Cutting House Bills to the Bare Bones

You know that feeling when you receive a bunch of mail in the post, hoping one of the envelopes encloses within it a gift voucher from Anthropologie or a postcard from your bestie in New York, only to discover that 90% of it is bills? Yeah. Isn’t that seriously the worst?

Recent stats indicate that consumers are consistently overcharged for gas and electricity, which has even got the British MP’s complaining about the big four energy companies ‘ripping off’ their customers.

So, does this mean you should resign yourself and accept that you’re doomed to a life of soaring direct debits? Not quite. While we can’t banish your bills, we sure can help reduce them.

Intrigued (who wouldn’t be)? Read on to find 7 painless ways to cut your bill spending. 

  • Finders = keepers. Beat the price hikes by shopping around for a better tariff, and make sure you sign up for a fixed deal. First time switching suppliers? Here’s some food for thought: if you do go ahead and make the switch, you could save £200 a year or more. Check out Ofgem’s Be An Energy Shopper to find the best deal for you and your wallet.
  • Bid farewell to cash payments. When it comes to paying for gas and electricity, direct debit is king. If you’re used to cheques and other old-school payment methods - stop. Setting up direct debits will save you money in the long run.
  • Upgrade your boiler. Efficiency is key to saving money on gas and electricity, and guess what's not at all efficient? Old boilers. If your boiler hasn’t seen an upgrade in 10 plus years, replacing your ‘vintage’ model could see you saving over £250 a year.
  • Pay attention to your mobile and broadband. Are you up to date with how much data you’re paying for and if you’re actually using it? Double-check your broadband and mobile plans - it's highly likely you're paying too much. Call your provider and ask for a better deal, but do your research beforehand. “‘I know that (competitor) offer such and such deal - can you beat the offer?” works like a charm. And don’t forget to make the most of money-saving deals like free European roaming.
  • Turn off the tap. The average water bill in the UK comes to about £385 per year, so it’s no wonder many households are looking for ways to cut the cost. The easiest way to do this is to reduce your water consumption. If you pay a fixed rate for your water bills, you should look into getting a water meter. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could try collecting rainwater - God knows there’s plenty of it in England. But personally, I think we’ll stick to the meter option.
  • Check that council tax. If you live alone or are a student, you are eligible for a council tax discount. If you own a holiday home, you could be eligible for a second/holiday home reduction, so make sure to check your local council’s guidelines, and, if you think you should be paying less, write to them.
  • Switch off the TV. Do you honestly make the most of your Sky TV subscription? If you watch less than 5 shows or sports matches a week, the answer is decidedly a “no”. You can catch up on most of your favourite series via BBC or Channel 4 iPlayer online (just don’t forget to pay your TV license), or, perhaps more revolutionarily, you could opt for reading a book!