If you’re looking to save money, perhaps to save up a deposit on a house or to avoid getting further into debt, then the best places to start is examining your household bills. Most people overspend on household bills and necessities where alternatives exist that won’t affect your lifestyle. From switching your utility providers to opting for an identical non-brand product there’s hundreds of small switches that can cut hundreds from household bills.
One of the most controversial bills that almost everyone is subject to is the TV Licence. At current prices it costs £145.50 a year to purchase one, although most people opt to pay monthly by direct debit. If you watch live television then sadly it’s a bill you can’t avoid, however thanks to catch up TV live television is no longer a necessity for many of us.
Try switching to only watching programmes on catch up TV services such as iPlayer and 4 on Demand for a month. It doesn’t matter if you use a television or computer to watch catch up TV, as long as you’re not watching programmes as they air you don’t need a licence. If you manage it without any relapses then you can safely cancel your TV licence. Don’t risk it if you ever watch live TV though – a £1000 fine is a substantial expense.
Tariffs on electric and gas change constantly and it’s often hard to know if you’re on the best deal. Generally when your fixed rate contract is coming to an end and you’re switched back onto the suppliers main rate you’ll almost certainly be getting a bad deal. Getting new quotes for these services is a five minute job and can save you hundreds of pounds. Ensure that you use accurate figures for your energy usage when you’re quoting however, as many suppliers have different rates depending on how much electric or gas you use. Someone with a well insulated home using less energy will be best off with a different supplier to someone who uses more energy, so quoting on the correct figures is important.
The price of food has gone up substantially in the past few years, with food prices often far exceeding inflation rates. Supermarkets often have ‘feel good’ offers to try to make us forget this, but we all notice our grocery bills are going up. One of the easiest ways of saving money is to switch to a cheaper supermarket, for instance shopping at Aldi or Lidl rather than Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, or getting frozen food from Iceland instead of a supermarket. Sadly there isn’t always that option, but there’s also ways of saving money without changing store.
Supermarkets play tricks on us with words that imply product quality when often the product inside is identical to a cheaper product. This is especially true of ingredient items where often the supermarkets premium range will be identical or almost identical to their own brand or even value ranges. Several sites exists where food experts taste test the different options, but as taste is subjective try this out yourself. If you normally buy the premium tinned tomatoes, purchase a tin of the own brand and a tin of the value tomatoes at the same time and see if you notice any difference.
If your mobile phone is working fine and you have no pressing need to upgrade you can often save significantly by switching service when your phone contract expires. Mobile phone networks are obligated to allow you to unlock your phone at the end of your contract, so you have no need to stay on the same plan. See who offers the best price for amount of service you need. Check your current bill to see how many minutes, texts and megabytes of data you use, and go for a plan with at least that amount as going over your limit can be expensive.