How to save money on your utility bills
Easily reduce your spending on household costs
Household costs such as gas, electricity, water, broadband and mobile phones take up a huge chunk of most household budgets – yet with just a few minutes’ work it’s easy to make changes that could save you hundreds of pounds a year. By simply changing your behaviours and being in control of your costs you’ll not only save money, you’ll save energy too – a win-win!
Gas and electricity
If you’re out of your supplier contract, then switching energy providers is easier than you think. According to Ofgem, the energy supplier regulator, it can often just take minutes to switch and it can save the average household £200 a year.
The easiest way to view and compare alternative suppliers’ contracts, to see which would suit your own energy consumption, is to visit a comparison site – such as the Energy Helpline, which compares all UK energy suppliers.
On 1 January 2019 Ofgem’s new dual fuel price cap came into effect, meaning as many as 11 million UK households could save on their fuel bills. Energy suppliers now have to cut their prices to the level of, or below, the cap. The cap is reviewed every April and October and from 1 April 2019 it increased to £1,254 per year for a typical dual fuel customer paying by direct debit.
Ofgem has estimated that the cap saves consumers who use a typical amount of gas and electricity around £75 a year on average. However, be sure to check how you could save money on your utility bills, and remember that the cap is a maximum and so there may be some cheaper deals out there.
Another way to save money is to use less energy. The Energy Saving Trust’s website has plenty of tips and ideas for quick ways to save energy daily in your home. Switching off appliances on standby, only filling a kettle with the water you need and fitting a water-efficient shower head are just some of its suggestions. You can also use the site to find out about bigger projects such as cavity wall insulation and solar power installation and whether these could be beneficial to you.
Home phone and broadband
uSwitch, the impartial energy comparison site, estimates the average household can save £69 a year by switching supplier when its broadband contract ends. To find out what deals are currently available for your postcode, you could also try using price comparison sites such as Broadbandgenie.
You can also save money by avoiding calling at peak times and staying within your data allowance – check your tariff for more information. Paying by direct debit is also often cheaper than waiting for a monthly invoice, and means you won’t forget to pay.
Ofcom-approved Billmonitor reported that in 2017 mobile phone networks overcharged UK businesses and consumers by over £7 billion, while consumer champion Which? estimates that on a more personal level, 70% of consumers could save £159 a year by a having a contract better suited to their needs.
So when you’re coming to the end of your contract, it pays to look into whether you could save money by switching to a contract more in line with your call and data usage pattern.
If you don’t already have a water meter, you may be able to save money by switching to one. Use a water usage calculator such as the Consumer Council for Water’s to find out. The Money Advice Service reports that switching could save you around £100 per year.
Whether you have a meter or not, reducing your water usage will be good for the planet (as well as your energy bills, if you use less hot water). The Energy Saving Trust’s website gives plenty of tips about good habits to get into: turning off the tap while you brush your teeth and only using your washing machine with a full load are just a couple.
With fuel costs on the rise again, it pays to plan ahead when filling up. Find the cheapest fuel prices in your area by using a fuel-saving service such as Petrolprices.com. The Money Advice Service estimates that saving just 5p a litre on the price of petrol or diesel could save the average driver £100 a year.
Changing the way you drive can also help you get more out of the fuel you buy and save you a significant amount of money. The AA, the British motoring association, found that the average driver could go 10% further on a tank of fuel by changing a few habits, including accelerating gently, changing up gear earlier and avoiding unnecessary breaking.
Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.