How to save money on your bills

Andy Webb

There are numerous ways to save money, but if you’ve only got time for a handful then tackling  your bills is likely to give the biggest payout

It might take you a couple of hours to work through all of them, but the potential savings make it time well spent. And there’s no need to worry about making changes. Most of the time you’re able to get the same or very similar service just by moving companies. 

 

How to get the best deal

First, work out what you really need. There’s no point paying for calls, television channels and even water that you won’t use.

Then, using a comparison site such as GoCompare or USwitch, you can quickly get an idea of what you could be paying. You don’t need to spend too much time poring over the results—just make sure you know the full cost you’d be paying over the length of the contract.

You’ve then got two main options. Armed with this information you can take your pick from the cheaper deals, or you can haggle with your existing supplier. If it’s the latter, tell them that you want to leave and see what they offer you. Just making that call doesn’t mean you do have to move to a different provider, but it should get you the best prices.

 

The top four bills to switch:

1. Energy

Haggling won’t make a difference with energy. To save, you need to switch. When comparing energy prices, it’s useful to have an old bill with accurate figures on your usage. Of course the price quoted is only an estimate—if you use more energy, you’ll pay more. Yet, on average people moving from a variable rate tariff to a cheap fixed deal can save £300 a year.

You could also look at new service - Look After My Bills - they find you the best energy deal and switch you every year - saving you time and money. Find out more here.

2. Phone and broadband     

For some unknown reason it’s cheaper to get phone and broadband together than just purchasing broadband on its own. In addition to switching supplier, you can also bring down the cost by cutting out any call packages you don’t need or reducing the speed of your internet supply if you don’t mind it being slower.

If you want only the phone, see if you can pay for the line rental upfront for a year, which often comes with 
a discount.

 

3. Television

Pay TV from the likes of Sky and Virgin can be very expensive but also one of the easiest to haggle down in price. The companies are desperate to keep you, so they often offer big discounts or free channels to get you to stay.

However, the biggest saving is to go with free-to-air channels with no contract. If you want to record, you can buy a Freeview+ or YouView box for under £150—far cheaper than paying for channels you probably don’t watch that much anyway.

 

4. Water

A slightly different bill here. You can’t switch provider, and rates are set according to your house size. But in England and Wales you can request a free water meter. With these you pay for what you use. If you have more bedrooms than people at home then there’s a good chance you’ll save money by getting a water meter. You can ask your water company to calculate whether you’re likely to pay more or less.