Do you feel you're paying out too much on household bills? By looking at the amount you're paying and comparing it to the alternatives available, you may be able to reduce your outgoings.
Gas & electricity
Home phone, broadband & digital TV
If you've haven't changed energy suppliers recently and you're not tied in to a contract, you may save money by switching. You can get an idea of how much you could save by using independent comparison websites. The energy regulator, Ofgem, lists unbiased sites on their Go Energy Shopping website.
You can usually get a discount if you choose to receive your bill online, pay by direct debit or opt for a dual fuel tariff where you receive both your gas and electricity from the same supplier. Some suppliers also offer a fixed energy tariff meaning you pay a set amount each month, usually for a year to 18 months. This is a good option if you use a lot of electricity or gas and want to know exactly how much you'll spend each month.
If your hot water and heating is powered by an oil fired boiler, it's worth getting quotes from several providers - they often price match or beat competitors' quotes to gain custom. You can get quotes directly or go to Boiler Juice, an oil price comparison website.
There are also oil buying clubs, where groups of people club together to buy in bulk at a discount. They're usually free to join and there's no obligation to place an order. To find your nearest club, you can use the Citizens Advice 'Find my nearest club' tool.
You either pay for water at a fixed rate based on the size of your home or have a water meter where you pay for what you use. If you pay a fixed rate and your water consumption is low, you may save money by switching to a meter. You can work how much you may save by using the Consumer Council For Water's meter calculator.
Most water companies fit meters free of charge, unless it's not practical or too expensive, and give you the option to switch back within a year if you find you're not saving money. If your water company isn't able to fit a meter for any reason, they may be able to put you on a cheaper tariff instead.
You should check regularly to see if you're getting the best deal for your home phone, broadband and digital TV. If you don't already receive them all from one supplier, you may find it's cheaper to go with one that offers them as a package. New deals are always being advertised to entice new customers.
Before you move elsewhere, you should review your current deal and call your provider to see if there are changes they can make to reduce the cost. For instance, you could be paying for TV channels you never watch or paying more for a package new customers get for less.
If your existing provider isn't able to help you and you're not tied in to a contract, you can look for better deals on the comparison sites accredited by Ofcom, the communications regulator.
The time for renewing your home insurance comes round quickly each year and it's tempting to forget about it and let it auto-renew. Sticking with the same insurer may be the easiest option but it may not be the best or cheapest one.
To find out if you can get a better deal elsewhere, you can use comparison sites to get quotes from other insurers. Some of the big insurers, like Direct Line and Aviva, only offer insurance directly or through brokers - you'll need to get quotes separately for these as they're not listed on comparison sites.
When you get quotes look at the policy details as well as the price. The policy needs to provide the right level of cover for your home so it's not a case of under-insuring your home to get it for cheaper. If you're living in a leasehold property, check if you need building insurance as this is usually covered in the payments you make to the leaseholder. You'll find that most insurers quote a lower price if you buy it online or pay for it in full rather than in monthly instalments.
Once you have quotes, you can phone your current insurer and see if they can match the deals you have been offered elsewhere. If not, you can move to another insurer.
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