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man with bills

How much do you spend on your household bills?

Disposable income goes pretty quickly. Once you’ve paid your rent or mortgage, you might not have much money left over from your take home pay. With a new survey showing household bills average £200 a month, it doesn’t leave much money for other essentials (and some fun).  But there are ways to lower what you pay on your bills, and give yourself a little extra cash to spend.

Gas, electricity, phone, TV, broadband… these bills all add up. The average monthly spend on them in the UK is £194.02, according to savings provider Scottish Friendly. The most expensive of the bills are your utilities, averaging £90.10 a month, with telecommunications making up the rest.

Are you spending more or less? If it’s more, there’s a good chance you can find some big savings. Here’s a quick guide to lowering what you pay on your day-to-day bills.

How to cut your gas and electricity bills

The easiest way to bring down the cost is to compare prices with other providers and see if switching and / or fixing can get you a cheaper deal.

You might also be able to save by choosing a dual gas and electricity tariff and by paying by Direct Debit.

You can also lower how much you pay by reducing the amount of energy you use. Here are a few quick tips that can make a difference:

  • Turn down your thermostat a few degrees on your heating
  • Fill your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher so you run them less often
  • Don’t boil more water than you need

How to cut your phone and broadband bills

Again, comparison sites are handy to see if there are better prices available. You can often make a saving if you switch to a company providing both your phone line and broadband in a “bundle”.

It’s worth checking you aren’t paying for more than you need. This could be an unlimited download usage when you use a lot less, or a superfast connection when standard will do the job. You might also have extra features such as call waiting and internet security you don’t use. Downgrade these and you’ll pay less each month.

How to cut your mobile bill

One or two year contracts tie you into a fixed price. But when you get to the end of your contract, it’s always worth haggling with your provider to see if they can offer you a reduced tariff or free handset. You might also find it costs less to chose a SIM only deal rather than one combined with a new handset.

Some mobile contracts are also now being offered cut price to phone and broadband customers, sometimes cheaper than going with one of the bigger networks.

How to cut your TV bill

Most people have to pay their TV licence, but there are ways you can lower your monthly subscription costs for satellite, cable and streaming packages.

You might be able to bundle a service with your phone and broadband, often drastically cutting the price – or even providing for free – of one of the elements. Just remember when your contract ends as prices could shoot up.

It’s worth a quick audit of what you are watching for a week or two. Just write down what you watch. If you don’t watch much on certain channels, see if you can cut your subscription costs. You might be surprised to find renting a single movie or two each month works out cheaper than an unlimited monthly movies package.

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  • Carole Gerada / 17 October 2015

    The most expensive bill I have is my water bill but there was no opportunity to select a box to compare

  • Linda / 22 September 2015

    Your guidelines are generous really. When I was made redundant a few years before retirement knowing I would be receiving a very small pension, I would turn off the heating upstairs when I was downstairs and vice versa. I also turned off the radiators in the rooms not used. Put on extra warm clothing. Line curtains with any material if it is insulating. Economical home made dinners using a pressure cooker with healthy dried beans and vegetables was made for double meals saving time etc for 2nd meal. 1 pan meals use less power. Make own lunch for work at home. Walking is healthier and cheaper than the bus. Loft insulation (with grant) is economical considering the long term savings. Change all light bulbs for economy ones and turn off if not actually being used. Mobile - pay as you go, no expensive contracts! Texting does the same job. Learn how to do jobs yourself, it costs very little! Washing - use balls of ceramic beads in washing machine, they do the same job as detergent but a fraction of the cost, but look around as price varies a Lot. I hope this helps.

  • andrew muschett / 22 September 2015

    I agree with most of these comments switching providers for gas /electricty is,nt always practical better to switch to energy saving appliances (a+ is good) and talk to your supplier they can be quite helpful

  • Richard Torm / 22 September 2015

    Just Switched my dual fuel supplier,made savings of £100+.
    Just have land-line telephone only, no broadband. Use free-view only. Use local Library for any computer use,its free.
    Mobile phone is pay as you go only, £10 can go a long way if you are careful
    Pay TV licence only rest is free.

  • iddi / 21 September 2015

    Very good tips. Withe the TV, sky, virgin and the rest are all expensive as far as viewing is concern. I use to pay £36 for my sky package. My advice, buy a box call skybox on amazon and someone will come out to connect via your broadband and you wil get all channels for only £100 a year, over 200% reduction in the viewing sector.

  • Kat Umunna / 20 September 2015

    I think the best way to save money on your mobile bill (if you're not changing your phone after the contract ends) is to just get a sim only contract or go on pay as you go with a non leading company like giffgaff or tesco mobile. Or even see if you can tie in a mobile deal with your broadband as it also works out cheaper :)

  • simon scott / 20 September 2015

    with gas and electric you could change but bear in mind if you have an outstanding debt with your provider this would need to be cleared, tv packages can work out more expensive if you decide to split up your services, again work out a better deal with your exiting provider.
    food for thought

  • Angie / 20 September 2015

    I agree with Martin phone companies charging the £16-£17 for the line rental in effect which is just to connect the broadband as majority of people have mobiles nowadays. Unless you're in a cabled area then it's a bit of a con.

  • Yan / 20 September 2015

    A little known expense saving technique is also if you don't watch much 'live' TV, you can disconnect your TV from the aerial so that you don't have to pay for the TV license and just watch catch up, Netflix or the other rental tv services. Having a Samsung tv with built-in tv apps also means that you don't need to watch live TV. Live means if the program is being broadcasted at the very time you are watching the program as opposed to a live football match or similar. If you can wait to watch something you could save yourself the TV license.

  • Christopher Smout / 20 September 2015

    This all very well,I pay my gas and electricity bills,by card and key!,as far as I can see,there is little point in changing my supplier for a FEW pence.per anum!

  • Martin / 20 September 2015

    With many packages, most if not all, TV, Broadband and phone providing companies charge an additional whopping £16 plus per month for fixed line phone rental, which many people nowadays never use due to having mobiles. If some company could offer services without having to pay this staggering amount each month I think they'd be on a winner!

  • Stephen / 5 September 2015

    I agree switching your gas/electricity supplier can save you money. However, before you can switch supplier you have to pay the final bill from your old supplier. This can be too much to pay in one go if you have decided to switch, say in the Spring after you have used a lot of fuel over the winter months. So if you owe a lot of money to your current supplier how can you switch if you can't afford to pay without spreading it over 12 months?.