MANY household budgets have taken a bettering in the past year and your finances may be stretched further than ever right now.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the fact we’re back in national lockdown may mean you’re feeling even more pessimistic.
But why not make the most of being forced to stay at home by using the time to make huge savings on your outgoings?
In the latest instalment of our Consumer Crew Fix Your Finances series we explain how to save money on your big bills, as well as making simple swaps and changes to your daily routine.
We show what you can do in a day to trigger £2,353 savings by giving your finances a makeover.
7am: Switch to a water meter
Wake up, take a shower, and think about whether you could save by using a water meter.
As a guide, if your home has more bedrooms than people living in it, there’s a good chance you may be able to lower costs.
Check out the CCWater free calculator to see if you’ll be better off.
YEARLY SAVING: £100
7.30am: Get a-head
While you’re at it, look into getting a water efficient shower head fitted.
This will reduce the amount of water you use, without you having to compromise on the power of your shower.
One of these could save a family of four £75 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £120 on water bills if you have a water meter, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
YEARLY SAVING: £195
9am: Turn the thermostat down by one degree
If you’re feeling chilly as you settle down to work at your kitchen table or bedroom office, stay away from the thermostat, and layer up in thick socks and chunky jumpers instead.
Better still, notch the thermostat down by one degree Celsius.
Comparison site uSwitch.com reckons this can save you £75 a year on your heating bills.
YEARLY SAVING: £75
10am: Switch your energy supplier
With energy costs at their highest in the winter months – and especially so this year given we’re spending more time at home – make sure you’re not overpaying for your gas and electricity on a standard tariff.
Even though the energy price cap has fallen recently, it still comes nowhere near the most competitive deals in the market.
FIX YOUR FINANCES
THE SUN’S Consumer Crew series is here to help you Fix Your Finances.
We want to help make you richer in 2021 by transforming your finances.
As always, we will fight your corner. Next week our our Consumer Crew panel will also be on hand to help answer your money questions or problems.
Send your questions to: [email protected]
Switch provider, and you could save £287 a year, according to comparison site Moneysupermarket.com.
Locking into a fixed-term dual-fuel deal is likely to be the cheapest option – but always compare deals carefully.
Also note that some green or “renewable” tariffs are among the cheapest in the market right now, meaning “doing your bit” doesn’t need to cost the earth.
Write down in your diary when your tariff ends so you can be ready to switch again.
YEARLY SAVING: £287
11am: Don’t fill the kettle to the brim
When you need that fresh brew during your morning tea break, only boil the water you actually need.
You might not realise it, but a kettle really sucks up electrical power.
The Energy Saving Trust reckons that by filling the kettle correctly, you could shave £7 off your annual bill.
YEARLY SAVING: £7
1pm: Try downshifting to own brands
As you tuck into your home-made sandwich or salad at lunchtime, make a pledge to start buying supermarket own brands when you do your food shop – rather than premium brands.
You probably won’t taste the difference on many products, and it could save you a packet.
Consumer site MoneySavingExpert reckons downshifting could save you £15 a week.
YEARLY SAVING: £780
5pm: Unplug devices and switch off standby mode
Once you’ve finished work for the day, don’t leave laptops and other devices on standby.
Get into the habit of turning everything off at the plug – as even a fully charged mobile phone will continue to drain small amounts of energy if left plugged in.
You can save around £30 just by remembering to switch off standby mode, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
YEARLY SAVING: £30
7pm: Resist the temptation for a takeaway
At the end of a long day of home-schooling, if you can’t face cooking up yet another meal from whatever you can find in the freezer, you may be tempted to treat yourself to a takeaway.
But for a family of four, this could easily mean forking out around £40, including delivery fees.
If you’re used to having a take-out meal once a month, cut this out, and you could save a hefty £480 a year.
YEARLY SAVING: £480
8pm: Find a better broadband provider
As you sit down to watch Netflix on your smart TV, while your partner scrolls through Instagram on their mobile and your kids are glued to their gaming, seize the opportunity to make savings on your broadband.
With fast fibre-optic broadband being rolled out to more and more of the UK, there’s no excuse for not having a decent speed in your home.
This is more important than ever during lockdown, when there may be multiple family members vying for bandwidth.
If you’re out of the minimum contract with your broadband provider, get searching for a new deal right away.
Comparison site uSwitch.com reckons average annual savings of £159 could be made by switching broadband and home phone.
YEARLY SAVING: £159
9.30pm Ditch your costly TV package
While you’re bingeing your latest series, ask yourself honestly if you’re getting full value from your expensive TV subscription package.
If you’re not, maybe try a combination of just Freeview and Netflix instead.
Netflix currently costs £8.99 a month, but this is due to rise to £9.99 a month from February. Despite this, there are still savings to be made – and especially if you are happy to downgrade to a basic Netflix offering for £5.99.
Consumer site, MoneyComms reckons that ditching a costly package in favour of having only Freeview and basic Netflix could easily save you £20 per month.
YEARLY SAVING: £240
If you're looking for others ways to cut costs see how a single-mum-paid-off-16k-debt in two-years with easy-tips to save money.
Fancy having more disposable income? then read these thrifty tips on how to save-thousands in your household-budget.
It's important to know the facts when deciding to deal with spiralling debt and not be drawn by misleading debt-ads which are now banned.
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