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Focusing on reducing your household bills will be the best way for you to save some extra cash, as it means you are getting the same service for less without the need to change anything about your lifestyle.
The first tip is checking your gas and electricity supplier to see if you could save by switching. Sometimes even just calling your provider to let them know you want to know if there is a cheaper tariff can be worth doing. If they tell you that you’re on the best tariff for your usage, you can start to shop around.
Most people are guilty of sticking to their gas and electric supplier as they think it will be a hassle to switch and they won’t save that much for the effort, but it can be straightforward and the amount you save can be surprising. Where you live and your usage will depend on who is best for you to switch to, so take advantage of comparison sites to help guide you if you are unsure.
Another benefit of using comparison sites is that they will sometimes offer you cash back when you switch through them. It is also worth checking how long you need to stay with a company before you can benefit from the rewards or reduced price, before committing to changing.
This brings us to the next tip which is to switch banks and be rewarded for doing so. Banks such as Halifax and HSBC all offer cash back for switching and many others offer non-cash incentives such as higher interest current accounts. Switching banks is a lot easier than is used to be so if you haven’t changed in years you may be surprised at how quick it is.
In 2013 ‘faster switching scheme’ was introduced to ensure that customer who want to switch bank accounts will be able to do so within seven working days, including all of your incoming and outgoing payments to move, with any incorrectly applied charges refunded to you. The rewards for switching banks outweigh the benefits of staying loyal to one in particular for many years.
Reducing your water bills is another way to reduce your household expenses. Unlike gas and electricity, you can’t switch water providers to save money as the water providers in England, Scotland and Wales are currently set in geographical locations. To save money you can consider switching to a water meter if you aren’t already on one. A water meter will charge you based on your consumption of water and sewage so you only pay for what you use. Fixed water charges are dependent on the size of your home, so the amount you use is actually irrelevant.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have more or the same number of bedrooms in your house than people living there, you should consider calculating if it’s worth you switching, as you could be paying more. If you find after you switch that you in fact aren’t saving any money, you have the right to switch back within a year.
Craig Rutherford is the managing director of Refused Car Finance.