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But cutting back on the amount you spend doesn’t have to be a real slog. There are plenty of simple steps you can take to give your bank balance a boost.
In fact, here’s 20…
1. Switch to a better energy tariff
Around 10 million people are still on their energy supplier’s expensive standard variable rate.
Yet switching to a better energy deal could save you as much as £670*. And with energy prices on the up, we recommend switching to a fixed rate tariff as it will shelter you from further price increases.
Once you’ve done that, take a look at these top energy saving tips to shave even more off your bills.
2. Don’t auto-renew your car and home insurance
Let’s face it, auto-renewing your car and home insurance is easy to do – you just let your existing insurance company roll you over onto a new policy. But doing so could see you fork out £100s more a year if you’re not on the most competitive deal on the market – and it’s simple to run a quick search on our comparison tables.
3. Change your broadband package
If your broadband provider has told you it’s putting up prices, the good news is you have 30 days from when your provider informed you to cancel your contract penalty-free.
This applies even if you are mid-way through your contract, so long as you took it out after January 24, 2014.
What’s more, as of October 31, 2016, broadband providers have had to make advertising clearer so that customers can compare prices more easily. So it should now be even simpler to find a better deal. You can find out more in this article.
4. Use your library
When was the last time you set foot in a library? If it’s been a while, take the time to pop in and sign up. Think of the money you’ll save on children’s books, cookbooks, the latest bestsellers… the list is endless!
5. Get rid of excess weight in your car
Did you know that for every extra 25kg in weight your car is carrying, fuel consumption will rise by 1%? So check what’s in the boot and get rid of anything you don’t need.
You’ll find more fabulous ways to cut your fuel costs here.
6. Consider a SIM-only deal
If you’re not tied in to a contract and you’re happy with your mobile phone, it makes sense to switch to a SIM-only deal.
Many SIM-only deals are on a one-month rolling contract, which means you can leave with just 30 days’ notice, and they are often significantly cheaper than longer term tariffs.
7. Shift debt interest-free
Paying interest on a credit card? Shift it to a 0% balance transfer card and you could enjoy up to three years or more interest-free.
Bear in mind you’ll usually have to pay a fee to transfer your balance and you’ll need to clear your debt before the interest-free window ends, or you’ll be clobbered with a painful rate of interest.
The very best deals are reserved for those with a good credit score, but our Smart Search tool will show you the cards you’re most likely to be accepted for, and it won’t harm your credit score.
8. Take a healthy packed lunch to work
We all know that spending £5 a day on lunch can add up to around £100 a month, or £1,200 a year, but it can be a struggle to feel motivated enough to whip up a lunch the night before and bring it into work every day.
However, there are some tasty lunch recipes for you to follow here, and if you can stick to this plan, you’ll feel much healthier (and so will your bank balance). What’s more, you won’t feel so guilty about the odd treat.
9. Commute by train? Buy a season ticket
If you regularly commute by train, buying a season ticket is the cheapest way to travel.
And if you haven’t already, it’s worth checking whether your employer offers a season ticket loan scheme (many do) whereby you take an interest-free loan from your employer to cover the cost of your season ticket, and a monthly amount is then taken from your salary to repay the loan.
Alternatively, you could use a 0% purchase credit card to pay for your ticket and then pay it off in monthly instalments.
10. Commute by car? Share a lift
If you travel in to work by car, see whether any of your colleagues live close by and consider lift-sharing. Designate one of you as the driver and split the cost of petrol, or take it in turns to drive.
11. Planning a holiday? Book your airport parking in advance
If you’re going skiing soon or the winter blues have already prompted you to book your next holiday and you’re planning to drive to the airport, you can save a good chunk of money by booking your airport parking space now.
Booking early means that’s one less thing to remember to do, and you won’t have to pay premium prices on the day.
12. Get a water meter
Are there more or the same number of bedrooms in your home as occupants? If so, it could be worth getting a water meter installed.
To find out whether it’s worth it and how much you could save, take a look at this handy calculator from the Consumer Council for Water.
13. On your lender’s SVR? Look for a better mortgage deal
If you’re on your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), it’s well worth switching to a more competitive mortgage. And with interest rates so low, there are plenty of great deals to choose from.
Head over to our comparison tables to take a look or, if you’re not sure which mortgage is best for you, you can call mortgage broker London & Country on 0800 170 1943. It’s completely free.
14. Get a better current account
Whether you’re paying fees for using your overdraft or you religiously stay in the black, switching current accounts could see you much better off.
Some current accounts offer interest and fee-free overdrafts, while others will pay interest on in-credit balances. Some also offer tasty cash incentives for switching.
Find out more about which current account is best for you in this article.
15. Get cheaper life insurance
If you have life insurance but haven’t reviewed your policy lately, you could be paying too much. Policies can start from just £5 a month, so it’s worth shopping around to see if you can get a better deal.
What’s more, if you take out life cover through MoneySuperMarket you will receive a £75 voucher from Argos, M&S or Next. Your voucher of choice is redeemable within 40 days of your third life insurance payment. T&Cs apply. You can find out more here.
16. Opt for pay-as-you-go gym membership
New Year is when many gyms offer ‘tempting’ membership deals – but resist signing up for long contracts unless you’re self-disciplined enough to go most days.
A more cost-effective option is likely to be pay-as-you-go membership. Many gyms now offer 1-day, 30-day or 60-day passes which won’t leave you out of pocket or racked with guilt if you don’t go for a while.
17. Stock up on Christmas gifts in the sales
The last thing you probably want to think about right now is Christmas 2017. But planning ahead and stocking up on Christmas (and birthday) presents in the sales throughout the year will not only save you money, you’ll also feel a little smug when December comes around.
18. Stop smoking
Smoking 20 cigarettes a day could be costing you around £270 a month or £3,240 a year. That’s a lot of money going up in smoke. The NHS website offers support for those looking to quit the habit.
19. Avoid paying for insurance in monthly instalments
Many insurers charge interest for customers paying monthly, so if you can, try to pay for your car and home insurance upfront.
If this is too expensive, you could consider using a 0% purchase credit card to spread the cost interest-free. Just remember to clear the balance before the 0% deal ends.
20. Get cheaper prescriptions
If you have a medical condition that requires regular prescriptions, such as asthma, and you live in England, you can end up paying a small fortune for your medication, with each item currently costing £8.40.
However, if need more than three items in three months, you can save money by getting a three-month prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) for £29.10. Alternatively, if you need more than 12 items in a year, you can get a 12-month PPC for £104.
*10% of customers could save up to £670. MoneySuperMarket Data, May 2016
**51% of customers could save up to £284 Customer Intelligence October 2016
***51% of customers could save up to £75.83. Consumer Intelligence, October 2016.
Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.