Reduce your household costs by shopping around this Spring
The overall cost of living in the UK is continuing to rise, and at a faster rate than most families’ incomes. It’s an equation that is enough to cause plenty of us sleepless nights. Many are becoming increasingly reliant on credit to get from month to month, but we all know that this can easily end in disaster.
What if there were some simple ways to turn the tide and reduce those monthly expenditures? It sounds too good to be true, but with some solid planning and logical thinking, it is not so difficult to make a meaningful difference to your outgoings.
Having fixed contracts and monthly direct debits reduces hassle, but can also lead to us paying well over the odds if the supplier is confident that we will not bother switching. It’s time to retake control, and there are numerous areas in which you can do so.
Gas and electricity tariffs have a habit of changing over time. Do you know how much you are paying and how it compares with other suppliers? Probably not, but all the usual price comparison websites will provide the information, all you have to do is look for it.
The same applies with heating oil. If you always order from the same supplier or have an agreement for them to top up on a set date, you are probably paying well over the odds. Check the price and then log onto supersaveroil.ie and you might just be in for a surprise. At this time of year, in particular, this is one area in which saving a few pence per litre can make an enormous difference.
94 percent of adults possess one or more mobile phones, and 85 percent have a smartphone. In other words, there is more going on here than just call and text charges. With a growing number of people using platforms like WhatsApp and Skype for placing calls, it is increasingly all about the data.
For pay as you go, look carefully at the different packages and work out which one really fits your usage habits. And if you are tied into an annual contract, don’t just renew it without really exploring the different options, both from your current supplier and others.
You might think there is nothing you can do about your council tax bill, but in fact, as many as 400,000 homes are believed to be in the wrong council tax band. Finding out takes only around 10 minutes.
The first step is to check what band your neighbouring properties are in (assuming they are of similar size, style and value to yours). There’s no need to go knocking at the door, all the information is available online. If you think you are being overcharged, you can ask the local authority for a reassessment. Just be sure of your ground, as “reassessment” means exactly that, and in theory, the band could go up as well as down.