Once Christmas has passed and the New Year arrives, many of us will be looking for ways to save a few pennies – particularly on our household bills.
Here are eight ideas that might just put a smile on your face when you review your bank account.
Security for insurance
The simplest way to save money on your home insurance is not to make claims, and in that regard any security measures to prevent theft and possible damage, such as extra locks and security lights, may help. In addition, protecting pipes, insulating walls and generally keeping the home in a good state of repair should surely lead to only a small increase in price year-on-year, if not a reduction.
Netflix has hiked its price up to £9.99 a month. Amazon Prime costs £79 a year, and Sky Cinema will cost £10 per month as an existing customer, and £30 as a newcomer. How many movies and documentaries a month do you really need? Sky Sports changed its packages this year to allow you to largely select only the channels you need, and cutting down on ordering PPV boxing/wrestling will also save you £20 a time. One phone call, or one hour organising subscriptions, could make big savings.
Mobile phone bills
It may seem curious to consider haggling with your mobile phone provider, but it’s so easy to change contracts that you hold much of the power in the conversation. Call them up, tell them that you’re unhappy and if possible find a comparable offer with another provider that you like that you can (politely) blackmail them with. Ask for a phone upgrade as well – what harm can it do?
There are many myths about changing energy suppliers. No-one has to visit your home, it’s easy to make the switch, and a comparison site will instantly find deals that could save you hundreds of pounds a year. Ways to save money including paying by monthly direct debit (which could offer up to 7% discounts) and giving regular readings, rather than estimates.
As well as cutting down on subscriptions, there are many other regular payments that we can probably do without. Cutting out smoking is an obvious one, but what about other little habits or luxuries such as lottery tickets, chewing gum, sweets, newspapers, and so on?
Do you need as many grooming essentials?
There’s little so dispiriting as watching food slowly going out of date, or alternatively having nothing left in the cupboards. Clever food purchasing can save a lot of money. Buying at the start of the week, cooking meals and then freezing them, is one way to save money. Be wise with BOGOFs – if you’re not going to use all the food, don’t buy both packs. Also, periodically scan the internet for coupons and discounts, and keep them in your wallet rather than pinning them on the fridge.
Be more careful
We all know that we should turn off lights when we leave the room; that we could hang clothes out in the sun rather than turning on the tumble drier; that a dripping tap or a heater that’s on an unnecessarily high setting can cost us throughout the year. So here’s a plan – spend half a day making repairs to anything that’s costing money (such as that dripping tap), and encourage your family to be more scrupulous.
Technology and tools
Mobile apps and devices, combined with smart technology, have allowed us to change our energy settings without even getting up from our chair, or from another building. Lights can be dimmed to take less energy, solar power can save us up to £400 a year, and storing water in water butts is a lot cheaper than using the hosepipe . These are simple measures and the outlay can provide big savings in the future.