BasicsSavings&Banking

5 Ways To Lower Your Monthly Bills

UK households’ average bills add up to approximately £179 per month, including gas, electricity, water, and broadband.

On top of that, most working households pay council tax, which can add another £100 or more to monthly bills.

Naturally, bills will vary with household size and location, however, most providers of utility and broadband are pretty much interchangeable and operate in a competitive market, meaning that the product or service is relatively similar across providers and switching between them is usually pretty easy.

Here, we provide five low-effort ways to cut your monthly bills, leaving you with more funds for other (likely more enjoyable) spending or saving!

Check Your Tariff

According to the Money Advice Service, the average electricity bill in the UK is £58 per month, while the average gas bill is £56. Of course, this varies depending on household size and location.

Meanwhile, Ofgem found a staggering £374 difference between providers’ standard variable rates (the default rate for many) and the cheapest available deal in the market.

In other words, it pays to check your tariff and make sure you’re on the best possible one your provider can offer you. The easiest way to do this is to either check a recent bill or log on to your online account.

Make sure to compare your rate to the other rates offered by your provider, as they may have launched a new offer since you signed up.

Similarly, if you’ve been with your broadband or mobile phone provider for a while, you often have the ability to negotiate a lower rate.

Read More: 4 Stupid Financial Mistakes Millennials Make

Switch Providers If You Aren’t On The Cheapest Deal On The Market

Switching utility providers is pretty easy, as long as you’re able to provide up to date meter readings to both your existing and new providers. The rest is done by them and you won’t experience breaks in energy provision.

Check out comparison websites to find the cheapest deals that suit you – you can typically search by the type of deal you want (variable rates or fixed rates), whether you want green energy and whether you want a single fuel (e.g. gas only) or a dual-fuel rate (you typically earn a discount if you get both gas and electricity from the same provider).

Look out for any charges of exiting your current contract, though. Some providers charge an early exit fee per fuel if you’re on a fixed-term contract. With home broadband, TV or mobile phone contracts, watch out for any fees for ending your contract early.

Look Out For Incentives Or Cashback When You Switch

Switching energy and broadband providers is often an opportune time to make additional savings via cashback. For example, Bulb offers a £50 friend referral discount, and cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback often offer cashback if you switch via links on their website.

Monitor Your Usage (And Use Less)

Aside from reducing the price you pay for utilities, it might be worth checking your usage, too.

Energy monitors can be used to track your usage as well as spend, and help you and the rest of your household notice how much electricity, gas or water you’re actually using.

For broadband and TV, if your household is not a big user, it may pay to cut your current package altogether and instead let each individual use their personal hotspot at home instead. This may only work if you’re not a regular TV watcher and if you’re on an unlimited data or 100GB data plan for your personal mobile.

Improve The Energy Efficiency Of Your Home

Newer homes often benefit from better energy efficiency, meaning you end up using and therefore spending less on utilities.

If you’re living in an older property, there are lots of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, often without spending a lot of money, ranging from simple things like:

  • Using an energy-efficient kettle or showerhead
  • Fitting thicker curtains
  • Changing your boiler
  • Installing solar panels.

See the Energy Saving Trust’s website for further information and additional ideas for improving the energy efficiency of your home.

Natacha Blackman
About author

Natacha Blackman has 8 years of experience in financial services across research, trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, she covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale. Natacha has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.
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