Household bills can cause sleepless nights if you’re a student watching every penny. Luckily there are plenty of straightforward ways to reduce yours significantly. Some are common sense, but others might just surprise you.
The good news is energy tariffs have fallen over the last two years thanks to falling wholesale prices. But energy bills are still by far the biggest household expense for most students. With a few adjustments, however, you could make some serious savings.
Okay, so household admin isn’t exactly a thrill a minute. But what if we told you switching providers could save you a not-too-shabby £321 a year? According to comparison site UK Power, that’s quite possible. With companies reducing tariffs between a meagre 5pc and a generous 25pc, it pays to shop around more than ever. The website uSwitch is another good way of comparing providers and they’ll email you when new, better deals come on the market. Sign up to your new provider via Quidco.com and you’ll earn cashback too.
Pay Direct Debit
This applies to all your bills, from electricity to home insurance. E.ON customers save £70 per year just by opting for Direct Debit. And given how easy it is to forget to pay a bill when you’re busy socialising and studying, you’ll save on late charges too.
Not only can you pat yourself on the back for doing your bit to save the planet, you can save yourself a pretty penny too. Replace 10 light bulbs with the energy saving variety and you’ll pocket £70 a year according to Which? Save another £85 per year just by turning your thermostat down by one degree (Energy Saving Trust).
We’ve all got to eat. Luckily a bit of savvy shopping and perishables planning can reduce your food bills by a mouthwatering amount.
Spot the tricks of the trade
Just because something costs more, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Often, you’re paying extra just for clever branding and marketing. Next time you reach for a premium pack of fishcakes, consider trying the basic one instead. You might find the difference isn’t worth paying for. And now for something quite shocking. A Which? investigation in 2013 discovered many sale items were more expensive than the non-sale. That’s because sneaky retailers will up the price per item in multi-buy offers and increase a product’s original price to make their deals look a lot better than they really are. Tsk tsk.
Buy wonky vegetables
Mainly because potatoes shaped like rude bits of anatomy will make everyone laugh. But there’s another advantage too. Asda’s ‘wonky veg box’ can feed four people for just £3.50 a week. Pass us that three-legged carrot.
Beat the use-by
Did you know you can freeze cheese? Well, you can, and a whole lot of other things you never realised too. Fresh herbs, nuts, cooked rice (just make sure you don’t leave it standing around on the side for too long or you risk food poisoning), bananas and wine are all suitable for your freezer. And if you can’t extend the lifetime this way, remember every product is safe to eat after the best-before, which just means it has optimal taste before this date.
According to a recent Which? report, millions of mobile phone customers throw away an average of £159 every year because they’re on the wrong plan. Contact your network for an analysis of your usage or visit Bill Monitor.
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