When things are tight, all of us at one time or another think about cutting the household monthly budget. We check the electric bill, we check the gas bill, we look at the phone TV deals we pay for, and the weekly shopping bills. Eventually, ending up doing nothing. Usually because we look short term and the possible savings just don’t seem worth the effort. So let’s have a look longer term, it could save you thousands a year.
As your single biggest financial commitment, hunting round for a better mortgage deal can often save you £1000+ a year, that’s almost £20/wk. Did you know there are over 6,000 different mortgage products in the UK? Are you sure you’ve got the best one for your needs? Certainly it takes a bit of work, and certainly there will be some initial outlay. But the prospect of a healthy reduction in your monthly mortgage payments should make it all worthwhile. There are some great online sites that walk you through the process from beginning to end, to help make it as painless as possible.
Do you have high credit card debt?
If you find your credit card debt continues to creep upward, or you’re stuck in the minimum monthly payment trap, time to do some comparing. If you’ve chosen the minimum repayment road, did you know you will likely still be paying off the debt 30 years from now? The credit card people love those kinds of deals. Move the debt to a lower interest card, and make sure you’re paying as much as you can above the minimum required. The saving could be over £150/year and considerably more long term if you’re on minimum repayment.
Another option is to increase your remortgage and use the extra cash to pay off the credit card debt. Yes your monthly payment increases slightly, but that is offset by no longer having any high interest credit card payments to make. Just make sure it stays that way.
Phone TV deals can increase without you realising it. There’s a new cartoon package the kids want. A new sports package your partner wants. They all get added to the main package with just a cursory glance at the additional monthly cost. Everyone in the house has a mobile. Do you still have a landline – why? Nowadays you can save a bundle by having a look at the Wi-Fi and broadband choices available. Do away with the landline you use just because it’s there, and change to a mobile package that suits your personal needs. Nowadays you could save over half of what you currently pay monthly.
Gas and Electricity suppliers:
Even with all the TV, newspaper and online hype about suppliers charging too much for their gas and electricity, 60% of UK households are still on variable tariffs. With the influx of smaller suppliers into the energy market, competition is increasing and prices slowly being forced down. It takes less than 30 minutes to check out the cheapest energy suppliers in your area, and the savings could run into hundreds over a 12 month period.
If your house is pre 1990 you probably don’t have a water meter. Your water charges are based on rateable value immaterial of how much water you use. For a couple in a three-bed semi who use little water, asking for a meter to be installed could considerably reduce your bill. On the downside, if you have a family of six in that three-bed semi, installing a meter may well increase your bill, so do your homework.
Every little helps:
Home insulation grants are well worth applying for. Your well insulated home will reduce energy bills and increase the resale value of the property. What’s not to like. Start changing your home lighting to LED lighting. It doesn’t have to be done in one go, just add a new LED as each old bulb fails.
If you insist on having a credit card, apply for a cash back one, and make sure it’s paid off every month.
Get on those comparison sites and start checking all your insurance policies from car, mortgage, and contents insurance to life insurance. The chances are you’re paying well over the odds for most of them, especially if they were taken out through a bank.
Finally, a little frugal shopping will save you £10 a week; and a lot more if you have a large family. Put it all together and no – you’re probably not as cash strapped as you thought you were.