9 practical tips for cutting your household expenses

December 6, 2016

We all want to save on our household bills and have more money in our pocket for the fun things in life. While bills are an unavoidable fact of life, here are some ways you can help to reduce them:

  1. Switch energy supplier. If you’ve never switched supplier, then you could be looking at saving upwards of £300 a year by seeking out a cheaper tariff. Don’t be scared of switching – it is exactly the same gas and the same electricity being supplied, the only thing that changes is the company who you pay your bills to.
  2. Now you’ve switched your energy tariff and secured a cheap deal, monitor your usage! Turning your thermostat down just one degree can save you up to 10 per cent on your heating bill. Simple things such as switching off unnecessary gadgets at the wall rather than leaving them on standby, turning off lights when you leave the room, and only boiling as much water in the kettle as you need to can add up to some serious savings over the course of a year.
  3. Consider a water meter. If you are you paying a set amount for your water rather than being charged for what you actually use, you could be paying over the odds. Huge savings can be made for smaller households or low water users. There may be a charge to get a water meter fitted, but if you are making substantial savings on your bill, you may find the sums add up in your favour over time.
  4. Shop smarter. A study has shown that 22,000 tonnes worth of meat is thrown away each year in Scotland, at an estimated cost of £140 million. It is estimated that each household in Scotland could save as much as £460 a year by reducing this avoidable food waste. Try creating a meal plan to help you avoid buying too much food in your weekly shop. By cooking in bulk and freezing the leftovers for another day you could be saving yourself time and money.
  5. Review your TV package. If you have a costly monthly subscription, you should ask yourself whether you really use all the channels, or if you be better off ditching it. Providers such as Netflix or Now TV offer their TV packages without tying you into a lengthy contract, giving you the option to cancel if you find yourself not watching it much.
  6. Go through your direct debits and see whether there are that any you can cut. Do you have an old magazine subscription still running that you no longer read, or maybe you are forking out for a gym membership but cannot remember the last time you went for a workout? Direct debits set up a long time ago can easily slip through the net, yet cancelling them is easy to do and you can be rewarded with big savings.
  7. Ensure you are paying the correct amount of council tax. There are subsidies available to certain people which reduces the amount of council tax they need to pay. If you are a single person, a student, or have a severe mental impairment (or live with anyone that has), you could be entitled to a reduction of 25% from your council tax.
  8. Shop around for insurance rather than just auto-renewing. Just as with your energy supplier, unfortunately loyalty does not pay and you could save yourself potentially hundreds of pounds by shopping around before buying insurance. Comparison websites make this easier than ever, allowing you to get quotes from a range of companies at once.
  9. Ensure you are on the right mobile phone contract for your usage. You may be paying a premium for a host of features you don’t ever use such as unlimited calls when you mainly use the phone for texting, or a hefty data package when all you usually do is call and text.

John Baird

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 0800 063 9250

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