Chances are there are a few gaping holes in your bank account following the big Christmas spend-fest. So now is a good time to take a forensic look at your budget and monthly outgoings.
Don’t have time? Make time. Setting aside just an hour or two could save you hundreds of pounds on your monthly bills. Think of it as paying yourself £100 for an hour’s work!
The average UK household spends around £3,329 per year on council tax, electricity and gas, water and phone/broadband. With our money saving tips you can bring that amount right down.
Have a read of our lightning quick guide to making pain-free savings on your monthly bills.
How to Save Money on Bills
1. Gas and Electricity
After your mortgage and rent, gas and electricity are probably your biggest household bills. Cut the cost of these bills in under an hour by:
- Paying by direct debit
- Checking that your provider doesn’t owe you money by giving a regular meter reading.
- Joining Martin Lewis’s Cheap Energy Club, which tracks your tariff and sends you an alert when you should switch.
- Switching utility providers as often you can to save money.
- Haggling with your current provider to get a cheaper deal.
The average water bill for a home with four occupants is between £30-£35 per month. If you have a water meter installed, you only pay for what you use so contact your supplier to get one fitted. Also, take less baths – a shower uses half the water of a bath.
3. Council Tax
Most of us can’t do anything about the hefty monthly council tax bill. However, over 400,000 properties in the UK are in wrong council tax band. Could this be you?
Check you’re in the right band for your property at GOV.UK here. If you’re in the wrong band you can appeal to your council – you never know, you could be in for a bumper rebate.
4. Phone and Broadband
Been sat on the same contract for years and it just keeps going up and up? If your broadband/landline provider isn’t prepared to reduce your bill then switch, switch, switch using comparison sites such as moneysupermarket, Uswitch and comparethemarket.
The broadband market is one of the hungriest when it comes to new customers so haggle hard. One phone call could save you up to £30 per month.
For mobile phones, work out when your current contract is up and shop around. Are you using all your minutes and data each month? If not, then you’re paying for nothing. Go for something simpler and cheaper.
Whether it’s car, home, travel, life or pet, Brits spend thousands on insurance each year. To save on insurance costs there are two golden rules:
1) Never accept the renewal price with the same company – when it comes to insurance companies, loyalty doesn’t pay so switch each year and
2) Avoid paying by direct debit for any insurance policy because it means you pay interest on top of the premium.
If you have a policy due for renewal, do a price comparison now and switch.
6. Credit Cards
Paying off credit cards and other debts can really eat into your monthly budget. You will still have to pay the debts off but there are smarter ways to spread the cost.
If you haven’t already, transfer your credit card debt onto a balance transfer card. Set a fixed amount aside each month to chip away at the debt.
And remember, the only way to get out of credit card debt is to stop spending on them, so don’t be tempted to take out another card.
7. Ditch Direct Debits You Don’t Need
Scary fact: us Brits spend around £40 in monthly direct debits for products and services we DON’T USE (totalling £30,000 over a lifetime).
From dating app subscriptions to gym memberships, there’s always something lurking in your direct debits that you can get rid of. Cancel and save.
There are hundreds of ways to slash your monthly food bill: shop at budget supermarkets, make your own sandwiches, even grow your own fruit and veg etc. But we believe that the best way to save money and time on food is to meal plan.
Do one weekly shop armed with a meal plan and you won’t need to do ‘emergency shops’ at smaller, more expensive supermarkets.
A meal plan encourages you to buy only what you need, rather than doing it on the hop (which makes you chuck any more expensive things in the basket). Meal planning is also proven to improve your diet, so it’s a win-win.
If you travel to work by train, one way to cut your monthly costs is to buy an annual ticket. It’s a lot of money up front but you could save up to £700 a year on the same route.
If you use a car, drive down the monthly costs by carpooling, switching insurance and smart driving to save on fuel. Find out what other car-related savings you could make in our post Save Money on Your Car.
Monthly childcare bills can often add up to more than your mortgage or rent. Check: are you getting all the help you can? As well as checking your eligibility for child and working tax credits, see if you could be eligible for the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme.
Keep on top of when you need to switch or renew any of your monthly bills by putting alerts on your phone to tell you when your deals or contracts are coming to an end.
Switching and haggling at the right time could save you hundreds of pounds a year.
Over to you – have you managed to cut your monthly costs? Share your bill-slashing tips with us here, we’d love to hear from you!