If you’re spending more than you can afford or you’re keen to put more into your savings, it’s time to give your household outgoings a makeover. From bills through to the amount you spend on food, there are plenty of ways to retain your cash and boost your finances.
Kick your old utility provider to the kerb
Photo by Rich Tervet on Unsplash
You can save £300 a year on average by switching your utility provider, which means there’s no reason to stay loyal to the old one. Using an Ofgem price comparison website allows you to compare the providers in your area, but you need to ensure you’re at the right stage of your contract to make the switch. It takes 21 days to move over to your new provider, and if you’re unsure as to whether you’re contractually allowed to, try speaking to someone at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Analyse your direct debits
Are you absolutely certain that every direct debit exiting your account is necessary? From gyms that you’re no longer using through to dating sites that don’t meet your love life’s demands, all those small sums can soon add up to hundreds when you let them continue. Similarly, if you’ve made purchases through your Itunes account for fitness apps you no longer use, or if your Paypal has subscriptions assigned to it, you could be throwing money down the drain. Every quarter, take a couple of hours to sit down and analyse whether everything you’re paying for on a monthly basis is necessary.
Avoid out-of-contract broadband stings
According to research, people across the UK are collectively wasting around £1.7bn on their broadband costs. One of the main reasons for this is that broadband providers don’t alert customers when their contract has ended, leading to automatic renewals of contracts that are more expensive than the alternatives available. Around 72% of people with a broadband contract are paying more than they need to, so there are massive savings to be made. To make matters worse, many providers hike their prices, which means customers are paying more than they need to. Switching to a new provider is generally easy and you’ll only be left without Internet for a few hours.
Make sure your kids’ lifestyles cost less
Whether it’s childcare or school dinners, there are lots of ways your kids could cost more than they need to. If you use a childminder or nursery, ask your workplace about voucher schemes or use an online tool to search for tax credits. You may not cover the full amount, but you could save a little each year. Similarly, if you’re paying for school dinners, consider switching to packed lunches. It’s usually possible to assemble a packed lunch for less than the cost of a school dinner and it only takes a few minutes each evening. Finally, if your teenagers have a mobile phone you’re paying for, make sure their tariff is the most cost-effective one available.
Make travelling cheaper
If you travel by train on a regular basis, consider using a split ticketing tool. You might not have a designated seat, but you can save up to 60 percent on the cost of your usual train journey. You may also want to look into train and rail cards, or using cheaper travel services such as the Megabus. As for petrol users, locate the nearest garage and consider shopping at a supermarket that offers money off each time you shop. Supermarkets such as Tesco and Morrisons often include money off vouchers at the bottom of the receipt. Finally, if you like to use air travel, join a frequent flyers club. Even if you don’t fly on a regular basis, there are multiple ways you can accumulate points, such as by shopping at certain stores or making your online purchases through their affiliate sites.
Ultimately, reducing your household’s outgoings takes just a little effort and forward planning. Dedicate an afternoon every quarter to giving your finances an overhaul and you’ll soon see the savings mount up.