Now Christmas is over it’s a great time to take stock and see where you could be saving money in 2014. Here are a few simple tips on what to check to reduce your household outgoings.
It pays to shop around
This is good advice when you’re looking for a car, a TV or an airline ticket. It’s just as good advice when you’re looking at reducing your household bills.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, says about energy bills: "We recommend customers switch every year to ensure they're on the very best deal. At the moment, switching providers can save consumers up to £350."
Cheaper gas and electricity
Energy is one of the biggest household expenses and across the UK we’re paying an estimated £4 billion too much*, simply because people don’t shop around for the best deals. And until recently it’s easy to see why - with thousands of tariffs to choose from and very confusing bills it’s been hard to compare prices.
Things are now changing in the energy market and it’s going to be much easier to get a better deal and save money. See the Ofgem website for more information on how to shop around and save on your energy bill.
Save by getting more than one service from one supplier
One way of saving cash is to bundle your services and get two or more from the same provider. Companies want your custom, and often they’ll offer incentives to encourage you to take more than one product from them, so it’s worth seeing if your current provider can offer you this kind of deal and shopping around if they can’t.
You’ll find some of the best examples of ‘bundled’ deals come from entertainment and media providers. For example, a basic entertainment package from Sky TV, costs £21.50 a month*. But if you get your broadband from Sky too, you can get a similar TV package plus broadband for the same price.
Stop paying for things you don’t need
New Year is the ideal time to check just what you’re paying for. A gym membership you don’t use and subscriptions to magazines you can live without could be draining a few useful pounds every month. Check it out and stop any Direct Debits you don’t need.
Don’t start paying for things you don’t need
Extended warranties might look like a good idea but in most cases they really don’t offer any more protection than the manufacturers guarantee or your existing consumer rights. Bank accounts that charge for extra services are all very well if you actually need those extras so check before you sign on the dotted line.
Mobile phone insurance can also be a waste of money, as many people are already covered by their home insurance - so check you’re not doubling up. By cancelling it you could save around £100 a year.
Be clever with credit
Interest rates are at an all time low at the moment but some credit card companies don’t seem to be passing that on. Check your APR and see if shopping around for another card will mean you pay less. By switching to a 0% credit card, you could save around 16% (the average credit interest rate) of your total balance.
"It's a great way to manage borrowing costs if you can't clear your bill each month," says Andrew Bond, spokesperson at Barclaycard.
If you do pay your balance in full each month, you could take advantage of a cashback or reward card. These cards give you something back each time you use your card.
More ways to save
As you can see, there are lots of ways you can cut household bills. Here are a few more you might want to explore:
- Make sure you’re in the right Council Tax band
- Installing a water meter
- Switching to paperless billing with all your suppliers
- Checking your insurance policies are covering only what you need
Some useful links to help you save:
*Source - ofgem.gov.uk
Plus, get a free quote today and you'll be entered into our prize draw to win your home utility bills paid for a year – up to £2,000**.