When it comes to saving money, I like to think I’m pretty savvy at it. In the last eighteen months we’ve paid off thousands of pounds of debt stemming from our building work. That’s right, at the end of November, it was official… we are debt free! Well until stage two begins! When people think of saving they often think you have to cut everything down to the bare minimum and, whilst that’s obviously one way of doing it, it’s not the only way. For example, did you know you could be overpaying massively each month on household expenses without realising it? Give your finances a spring clean and see the benefits immediately. Want to know what you should be checking? Read on…
Gas & Electricity
Make sure you’re getting the best deal on your utilities by checking other providers regularly. Many companies will tie you in for a year on a great deal before moving you on to a worse rate at the end of the period without you realising. Moving utilities companies is really easy (often your new provider will handle all of the work!) and can be arranged online in just a few clicks. This year we’ve moved our electricity to a new provider, earned a £100 credit to our account and reduced the monthly fee by £12. That’s a saving of £244 in a year!
We’ve switched to Bulb – a green energy company that beat our previous prices and could not have given us better customer service so far! If you fancy using them, here’s a referral link that gets both you and I £50 credit each to our accounts if you switch. Why not take a look?
With what feels like a million different packages out there, it’s hard to know if you’re truly getting the best deal on your broadband these days. Rather than attempt to make sense of them by trawling the internet, try using an online comparison site to find the best broadband deal for your household. They’ll tell you the amount of downloads you’re allowed, broadband speed and how long the contract is for so that you can make sure you’re getting the best deal each month. Similarly to utilities, companies will often offer discounted rates for a fixed period before bumping you onto a higher rate when your contract expires. Make a note of your contract end date and start looking around at least one month before in order to ensure you don’t get pushed onto a temporary price structure whilst you wait out your notice period.
Car and home insurances are two huge areas that people over pay in. Many of us assume that it’s difficult or time consuming to swap, that existing customers get the best deals and that automatic renewals are there for our convenience as the consumer. They’re not! Switching your car and home insurance can take a little bit of research but is normally very financially beneficial. Use a comparison tool to scope out competitors and get quotes and then ring your current provider to see if they’ll match it. Often, when given a quote from a competitor they’ll magically find a way to reduce that premium down whilst keeping you with the same company. If you’re still not happy it’s low enough, it’s very simple to move elsewhere. Just don’t forget to inform your old company that you won’t be needing the automatic renewal!
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If you’re a Sky media user, it’s always worth contacting their customer service as soon as your contract ends. Sky reserve their best deals for new customers (thanks!) but they’ll often bend plenty of the ‘rules’ in order to retain a customer. From reducing the rates you pay for standard service or throwing in cheaper bolt-ons, there is almost always wiggle room – we’ve done it every year for the past five years and managed to get reduced packages each time! Think about what you do and don’t watch as well, we found we were paying £10 a month for one additional service which we rarely watched and as such, we decided to remove it. Sky will deal with you on their online chat service reluctantly which we’ve found is far easier than calling them. And if you’re still not happy and ask to leave they’ll bombard you with deals for the next six months to try and win you back so don’t worry, you’re not shutting the door by asking for a better price!
If you’re planning on doing plenty of travel during the year, abroad or within the UK, then it could be worth getting an annual travel insurance. Whilst short trip cover may seem like the cheaper option, those small amounts quickly add up if you’re doing more than a couple of trips and annual cover may work out to be more cost effective. Don’t forget to check that you’re covered for extreme sports if you’re squeezing in a ski trip as many companies ask an additional premium for this.
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Direct debits are one of those messy areas that often get forgotten about when it comes to finances. You should be periodically checking them to make sure that there aren’t any you no longer need, for example, are you still paying a service plan on your old car? Whilst you may think it unlikely, it’s easy to overlook small amounts of money that go out each month. Grab your bank statement, a highlighter pen and highlight anything that you’re not 100% sure is still required so that you can go and check. It may be that you no longer need it or that you can reduce the amount your spending by renegotiating your contract.
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