Whatever your reason for trying to save money on household bills, there’s plenty of tips and tricks you can follow in order to trim your bills.
Let’s start with the obvious, household bills continue to rise regardless of whether there’s wage growth or not.
Full Fact (a fact-checking charity) found that households paid £883 more for energy in 2016 than in 2010, assuming they used the same amount of gas and electricity, and taking inflation into account.
A word of caution, looking for the cheapest rate may not actually be the best deal for your situation.
For example, if you use your landline frequently then getting a great deal on broadband only, could mean you pay for calls, which you might get for free with another supplier or different package.
Know what you’re currently spending
While this sounds like we’re mansplaining, but stick with us for a moment!
It’s easy after a few years to fall into the trap of just paying your household bills and not fully caring whether you can save money or not.
Start by gathering all your bills from the last year. It’s worth cross-checking all of the figures against bank statements.
Once you have a good idea of what you’re spending you need to write out what you’re paying for (the contract) and what you’re actually using. If there’s a miss-match between the two lists then you might have an opportunity to find a better package.
Yes, this will all take time but it will be worth the time if you can save money.
Reducing your phone, broadband and TV bill
While you might be overwhelmed by the sheer choice of suppliers there are a few tips you can try before looking at switching.
Call your current supplier and ask if they can offer you a better price. While they might not be able to do this, your current supplier may be able to offer you a better package for landline, mobile phone, broadband and TV.
Again it’s worth knowing what you’re paying now and what you’re actually using. You might be able to downgrade or change packages to one which is what you actually need.
If your supplier won’t budge, don’t worry, you need to spend some time looking at price comparison websites and try to find a package and supplier who more in line with your requirements.
Don’t be afraid to push supplier hard and play two companies off against each other in order for you to get the best price for your needs.
Cutting the cost of your water bill
On average we spend around £32 per month on our water bill and although you can’t switch water supplier, there are a few tricks you can use to reduce this bill.
Our top tip is to take fewer baths and instead use the shower more. A quick shower uses far less water and so it’s cheaper! Already taking showers? Consider switching to a more efficient shower head.
Check how you’re paying your bill. If you’re on an annual contract but there’s only a few of you in the home then it could be worth having a free water meter installed. Most see a sharp fall in their bill by doing this and it’s free – so why not!
Cheaper gas and electricity
Did you know that reducing your thermostat by just 1°C could cut 10% off your heating bill? Massive savings!
In addition, you can save further by using less energy overall. While this common sense, are you currently heating a room which is mostly empty? Are all your light bulbs energy saving? Could you do fewer, larger wash loads?
As there plenty of energy suppliers out there, it’s always a good time to test the market and see if you can find yourself a cheaper deal.
For most switching to direct debit can also provide you with a discount over your current rate. Plus you won’t miss a bill, so no late penalties.
Could you make your home more eco-friendly? You could change your boiler, add solar panels or better insulation. There are lots of options out there which could help you save hundreds of pounds each year and you could be eligible for a government grant.
Are you paying too much Council Tax?
It’s estimated that up to 400,000 homes are in the wrong Council Tax band and have been since 1991. This means you could be paying more than you should.
First, you need to gather some data about your street and house size. While you can ask your neighbours, you easily find can view the band of every house in England and Scotland.
- In England, use the Valuation Office Agency (VOA)
- In Scotland use the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA)
As the bands haven’t changed since 1991, you need a value for your property from this year. You can usually find this amount at Land Registry using sold data.
If you can’t find this data then Nationwide has a price calculator for estimating current values based on what you paid. This clever tool also works in reverse and can provide an estimate of the previous value.
Again it’s worth taking the average of a few similar properties as this removes anomalies. This isn’t a fool-proof method but can be useful in comparing your bill with the neighbours.
The last step is to ask your local council for a reassessment. You can not ask for them to lower your band, only to reassess. This means you are taking on some risk as the outcome could be a higher band for you and your neighbours.
In order to challenge your banding, you will need to talk with either the VOA or SSA and put your case directly.
Re-evaluate your home insurance
When it comes to insurance companies, sadly, loyalty doesn’t pay. Moneysupermarket found homeowners are wasting £37m a year because they automatically renew their home insurance instead of shopping around.
They estimate that the average households can save up to £59 a year by switching providers.
Since April this year insurers have been forced to tell policyholders how much they are currently paying for their cover when they send out renewal reminders.
Top tips to lower your household bills
- Figure out what your spending and what you’re using
- Negotiate everything!
- Consider switching to a water meter
- Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree
- Are you on the correct Council Tax band?
- Don’t auto-renew your home insurance