Personal Finance

3 ways to save thousands a year

save money

As someone who proactively keeps on top of his finances, I am always looking for ways to save money on the essential expenses. People often overlook a lot of these as it’s often easier to simply stick with what you have right now, even if deep down you know you could get it cheaper elsewhere. But a few simple steps can go a long way to helping the bank balance. My philosophy is simple: if I’m going to have to spend the money anyway, I might as well get the best value. So here’s a list of things you can save money on and how exactly you can achieve it:

1. Broadband

It often staggers me to hear how much some people pay for their broadband as I know they could be getting much better deals if they just spent an hour or so looking.

Nowadays there are different types of broadband ranging from the standard broadband (generally up to 17mb) to fibre optic (most household providers can go up to 76mb if you choose the top-end package). You need to decide for yourself which is the most appropriate package for you – but once you’ve done that, you can certainly make things cheaper.

Tip 1: check cashback websites like Quidco or Topcashback – they will often offer fantastic incentives to sign up to a particular package. For instance, signing up to BT Broadband package by clicking through Topcashback could result in up to £220 cashback. They often match each other’s rates so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the other, though I do prefer the Quidco layout and their customer support if something hasn’t come through.

Tip 2: check the actual provider’s website for their own incentives. You will often find providers offering incentives like Amazon vouchers. Sometimes you can use offers like this in conjunction with Tip 1 too!

Tip 3: check out MoneySavingExpert for exclusive deals. The founder, Martin Lewis, often negotiates incredible deals with providers exclusively for his website. There was one recently which made Sky broadband available for around £5 a month. That is a phenomenal deal!

Tip 4: haggle with your existing provider. If you’ve been with your current provider for a while (more than 12 months), chances are you’re paying over the odds. Give them a ring, tell them you’ve seen a great offer elsewhere (and tell them exactly what that offer is) and see if they can match it or at least come close to it if you don’t actually want to switch.

2. Insurance

Islamic issues on insurance to one side, certain forms of insurance are compulsory by the law (e.g. car insurance, employers liability insurance). As a necessary evil, you want to be spending as little as possible on insurance.

Tip 1: visit comparison websites like Confused or Moneysupermarket (there are others too). Try to visit them all as well. I used to only ever visit one, but by chance, I visited a second comparison website for this year’s car insurance renewal and they managed to find me a provider which the first comparison website did not have in their results. This provider was actually the cheapest for me, so if I hadn’t visited the second comparison website, I wouldn’t have found it.

Tip 2: amend your details. You must, of course, be fully truthful in the details you give to your insurer, otherwise this could void your insurance and when you sign up to the insurance, you will be agreeing that everything is accurate. However, there are some details for which you could provide different answers whilst still being truthful. These often include things like your job title – you only have to give an accurate description of your job title, and that could be met by several options on the website. Try different ones, as they might come up cheaper.

Another weird one I have found is that it was cheaper for me to insure my car as having business use as well as the normal social use. You would think this is illogical, and it is, but in the weird world of insurance, it somehow makes my insurance cheaper.

Strangely enough, it has also been cheaper in the past for me to put my car on the street than it is to put it in the driveway or in the garage. Again, this is totally illogical to my mind, but it makes my insurance cheaper.

The point I’m making is, fiddle around with all the details (whilst ensuring you are still 100% truthful), even the ones where it seems illogical to change it to something else, as it might end up giving you a cheaper quote.

Tip 3: haggle your renewal. An obvious one, but even if you can’t be bothered searching for insurance, ringing up your existing provider at renewal and asking for around 10-20% off is reasonable and you will probably find that you will get 5-10% off.

3. Phone Contracts

Tip 1: As with broadband, Quidco and Topcashback are good places to start. All the network providers are on there, and you will also find a fair few third party providers who might be offering things cheaper.

Tip 2: Websites like E2save and Mobiles.co.uk offer contracts which work on their own cashback system. This involves submitting around 4 bills to them during the course of your contract, and they send you a cheque in the post a few weeks later. I have been doing this for years without any problems. Since you can submit the bills to them online, it is extremely simple; you also get a 60-day window to submit each bill (they tell you which month’s bills to send in at the start of your contract) so there isn’t really any excuse for forgetting! I recently got a great deal of unlimited minutes and text with 7gb of data on EE for what will work out as £4.50 per month; you can’t really beat those kinds of deals.

Tip 3: as with the others, haggling with your existing provider is always worth it. On my main phone contract, I haggled at the end of my first year with Vodafone and they offered me a deal I was happy with. I might have saved a few quid by cancelling the contract and finding a new one, but the time and effort involved would not have been worth it. So it’s important to find the balance as well!

Tip 4: SIM-only deals offer amazing value. If you can absorb the cost of buying a phone separately (without a contract), doing that and getting a great-value SIM-only deal can work out much cheaper than buying a contract that comes with a ‘free’ phone.

Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the comments below!

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