Monthly expenses tend to take up a huge chunk of our earnings each month. While some, like rent or mortgage payments, council tax, and water rates can’t usually be negotiated, the good news is that many of the other things that you pay for on a month-to-month basis can often be reduced by doing a little homework, shopping around for the best deals and cutting out the unnecessary. In fact, by spending some time going over your monthly outgoings and looking for a cheaper alternative, you might even be able to save hundreds of pounds each month that you can put in a savings account or put towards treating yourself instead. Here are some of the top monthly expenses that you can reduce, and how to do it.
Everybody today needs a smartphone; they’ve become an integral part of life and you probably use yours for everything from making and receiving calls to video calling with family and friends, posting on social media, productivity, exercise, cooking, shopping, and much more. But the good news is that you don’t need to pay through your nose for a smartphone.
Most people get their smartphones on a monthly contract but fail to realise that once the minimum term, usually 24 months, has passed, they don’t need to carry on paying that same amount to the network. If your smartphone contract is up and you are happy with the handset that you have, switching to SIM only deals is one of the best ways to save money. If you want to learn more about what’s available, you can find some of the best SIM only deals on Lebara, which is an especially good choice if you have family or friends overseas as some international minutes are included in the deals.
Your gas and electric rates are one of those monthly utilities that you can change at any time. And, prices in this industry are always changing, so even if you think you’re getting the best deal, shop around and use a comparison site to make sure that you’re not paying more than you need to. Energy companies run deals and offer all the way through the year so you might find that you can switch to a cheaper tariff with another energy company and save money. Switching is simple and easy; you can use a site like uSwitch or Confused.com to get your switch started and the provider will take care of it all for you once you’ve provided your details. Watch out for exit fees; depending on the tariff you’re currently on with your current provider, you may need to pay them an exit fee to switch, which is usually around £30 per fuel.
Home entertainment is usually another area where most of us spend a lot of money. It’s not unusual for some households to spend almost £100 per month for phone, broadband, and TV packages, which is ludicrous as there are so many ways that you can get it for cheaper with a bit of shopping around. Although it won’t be as convenient as paying for it all in a bundle, the cost savings are most definitely worth it. Consider whether you can downgrade your internet; most households don’t need massive internet speeds, even if you download a lot or have several devices at home. And consider whether you actually need the TV package. Netflix is just a few pounds a month and there are hundreds of films and TV shows to choose from. Even if you don’t have a smart TV, you can easily turn any television set into one with an Amazon Firestick or a Roku box.
Finally, consider if you actually need a TV license. If you switch your TV to Netflix and don’t watch BBC programmes either live or on iPlayer, you can legally get away without a TV license. All you need to do is go on their website and inform them that you are exempt from paying. This is important because they will check!
Are you paying more than you need to for your car insurance? While this is an expense that you can’t get away without paying unless you get rid of your car completely, there are some tricks that you can use to drive the cost of your insurance down as much as possible.
First of all, if your insurance is up for renewal, get a few quotes from other companies before you accept the renewal offer. Most of the time, car insurance providers don’t reward loyalty and it’s very likely that you can get it at a much cheaper rate elsewhere. You should also check your insurance policy to make sure that it is up to date. If you’ve changed jobs since you took the policy out, for example, have had a child, or have even started parking your car on the drive instead of the road, this could affect your insurance price. Additionally, make sure that you have the right kind of insurance for your needs. If you work from home, having a policy that covers commuting to work may be unnecessarily expensive.
Food shopping is another area where you can save a lot of money with some shopping around. Switching to a cheaper supermarket like Aldi and Lidl for your essentials can save you a lot of money compared to shopping at the big five like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA, but consider how much extra travelling you’ll need to do to get there – it might not be worth spending extra in fuel if your nearest Aldi is some miles away. You can also save money by downloading the supermarket apps to your phone so that you can compare prices regularly and look at the deals on offer. Don’t forget to sign up for any loyalty schemes like Tesco Clubcard and Morrisons More so that you can collect points on your purchases that you can turn into vouchers.
Finally, a good way to save even more when you’re shopping around for cheaper alternatives to your monthly expenses is to use cashback sites. TopCashback and Quidco are some excellent options where you can earn cashback just for using comparison sites or getting a new car insurance policy. Browse the site for the deals on offer and when you are ready to sign up, visit the provider’s website directly from the cashback site so that your purchase is logged and you can earn your reward. You can earn cashback on everything from new life insurance policies to takeaway food deliveries, so it’s definitely worth getting into the habit of using these sites every time you need to make a purchase.
Most people spend a huge chunk of their monthly wage on monthly expenses like their phone contract, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could save some of that money instead? Thankfully, with some savvy strategies, you can cut back a lot on what you spend each month.