Saving on your household bills - how to get started
Most people would probably say they could do with cutting their household costs - in fact, last year, almost two-thirds of us had to borrow to meet the cost of essential bills.
It can be hard to know how to go about cutting back, especially on essential bills like electricity, gas, broadband and phone but, according to independent price comparison and switching service Switcher.ie, there are some easy things you can do to get started…
Cut down on your energy usage
There are two main things you can do to cut down on your energy costs - reduce your energy usage and pay as little as possible for the energy you do use.
In terms of cutting down on your energy usage, there are lots of straightforward things you can do around the home to get started, such as:
● Sealing off any draughts around windows and doors
● Turning your heating down by one degree - this can knock up to 10% off your heating bill.
● Closing your curtains when possible - even in empty rooms
● Only filling the kettle with as much water as you need when you’re boiling it
● Using energy-saving light bulbs, which use much less energy and last lots longer than standard bulbs
You can find out more in Switcher.ie’s dedicated energy-saving guides.
Longer term, installing a smart thermostat to help you to effectively manage your home heating could be a good idea, and it’s also worth talking to your energy supplier or the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
There is a lot of money available for grants and financial help to install energy saving measures, which will make a big difference in the long-run.
Save on your energy bills by switching
Along with cutting down on your usage, the biggest saving you will make on your energy bills comes from switching to a discounted deal.
Most energy contracts are 12 months long, so if you’ve been with your supplier longer than that, take a look at Switcher.ie’s free, impartial gas and electricity comparison to see if you can find a better deal.
The average dual fuel customer can currently save up to €362 by moving from standard tariffs to the cheapest deals on the market, and you’ll save even more if you have higher consumption.
Review your grocery spend
Lots of us are in a situation where we buy the same groceries each time we go to the supermarket, without considering what we really use and what we end up throwing out time and again. Take a month or so to review your habits when it comes to the food you buy and use, and make appropriate changes to your grocery shopping using this information. Even if you don’t waste much food, you could still make savings by switching from branded to own-brand products - for example porridge, tea, coffee, milk, ketchup etc.
Make a change to your broadband, TV and phone plan
Have you been on the same plan for a while? If so, the chances are you could get a more suitable deal by switching. For example, if you regularly stream content on the likes of Netflix - which is becoming more and more popular - you could save a packet by switching from an all-inclusive deal to a broadband-only plan.
If you’re not willing to make the move away from traditional TV, you could still make significant savings by shopping around for a new deal. Generally, providers offer big introductory discounts for the first few months of a plan, and you could get additional features or services, too.
See if you can get a discount by switching from monthly to annual payments If you pay any of your insurances, or even things like your gym membership, on a monthly basis, see if you can afford to pay the annual fee upfront instead. The chances are you’re paying extra for the convenience of paying on a monthly basis, so although paying upfront will be a larger outlay of cash in one go, it will save you in the long run.
Move to a SIM-only mobile deal
If you signed up a mobile deal with a handset included, you will have been paying back the cost of your phone over the lifetime of the contract. Check with your provider to see if your phone contract is up.
If so, and you’re happy with your handset, switching to a SIM-only plan could save you hundreds of euro per year.
Take it one step at a time
Don’t feel you have to take on all of these changes in one go. Pick out a couple that you think could work for you, and try to introduce them gradually - you should really notice the difference adding up over time.
Content provided by switcher.ie
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