A penny saved is a penny earned or so the old saying goes. One of the easiest ways to save money and boost your finances is to make sure you are not paying more than you have to on your everyday bills.
These days it is easier than ever to save money by switching to cheaper suppliers for just about everything, from gas and electricity to broadband and phone.
So follow our easy household money saving guide and let’s see what you could save.
Save Money on Rent/Mortgage
For most people the biggest chunk of money they spend each month goes on rent or mortage costs. If you are renting, there is little you can really do to save money unless you have an understanding landlord who is willing to give you a discount on your rent!
However, you might have a chance if you can prove you are paying significantly more rent than similar tenants in the same area. Whilst this is not a fool proof plan, you might be able to wangle a small discount or stave off a rent increase, particularly if you are a good tenant who always pays on time.
If you have a mortgage, particularly if you haven’t reviewed it for some time, you might be able to save quite a bit of money and pay it off quicker with a mortgage review. You can either ask your current lender to make sure you are on the best deal or go via an independent mortgage advisor who has access to the whole market.
Beware if you do decide to switch deals that you will not be adding adding to the term of the mortgage as this could cost you a lot more money in the long term. Also ensure you are clear about any fees or upfront charges which you may incur with a new mortgage deal.
Save On Utilities – Gas and Electric
This is one of the areas which you can easily save money just by switching to another provider. Switching services such as Energy Helpline can take the hassle out of switching and could save you over £400 a year.
If you haven’t switched supplier for a while you could be paying significantly more than you need to. Switching services let you compare a number of different energy suppliers and tariffs and all you have to do is enter your information and they will make the switch for you.
Once you have decided to make a switch, every else happens behind the scenes. In a few days you will hear from your new supplier with a date you will be switched over. You can change your mind and decide not to switch after all or do nothing and it will all be handled automatically for you.
Saving on your energy literally just takes a couple of minutes and could save you £££s.
Council Tax Savings
Council tax is another fixed cost which each household has to pay but depending on your circumstances you might be able to get a Council Tax Reduction. If you are on a low income or benefits, contact your local council for more information on the scheme.
The single person discount of 25% should be applied if you are the only person aged 18 or over who is living in your home.
A slightly more risky approach to saving money on your council tax is to challenge the council tax band you are in. You can only do this if you can supply evidence that you are paying more than equivalent properties in the same street.
But be very wary of challenging your council tax band. One person who did this didn’t get a reduction, but instead his neighbours all found themselves with increased council tax bills. We bet they weren’t too happy with him!
If you really want to challenge your council tax band you can find out how here
TV and Broadband
If like many people, you have a bundled TV package with your broadband provider consider whether you are really getting value for money. If you watch live TV or any of the BBC catchup services you need a TV license which currently costs £154.40.
If you have been with your broadband or TV provider a while, a quick phone call saying you are unhappy with your package or you are thinking of quitting quite often works wonders in getting you upgraded or cheaper packages. This simple trick saved me £27 a month on my existing package and also got me an upgraded service.
Unfortunately it isn’t possible to shop around for water companies as it is with energy but you can still make savings. Water bills are based either on the old rateable value of your home or on a water meter.
With a water meter you only pay for the water that you use, so if you have a small household or you don’t use a lot of water you might make savings by switching.
You can work out whether switching to a meter would be worthwhile with this handy water meter calculator. Not everyone will make savings with a meter but if you have less people than bedrooms in your home it is likely that you can make a saving.
Never buy insurance without shopping around with one of the comparison sites. You can make big savings and enjoy other perks such as free meals and movies!
Even if you do want to stay with your current provider, always haggle at renewal time. Haggling over my car insurance saved me over £100 a year plus gave me free breakdown cover. Don’t be afraid to make that call, you could be quids in.