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Last week (Friday 12th October) British Gas caused panic for many of its customers as they announced that they were increasing their prices for both gas and electricity. The latest increase, follows Scottish Southern Electricity, and is estimated to add an average of £80 a year onto customers’ bills. At a time when many are already struggling, then this could dramatically impact people’s budgets. On top of utility bills rising, rent is also on the rise (see our rent blog here) mortgages are hard to get and when you do there are constant fears that the interest rate will rise. And then there the, what feels like, constant increase in the cost of food, fuel, going out, staying in and anything else that we enjoy doing.  Some days you may feel like all you can afford to do is sit in a cold dark room. Do not fear though, we have put together a list of ways in which you can cut down your household bills so that you can get back to having a little bit of a life at least…

  • Put together a list of all of you incoming’s and outgoings so that you can clearly see exactly what you are spending each month. Without this you cannot see where you can cut down.
  • Split your expenditure into two categories – fixed and variable. Fixed will consist of your mortgage or rent, council tax, utility bills and insurances amongst other things. Variable will consist of shopping, fuel, public transport, mobile phones and leisure outings amongst other things.
  • Look at your variable expenditure and see where you can make instant cut backs.
  • For your fixed expenses look at ones that can be changed such as insurances when they are up for renewal and utility bills and see where you can save money.
  • Use comparison websites such as Energy Helpline, Compare The Market, or Confused or anyone of the other well know comparison services to see if you are getting the best deal.
  • Consider walking to work or using the bus instead of driving. Calculate the difference in costs, use the AA’s car cost calculator as a rough guide.
  • Could you go onto a Pay As You Go sim instead of contract? You could save yourself a lot, and will only be paying for what you actually use as some contracts come with too much “free” add on’s that you may not use.
  • Consider either changing supermarkets or downgrading a brand on products. If you normally buy branded products such as Heinz, try the supermarket own brands or their value you range.  For example when we checked* the prices of beans Smart Price were 26p, Asda branded were 39p and Heinz were 50p. You could save almost 50 per cent by switching from Heinz to Smart Price.
  • If you are a member of the gym, unless you regularly go consider cancelling your membership as soon as you can. To keep fit why not go for a run in your local park or if you have a bike go out for a ride.
*Checked on Friday 12th October at 3pm.