1. Should I try and switch energy supplier?
Typically, it’s in your best interest to compare prices and switch to get the best deal. However, with the current circumstances being the way they are, switching might not be the best option right now.
Suppliers aren’t offering cheap deals at the moment, and many are actually increasing thanks to the risen price cap. Of course, it’s always important to be vigilant of your current deal – what’s best for you depends on your personal situation. For instance, if you’re on a low-priced fixed-term deal, you don’t want to switch early, as you’re unlikely to find anything as cheap.
2. My energy direct debit has gone up – what should I do?
Your direct debit payments will probably go up if you’re moving onto a pricier deal, or if your supplier sees that your energy use has increased.
If you don’t understand why your direct debit payments are rising, ask your supplier to explain. If you disagree, you might be able to ask that your payments stay the same.
If you’re looking at your energy bills and starting to panic, contact your supplier first chance you get – help is available!
3. What’s the most energy-efficient way to heat a room?
There’s a multitude of ways to achieve this, it all depends on what your personal circumstances are.
When used properly and efficiently, central heating can be the most cost-effective way to heat your home. You can use timers, room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to control which rooms are heated and when. If your central heating system doesn’t have individual room controls, a portable heater may be more efficient if you only need to heat one room.
Convector heaters, such as oil-filled and oil-free radiators, can be great for heating a room for a few hours or more. While fan or halogen heaters work better if you need a shorter blast of heat to warm you up quickly.
If you’re planning to go out and purchase a heater, make sure you choose one with a reasonable thermostat and timer to avoid overheating and save money.
4. What’s the most energy-efficient way of cooking?
Electric ovens are more energy efficient than gas, and there are a variety of options available to you. But keep in mind that gas is cheaper than electricity, meaning your energy bills will be lower if you cook on gas. Be sure to search for the best deals if you’re considering a new purchase.
Of course, microwaves cook food very quickly, so this is another option to consider if your biggest concern is keeping cooking costs low.
5. My broadband costs a fortune, should I switch?
If you’re out of a contract, absolutely. As it can be a chance to save some money and get a faster connection. If you still have standard broadband (ADSL), you might want to seize the opportunity to upgrade to fibre broadband, it can cost the same or less than standard, and it’s more reliable.
6. Am I wasting money with my mobile phone contract?
You always want to keep an eye on your data usage to make sure you’re on the mobile phone deal that’s best for you. It’s quite common for providers to offer unlimited data allowances, but the average UK consumer only uses 4.5GB a month, so keep that in mind.
7. Can I cut my insurance bills?
If your renewal is approaching, now is the time to use comparison sites to see if you can get cheaper quotes. If you do find a better price from a different provider, try asking your current insurer if they can match or beat the quote.
If you’re not nearing your renewal date, you could still benefit from seeing what your insurer’s rivals are willing to offer if you switch early. If the difference between competitors’ quotes and what you’re currently paying is more than the cost of cancelling early, this could be a way of saving money.
For more information talk to an experienced advisor to help you determine what you can cut, and ways to save more with your insurance policies.
8. I’ve read that food prices are rising, so how can I keep my grocery bills down?
It should go without saying, but different supermarkets have different prices – so comparing and contrasting is a good starting point!
If you don’t already, start showing up with a shopping list. This keeps you on track for what you actually need and tends to stop you from picking up extra things in the spur of the moment.
Always double check ‘special offers’ too, to check they’re actually saving you money, and consider swapping big brands for own-label products.
9. Can I drive more efficiently to use less fuel?
There’s a myriad of handy tips and tricks to achieve this, so let’s take a look.
- Driving smoothly and maintaining momentum will improve your overall saving on fuel.
- Pay closer attention to anticipate traffic, so you can use your brakes less.
- Shift up gears as early as possible without labouring the engine. Many automatic cars come with an ‘Eco’ driving mode, which changes when the gearbox shifts to reduce consumption.
- On colder days, drive your car gently rather than letting it warm up.
- Air conditioning and heated seats are hungry power consumers, and regular use can have a noticeable effect on your bills. Just keep in mind that using the air con can prevent problems developing later down the line – around once a week should be fine.
10. I’m worried I won’t be able to pay my bills this winter. What do I do?
When it comes to paying your council tax bill, contact your local council as soon as possible. You might be able to extend your payments over 12 months, instead of 10, or be granted a one-off discount if you still can’t pay the balance. If you’re on a low income, live on your own or with someone who’s disregarded for council tax, or get benefits, you may be eligible for a council tax reduction – but this will depend on a particular criteria.
If you’re 74 or older, and you or your partner receive pension credit, you can apply for a free TV licence.
Depending on where you live and what your circumstances are, if your Universal Credit isn’t enough to cover household bills, there are multiple schemes that you may be eligible for to help reduce your monthly bills.
Regardless of which bills are worrying you, the first step is to talk to your provider – the sooner they know, the sooner they’ll be able to work out a plan with you.
Reference – BL144 – June-2022