Is shopping around for better utility deals really worth the effort? Take a look at how I save somebody over £2000 per year.
Yes, it’s quite sad but I really do enjoy saving people money. I never thought I could find a job that I would like to do full time, but if I could, saving other people money would be it.
I have lost count of the number of people that I have helped switch energy providers over the last couple of years and I’m constantly pointing out great utility deals to friends.
My wife recently told one of her friends about my blog and she was very interested in switching energy deals. I did say that I was happy to look at other ways to save on bills and I was pleased she accepted. Not only did this give me a chance to help somebody, but it also gave me an opportunity to write a blog post about it!
The lady in question isn’t actually called Emma but I’m not keen on revealing somebody else’s personal finances across the internet. Luckily, Emma was more than happy to bring all her bills and bank statements for me to look at. In the UK, I think many of us don’t like others knowing our financial business, so it was nice to be able to get a good overview.
The first stop was changing energy suppliers. This is always my favourite as it’s quick and easy to do and can save some decent money, Emma was on SSE’s standard tariff, which meant she was paying far more than she needed to. A quick check on uSwitch showed that Bulb was offering the cheapest deal and reduced Emma’s bill by just under £35 per month. Another bonus was that we both earned £50 from my Bulb referral link as I was already a customer. However, Octopus also offers similar deals.
TV and broadband
Next was TV, phone and broadband. Emma had all three with Sky. You do receive a discount for this, but I often find that you can still get a better deal if you arrange these things individually. To my surprise, Emma said that they were willing to get rid of Sky altogether if it meant saving extra money! However, they did already subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Video, so they weren’t short on options of things to watch. And these services are far better value in my opinion.
Scrapping Sky TV saved over £60 per month and meant we were free to choose a new broadband provider. Again, another check on uSwitch showed that Plusnet was offering one of the best deals at £23.99 per month – almost £9 cheaper than Emma was paying for her current service. But that wasn’t all. Purchasing the Plusnet deal through TopCashback earned Emma £70 cashback.
Another bonus was that Emma had Sky Protect Plus at £11.99. This can be quite good value if you have several high value items to insure but there’s no point if you no longer have Sky. Needless to say, this was cancelled.
I can’t actually take the credit for this one but I’m going to include it anyway as it should prove useful to somebody. Emma had a mobile from Tesco at £40 per month which she thought was due to end. Checking on her Tesco account, it showed that the contract did indeed end later that month, this was due to
The debt on Emma’ credit card stood at £7000. Emma and her husband were paying off far more than the minimum amount, but £136 of this was being eaten up by interest. So it was another trip to Uswitch to see the best balance transfer available.
Barclaycard had a 0% card on offer for a total of 33 months. An elegibility test showed that Emma qualified and it was just a matter of applying. After 25 minutes of filling out the form (we had an error the 1st time around) Emma was offered a card that allowed her to transfer £3600. This did come with a fee of £70.20 but a cashback deal that came with the card reduced this by £20. In total, this meant an immediate saving of around £70 per month in interest. As Emma could now focus on clearing the balance from her original credit card, it should be under a year before she stops paying any interest at all.
Paid for banking
I can’t stress how simple this is. There are several banks that give you cashback when you pay bills by direct debit. It’s very easy to swap to one of these accounts and all the hard work is done for you. One account that offers cashback is the Natwest Reward account. Emma already banked with Natwest, so it was a case of just spending 2 minutes filling out details and pressing the switch button. The account costs £2 per month but Emma would earn £5.50 back from her direct debits.
The work above took us just over 2 hours. This doesn’t involve calling Sky to cancel, but this doesn’t usually take more than 30 minutes.
This work from such a short length of time meant a saving of £201.53 per month. Including cashback (and taking away credit card fees) this equals an annual saving of £2488.16. This is more than the average monthly wage in UK.
I know most people don’t enjoy swapping bills, but a couple of hours work can save you a lot of money.