work with her, and with Scope, to develop something more suitable. Eventually, Marks and Spencer released a specialist yet affordable clothing range based on this work, including popper vests and sleepsuits. You can read more about Rita's success in her community guest post, written earlier this year.

We want to hear your ideas for reducing extra costs

This is just one example of how disabled people can leverage their considerable consumer power to help reduce extra costs and get a better deal on the products they need. Now we'd like to hear about your experiences and successes.

Are there times when you have been 'bold and loud' to make your voice heard as a consumer? What tips would you give to other disabled people to get businesses to think more about disabled consumers? Do you have any advice for reducing everyday extra costs? Let us know in the comments below.


  • MSmum99
    MSmum99 Community member Posts: 24 Contributor
    Keep transport costs down - Check if your Local authority offer a free bus pass for disabled people.  Check if there is a local community transport service in your area.  Request hospital transport for clinic visits.
  • MSmum99
    MSmum99 Community member Posts: 24 Contributor
    Look in high street stores/supermarkets for useful gadgets rather than buying from specialist shops. I've recently bought chunky microwave mugs and bowls and water bottles from supermarket which make cooking and eating easier for me.

  • desabled
    desabled Community member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited March 2017
    KEEP CARE COST CONTRIBUTIONS DOWN i HAVE TO PAY£300 PER MONTH CONTRIBUTING TO MY CARE A VERY HEFTY CHUNK and my care package is nit huge compared to many with care companies having to take on the minimum wage and the apprenticeships surcharge disabled people on fixed income will need a considerable increase from the DWP just to stay still figuratively speaking, as the con which is the change from DLA to pips becomes even more glaringly obvious
  • Waylay
    Waylay Community member, Scope Member Posts: 972 Trailblazing
    If you buy paracetamol and/or ibuprofen, you can buy much larger packages (96 pills, I believe) just by talking to the chemist. Much cheaper than continually buying 16 at a time!
  • sunflower23
    sunflower23 Community member Posts: 15 Connected
    you you can buy paranormal 96 in Superdrug  not sure of the cost sorry x
  • samantha21
    samantha21 Community member Posts: 64 Contributor
    Samantha 21 here.  Reply to MSmum99. Just an answer to what you posted about request hospital transport for clinic/hospital visits. I recently attended  a hospital appointment and there was one lady and also a man there and they were waiting for the hospital transport to get home, they had been waiting one and a half hours which is not good and I spoke to the receptionist and she said she knew it was not good but they were not well funded and transport was always slow, maybe more funding put into that would be a help. These people were going in the opposite direction to me so I could not take them but the receptionist told me I might not be insured to take hospital patients anyway. I do hope they got their transport as they were a little elderly.