Compare And Save

5 May 2010
When there are just two of you the laundry is a mere niggle, something you can do every now and again. The moment you have a baby there seems to be enough washing for twenty people. Every day. So imagine the impact that all that washing is having on your household bills! Thanks to the recent recession, and other such financial fiascos, you want to save cash, not spend it.

Washing

On average people in the United Kingdom spend about £1000 a year on energy bills. Ouch. That would be far nicer spent drinking cocktails on a beach somewhere. You need to cut down on your bills right now. Imagine sticking what you save into a bank account and thoroughly enjoying the results a year later.

uswitchThe first thing you need to do is check out how well your current rates compare against other companies.There are plenty of excellent comparison websites on the net now such as uSwitch, Compare the Meerkat,  Energy Choices or Go Compare.  The list is pretty exhaustive and all these sites include a wealth of suppliers for you to choose from.

Take your car insurance, household insurance, utility bills, council bills, credit cards and taxes and have them ready before you start. It’s a good idea to set aside a lot of time to do each one as you’re going to be inundated with information. Personally I prefer to build a spreadsheet or a table for each category so I can enter in the best deals as I find them.

When it comes to any form of insurance make sure that you do your research first. Don’t just take the first supplier to offer you the best price. Always check that they are accredited and that they have a good reputation. Sites like the UK Insurance Index have reviews from other users. Let somebody else’s misfortune in dealing with a bad company be your good luck for avoiding them in the first place.

meerkats

Read up on what kind of insurance you’re entitled to. For example, if you’re a woman then you automatically get cheaper car insurance than a man. As you get older this rate drops even further. It also changes according to your claims history.

BibaDelve deeper into what the different kinds of insurance are so that you are positive you have bought the right one and that you're properly covered in an emergency. Parents should always consider a policy that includes a hire car as part of the package. You don't want to be caught without a car in the case of an emergency.

Visit sites like the British Insurance Brokers’ Association for concise advice on what policies exist and how they work.

You can also get good deals on your credit cards. Yep. Amazingly there are even credit cards designed for people with bad credit ratings. Using these comparison sites you can easily see exactly how well your particular credit card company is treating you and what better offers you can take advantage of.

creditcard

This may also be a good time to ditch your credit card entirely. Interest rates are high and they’re not good for your end of month bill paying either.

When it comes to utility bills like water, gas and electricity, there are as many offers available as there are for insurance. What you need to do is establish exactly which areas of your usage are unavoidable and how you can use certain periods to do things cheaper.

electricitySome companies have packages that charge you next to nothing for washing and tumble-drying at night so you can do all of that after hours. Perhaps even consider getting rid of your tumble-dryer, it eats money and is horrible for the environment, and using your heating to do the hard work for you instead.

Speaking of heating...we all know how expensive that can be. My house, which the owners praised for its lovely warmth, is actually more like a crypt. It eats heat for breakfast and our first bill nearly had us in hospital for heart failure. We managed to sort out a new supplier and watch our usage without having to dress like mummies all the time.

Simple ideas like turning off the lights, not leaving equipment on standby and turning off your cell phone charger when you’re not using it have a remarkable impact on your bills. And, for fear of sounding like a tree hugging maniac, turning them off reduces your carbon footprint.
carbon

You may be pleasantly surprised by how much you can potentially save by moving to a cheaper supplier or by turning things off.

Stick those savings into a bank account and use the money to do something useful, or to go on a much needed holiday. Much better to spend it on your family than give it away to somebody else.

TOPICS:   Banking   Tablets and E-readers

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