With the end of summer fast approaching and the imminent onset of autumn, energy companies have predictably started to put their prices. SSE has already announced that prices will rise in October and more energy companies are sure to follow.
School holidays are coming to an end too and Christmas is on the distant horizon. Time to get motivated about cutting household bills – making and credit card debt manageable, looking at household insurance and seeing what we can save.
Gas and electricity bills – £180
This is a quick way to make savings of up to £180 per year. You may want to consider fixing your tariff now before the other suppliers start to announce their price increases.
Comparing all tariffs and switching is easy and can be done by using the Propertywide comparison service. All you need is your postcode and an estimate of what you use on a monthly basis.
Scottish Power has an online energy fixed deal that will cost the average medium use customer around £1,052 per annum and their price won’t change until November 2013. This tariff is only £2 a year more expensive than Scottish Power’s cheapest plan – one of the top deals on the market.
Another best buy is the EDF Energy Blue Price Promise, which will guarantee no price increase for two winters and average savings for a medium use customer of up to £1,058 per annum.
Broadband, home phone and digital TV – £270
Paying for a bundled service including home phone, broadband and digital TV from one provider can work out substantially cheaper than paying different providers. With different incentives and deals around too, including vouchers and half price deals now is a good time to switch.
You can also save if you are a sports fan and for example only watch Sky Sports for several months of the year. By cancelling your sports pack during the months you don’t use it can save you around £20 a month.
Savings: As much as £270 a year if you currently get television channels (including Sky Sports or movies), broadband or your home phone from different providers and switch to a bundled package.
Car insurance – £400
The first rule is to ensure you always shop around every time your car insurance is due for renewal. Insurers will often discount premiums to attract new customers but often increase the cost of cover for existing customers – even when you have not claimed. You also may want to add or remove additional drivers too as this can also affect your premium depending on their age.
Make sure however that you check the level of cover. Comparison sites are geared towards price – so do check you are getting what you are paying for including such things as excess and legal cover for example.
Home insurance – £100
As with car insurance above, many families continue to just renew their premium every year forgetting that an insurer will often increase it every year even if you have not claimed. Make sure you get an annual quote and shop around and you can save as much as £100 on an annual policy.
Credit cards – £250
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you purchase goods and the company goes bust you will get a refund. However, if you do spend and do not pay the balance of your credit card off in full then the interest can and total debt can rise sharply.
Credit cards should be viewed as short term debt only, however anyone who has balances on their credit card that they cannot pay off in one go, could take advantage of competitive balance transfer deals currently available.
Granted that you should have a good credit score too (check your credit score here for free), some allow you to transfer your debts to an interest-free card (small balance transfer fee) and this can give you as much as two years to pay back with no additional interest (providing you pay at least the minimum balance each month).
It is often advisable that if you use this method to clear balances that you do not use this credit card at all until you have cleared the principal balance transfer debt.
A good deal at the moment is the Barclaycard Platinum card offering 22 months interest free as well as a balance transfer fee of 2.9%.