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How to Slash Household Bills in Half

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) utilities are among the biggest drains on a family’s budget. What if you could slash the bills below?

1) Electricity                

2) Water                      

3) Council tax

4) Gas                           

5) Mortgage or rent   

6) Homeowners or renter’s insurance

7) Internet                    

8) Phone bill    

Couple budgeting and searching for deals

           

The first step to cutting down on energy bills is to look for a better deal. Fortunately, the UK has a relatively small number of energy suppliers, and switching is very easy.

Switching could save you hundreds of pounds per year. Just visit Uswitch, and enter a few details to secure a better deal. Notably, your current provider might charge you an exit fee.

Energy efficient appliances can make a big difference. I saved £40 a month after getting an energy efficient television. Energy saving lightbulbs and smart thermostats make a huge difference. For instance, a Nest Thermostat can regulate energy usage automatically.

Energy costs count for a significant percentage of household bills; therefore small lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

– Set a time slot for showering. That way the boiler isn’t being “overused” throughout the day.

– Cook in bulk and freeze. This saves you time and energy costs.

– Turn off the radiator in rooms which are unlikely to be used for a long period of time.

– Check your home for holes and gaps. Draught excluders are cheap and block gaps in doorways so that your home requires less energy to heat.

– Turn down the thermostat a few degrees and wear an extra layer in winter.

You could cut the costs of your water bill by using a water meter calculator.

Mortgage, rent and council tax

Your local council might offer a discount or exemption based on your situation. Sometimes these are triggered automatically. However, this isn’t always the case; therefore, you could end up paying more than required.

Visit the government’s council tax discount webpage. You will be prompted to enter your postcode. This will direct to your local council’s council tax exemption page. Check whether any of the scenarios apply to you.

Housing costs are among the highest bills of any household. It can be painful to see that money disappear out of the pay check each month. However, what if you could reduce this cost.

Let’s start with rent.

If your bank balance is feeling the squeeze, let your landlord know. They might offer reduced rent or offer a short “payment holiday”.

 Notably, most landlords price their rentals at a higher rate. People rarely negotiate in order to find their last price.

Your negotiation arm is stronger if you are a good tenant and keep their property in very good condition.

Aim to negotiate a 5 – 10% reduction. The worst they can say is “no”, but as the saying goes “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

When it comes to your mortgage, you have a lot more leeway when it comes to getting it reduced.

If your mortgage downpayment was less than 20%, you may have been “encouraged” to take mortgage insurance. However, once you pay off 20%, you can get a better deal on the insurance.

Interestingly, mortgage lenders are very good at keeping quiet about this; therefore, you could be leaking money on your home. Please double check the terms and conditions of your mortgage policy.

Notably, some insurance companies have a close business relationship with lenders. Therefore, you probably didn’t get the best deal.

Rent out a room

If you have a spare room, why not rent it out? The extra money could be used towards savings or to offset other costs. Alternatively, you could use Airbnb to rent out a room for a short period.

Quick tip: If you are off on holiday rent out your property through Airbnb. Ou might be surprised at how much you could make.

Internet and phone bills 

I bounced from one telecom provider to the other, and struggled to find one with good service and great value for money. However, after finding giffgaff, I encouraged my entire family to join. We get free calls to each other, “goodybags”/packages starting from £5 a month, 4G internet and great international calling rates. There are no contracts and they will even help to move your number.

Fortunately broadband is incredibly competitive in the U.K. Therefore, providers are constantly trying to outdo themselves with regard to price, speed and reliability. There are two ways to slash your broadband bill.

1) Find a better broadband deal, then call up your current broadband provider and ask them to match it or provide a better rate. Their cancellation departments are giving some leeway with regard to rates. I received a 20% reduction.

If they are unable to match the best rate, use topcashback in order to get some money back for switching. Cashback is painless and more people should do it.

The money saving power of cashback and Amazon Prime

For some years I have made a tidy pot of money just by shopping like I normally would.

Cashback sites give money back if you buy using a special link. They are paid some money for referring you to their “partners” and some of it is passed on to you. The hope is that you end up buying things you wouldn’t normally buy. However, if you are disciplined you could make decent money from this.

I use Topcashback to buy groceries, train tickets, book hotels etc.,

Services and products bought through special link are tracked and commissions added to your account. Payouts can be made directly into your bank account or in the form of vouchers.

Even if this is the only technique you use out of this whole article, you could save yourself thousands per year just by shopping like you normally do. Combine cashback with seasonal sales to save even more money.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime has saved us a lot of money. We have been able to get rid of Netflix and Spotify, save hundreds of pounds per year with exclusive sales and shipping fees.

Amazon Prime comes with:

– Free unlimited one day or same day delivery on eligible products

– Unlimited streaming of movies and tv shows via Amazon video

– 30 minutes early access to lightning deals

– Unlimited streaming of millions of songs

It costs £79 per year, or £39 per year for students.

Cutting Transportation costs

According to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) UK families spend an average of £72.50 per week on transportation.  If you drive, there is the cost of insurance, maintenance, fuel, and possibly monthly repayments of your car loan. If you don’t drive, transportation costs can still be quite expensive

What if you could take a hammer to those costs?

If you use a train or coach to get to work, you could get cashback through Topcashback.

Vehicle owners have more choice when it comes to money saving techniques.

Some people get an expensive car with high monthly payments because they believe that it will make them look better or that they “deserve it”. However, it can become a silent killer of your monthly budget. Reducing a car payment is one of the single biggest things you can do to unlock more money which you can put towards savings.

Compare car insurance providers to make sure that you are getting the best deal

If you plan on purchasing a car in the near future, pay particular consideration to the cost of monthly repayments, and convert it to a percentage of your income. It is better to buy a used car which is fully paid for than a flashy one with big monthly repayments.

Vehicles lose their value very quickly. Therefore, they aren’t an investment. As a result, when it is time to sell or trade it in, you might be shocked at the amount you get. Being able to afford the monthly repayments doesn’t mean you can afford the car. What if your situation changes?

Depending on your situation, carpooling with services such as Blablacar or Liftshare could save you a lot of money. For instance, in my current situation, it made more financial sense to use Uber, Lyft and the train to get around.

Cutting the food bill

Family food shopping

We all have to eat; therefore, there is no dodging the grocery bill. But what if you could cut it significantly?

Firstly, if you aren’t already signed up to the loyalty program of your favourite supermarket, get it done. For instance, I carry a Clubcard, Nectar card and IKEA card everywhere I go. The IKEA card offers reduced food and freebies in any IKEA restaurant. As a result, this cuts down the cost of days out with the family.

Nectar gives me points for more than 500 brands, plus exclusive discounts. The Tesco club card comes with points but also has “boosts” which give me access to cheaper products and services from their partners.

When shopping, the lower you go the cheaper the items get. They place all the name brand goods at eye level and all the store brands close to the floor. For even cheaper food check out my favourite discount supplier. This site alone slashed my food bill by 30%.

Pre-packaged and microwaveable food might seem like a good deal, but over time they could actually hurt your pocket. Moreover, they are usually loaded with preservatives, sugar and salt.

Instead of buying microwaveable meals or canned food, cook in bulk, separate it out into different plastic bowls and then freeze it. This also saves you on the cost of takeaways and eating it. Most people overpay for food out of convenience.

I also use a free-to-use site called Supercook in order to get recipes based on what I have in my kitchen. Simply type in a list of ingredients and supercool will show you different recipes which fit. This is incredibly useful for when you are feeling a bit adventurous.

Some food brands offer discounts if you are part of their mailing list. Just search for them on Google and join their mailing lists. This is incredibly useful for products you buy on a regular basis. You might be surprised to know that you can get vouchers off your next shop just by asking. Just call or send an email.

Checkoutsmart is an app which enables you to get some money back from your groceries. Simply scan your receipt to get some money back. You can also check out the daily deals for a clear indication of how much you can make. This saves me hundreds of pounds over the course of a year. And I know it sounds crazy but it works and it costs nothing, so check it out.

Pack your own lunch

On average, workers spend £5 a day on lunch. Therefore, if you work 5 days a week, that is more than a thousand pounds per year spent on a packed lunch. That is money which could go into savings.

Get a mason jar and check out these easy to prepare healthy recipes.

Final thoughts

If you found this post useful or interesting, please share it on social media. I hope that it helps you to cut your household bills while increasing your standard of living.

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