A few simple changes could slash your bills and save you thousands of pounds every year
If money’s tight, or you simply want to stop getting ripped off by companies, you’ll want to have a read of our comprehensive guide to getting the best price on everything.
Save on food & drink
You have to eat, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You don’t have to go to extremes to slash your monthly grocery bill: simple changes are all you need.
Save on your energy bills
With most of us paying well over £1,000 a year for our gas and electricity, it’s clearly an area where big savings can be made.
While the impending energy price cap should put an end to the most blatant rip-off deals, you’ll almost certainly save far more by spending 10 minutes searching for the cheapest deal in your area.
That done, it’s time to stop wasting energy around the house: most of us are unwittingly losing hundreds of pounds a year because of simple mistakes.
Save on broadband
Did you know you could be wasting up to £220 a year if you haven’t switched broadband in the last year?
New data from consumer site Which? highlights just how heavily providers are cashing in on those of us who stay put for too long.
What this means is you’ll need to switch regularly if you want to avoid being royally fleeced. That may sound like a hassle, but a few minutes’ admin each year is surely worth a couple hundred quid.
One final point on this: given how vital broadband is, it’s worth noting which providers provide the best and worst customer service.
If you find two similarly-priced deals but one is streets ahead on service, that’s probably the one to go for.
What to do next: find the cheapest deal and make a note in your calendar to switch regularly.
Save on your mobile phone/SIM contract
If you got your phone as part of your mobile phone contract, make sure you switch as soon as your deal expires – whether you want a new phone or are happy to change to a Sim-only deal.
The price of that phone is worked into your monthly payments, so when you hit that vital contract expiration date, you’re effectively paying towards a phone you’ve already paid off. That’s madness!
When it comes to that new contract, make sure you shop around for the right deal – that means doing your research to understand how many minutes, texts and GB of data you use each month then finding the cheapest appropriate offer.
On the topic of data: read this guide to reduce your usage and avoid nasty fees.
- What to do now: switch when your contract is up
Save on fuel
As you can see from the RAC graph below, both diesel and petrol prices have been rising for the last two years or so.
It might feel there’s nothing you can do to keep on top of these rising costs, especially for those who drive to work.
The good news is that’s not the case: in fact, we think our guide will help almost everyone save!
As you’ll see below, you effectively need to take a three-pronged approach of finding the best price near you, paying in the right way and then improving your car’s efficiency.
Save on rail fares
With rail fares rising sharply every year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a cheap train ticket – especially for commuters.
That said, it’s not impossible. You just need to be flexible where possible and be aware of certain quirks of the system.
- What to do now: regular commuters can read these tips to cut season tickets prices, while occasional travellers can use these ones instead.
Save on your mortgage
Homeowners on a rubbish mortgage deal can save up to £4,500 by switching to a better one, according to broker Private Finance.
Although that figure applies to those on a truly horrendous deal, you could still make a healthy saving if you’ve not remortgaged in a while.
Sadly, finding the best mortgage isn’t as straightforward as it could be: a loan with a lower rate could actually be more expensive because there are a load of fees hidden in the deal.
When you’re choosing a mortgage, make sure you compare the total cost rather than simply looking at rates.
Thankfully most comparison sites will allow you to filter results in exactly this manner.
It’s worth noting the latter is far more popular these days as they guarantee your monthly repayments won’t rise, but you should ultimately decide what best suits your needs.
The final decision you need to make is what length of deal you want.
Most deals come with an ‘introductory’ rate that then rises after a set period (it’s people who haven’t switched after this window has passed that are most likely to be overpaying).
You’ll typically choose between a two-, three-, five- or 10-year deal, with the best rates rising slightly the longer you choose to lock in for.
This is because interest rates are widely expected to rise in the coming years and so lenders are looking to protect their profits.
Do you want a super-cheap deal that’ll soon expire or would you rather pay a little more for long-term protection? Think carefully about what will better suit your financial situation.
One quick point for those who are already locked into a deal: this doesn’t mean you definitely shouldn’t remortgage due to fear of exit fees.
As strange as it sounds, some borrowers could take the hit of hefty penalties – and they really can be painful – and still end up better off in the long run because the deal they switch to is so much cheaper.
See what’s out there, do the sums, then commit to a deal that benefits you rather than your lender.
Save on holidays & flights
When you’re looking to get away from it all, the last thing you want to do is worry about costs the whole time you’re there.
While bagging cheap flights is obviously important, there are so many other costs you need to keep an eye on to ensure your trip is both enjoyable and affordable.
Save on childcare
As any parent will tell you, having a child is not cheap. In fact, one in four say they have cut their work hours because it actually works out cheaper that way.
Thankfully, reducing costs for parents is easier than you might think – and you have far more options than simply choosing an au pair.
Save on insurance
Wait! Don't just scroll past this section. It may be boring, but insurance is also important – and expensive if you don’t get it right.
So it pays to spend some time shopping around for policies that are affordable but aren’t riddled with exclusions that mean your policy is effectively worthless.
What’s more, you’ll need to be prepared to shop around for a new deal each year as the auto-renewal policy you’ll be offered is almost always a huge rip-off.
Yes, it’s frustrating but it really is worth the effort.
Save on banking
Given it’s the financial product we use most often, it’s amazing how many of us simply stick with the one we opened as a teen.
The best accounts can do brilliant things for your finances: you can get paid just for opening one, earn a brilliant rate of interest on your cash or minimise the costs if you go overdrawn each month.
You can even open more than one account if you like the perks on offer at different banks.
Save on debt
If you’ve racked up debt, it’s vital you take steps to keep that debt under control.
Credit card debt can be particularly dangerous as the interest rates are often sky high, meaning your debt can quickly spiral out of control.
That’s where 0% balance transfer credit cards come in. They allow you to shift the debt (in return for a small fee, which is charged as a % of the amount you want to transfer) and enjoy an interest-free window, during which time you can whittle away what you owe.
Choosing one can be tricky: for example, the longest 0% deals aren’t always the best.
That’s because they tend to charge the biggest fees up front, so it’s often better going for one that might have a slightly shorter 0% period but will cost you a fraction of the fees.
The second thing to be aware of is the best deals are reserved for those with an excellent credit rating, so it’s worth checking your chances of qualifying before applying.
This will help you avoid a failed application, which will further damage your rating and limit your borrowing options.
While balance transfer cards are great at clearing existing debt, they aren’t much use if you have a big purchase coming up that your savings simply won’t cover.
In this case, you’ll need a 0% new purchase card instead. As before, the best cards are reserved for those with excellent credit ratings so be sure to try before you buy to avoid rejection.
Save at Amazon and eBay
Millions of bargain hunters spend cash with Amazon and eBay every month, but far too few know how to ensure they get the best deal every time.
Depending on which online giant you prefer, we’ve put together a tailored guide to shopping like a pro. Seriously, you’ll save a bundle!
- What to do now: learn these eBay buying tips and tricks or make sure you save on your Amazon shopping.
Save on alcohol
Whether you’re stocking up for the holidays, a birthday or simply Saturday, booze can be extremely expensive.
And while simply drinking less is often the best money-saving tip you’ll receive, it’s not always applicable.
So why not consider simple changes like buying straight from the supplier or switching to cheaper versions of your favourite (seriously, they’re often identical)?
- What to do now: head this way for some top boozy tips. Cheers!
Save at the cinema
After cheap cinema tickets for yourself or the kids? There are loads of schemes that'll help you bag you huge discounts on trips to the movies.
From buy-one-get-one-free offers to long-term subscriptions, it’s up to you how you want to save.
Save on… everything
We’ve covered most of the areas you can make savings on, but not yet delivered on our headline promise to help you save on absolutely everything.
How to achieve this? They key is to get paid a little bit back every time you buy something you need.
In fact, you can get this on anything from a chocolate to furniture to once-in-a-lifetime holidays by using a combination of cashback credit cards and cashback sites.
We can argue for days about whether getting money back on spending is the same as saving, but the end result is your costs will be cut every single time.
The key, as we alluded at the start, is to make sure you aren’t tempted into buying things you don’t really need because of the lure of cashback.
- What to do next: once you’ve signed up for your favourite cashback options above, visit our regularly updated page dedicated to great money-saving and money-making tip for ongoing inspiration.
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