Take another look at your bills and you could save money for a family holiday, a new car or even that cute puppy!
If you’re looking at saving some money, then sitting down and looking at your current bills is a great place to start. It’s important to set time aside to have an in-depth look at what you are spending and how you can reduce these outgoings. Setting aside time will mean you will actually do this, rather than adding to a list of things that you should do, in the future. Remember, here we are looking at changing your finances, not your life. Nobody wants to give large companies half, or sometimes even the majority, of their wages each month.
Home phone, broadband bills and mobile phone bills
The best way to cut these bills is to look at a price comparison website to find cheaper deals and then call your supplier to simply ask directly for a better price; the worst they can say is no! This is the simplest and most direct way of reducing these bills. However, other ways you can decrease these bills include looking over your contact and ensuring it fits your needs; you don’t want to be charged extra for when you go over your limits. Regarding your broadband, you should take a look at your internet speed, check you are getting what you pay for and if you don’t need such a high speed, you can downgrade – saving you money. Top Tip: Look into buying a pay as you go Wi-Fi dongle and scrapping your internet bill altogether.
Many people prefer to use a mobile rather than a landline, therefore it’s important to ensure you know how to make the most out of your mobile phone bills. If your contract is coming to an end, you should look for the cheapest way of getting the latest handsets. To do this, again you should use comparison sites and negotiate a deal with different companies: some even offer cash back, free tablets or vouchers. Top Tip: Use Skype for long distance phone calls as it runs through the internet, not costing you a single penny.
Although you can’t switch your water supplier, there are lots of tips to help you save money each month:
1. Have a free water meter installed. It may be cheaper for you to pay for what you use rather than water rates. However, firstly you need to think about whether this is right for you as this could end up backfiring, depending on how much water you do use.
2. Reduce your baths and take a shower instead. Switch to a more efficient shower head and save money – there are plenty of water saving gadgets out there. According to The Money Saving Experts, “a quick shower uses far less than a long soak in the tub”.
3. Don’t waste water. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth and use a washing up bowl rather than keeping the tap running.
4. If you do have a water meter, ensure it doesn’t go up when you are not using any water. If it does, it means you have a leak somewhere – and that dripping tap won’t fix itself.
5. Finally, fill up your washing machine and dishwasher: there’s no point in washing a pan and a plate for half an hour. Save money and wash all your dishes at the end of the day. The same applies to your washing machine.
Gas and electric
Saving on your gas and electric bills is as easy as switching your energy supplier and tariff. More importantly, it can save you hundreds of pounds.
In addition, you can also save money by switching to monthly direct debits, use draught excluders and ensure your home is fully insulated with double glazing. According to the Money Advice Service, turning down your thermostat by just 1°C could save you 10% off your heating bill. That could equate to around £55 per year.
Changing your supplier
After choosing a new energy deal and switching to a new supplier, there’s not much else you need to do. Your new supplier will arrange everything: all you will need to do is provide your meter readings and then your old supplier will send you a final bill. All in all, this should take no longer than 17 days and don’t worry, you won’t be cut off at any point.
Many homes are actually in the wrong council tax band, so it’s worth making sure you are not being over charged. If you think you are over paying then you need to ask the council to do a review, which could mean you are entitled to a refund. However, be careful as the review may mean your house is actually put in a higher tax band.
Ensure that you pay your bills on time and keep a record of all payments. You don’t want any nasty notices through the door, any solicitor fees to pay or any overdraft charges. It’s also important to keep records should a company try to chase payments that you have already paid. This is especially important when you move out of a property: keep all records of final payments and records to prove when you moved out, in case the new owners or tenants miss a payment and the company involved comes back to you.