Every month we give a huge portion of our hard earned cash away to big corporations in the name of our essentials: mobile phone; broadband; energy; water; insurance; and all the other things that we don’t have much of a choice in having. As prices continue to rise at an ever-increasing rate, it would appear that we have no choice but to sit back and let it happen; however, this is not exactly the case. Due to being in the open market on most of our utilities, we are at liberty to choose for ourselves who supplies us. Gone are the days of being restricted to our local supplier. Although this is still the case with our water supply, you can still change on pretty much everything else. Here is what you can do:
Gas and electricity
In reality, we have the most riding on our energy bills as these are generally the ones that cost the most. It just so happens that gas and electricity bills are also probably the easiest utility bills to save money on too. An estimated £18.7 billion of overpayment is made each year in the UK on energy bills; a quite staggering figure, I’m sure you’ll agree. We need to make sure that people are well clued up and know exactly how to switch their tariff.
Using a comparison tool, such as Selectra, Uswitch or Money Supermarket, switching your energy tariff has never been easier. By popping in your postcode and some other basic usage information, these comparison services will bring up all the cheapest tariffs available to you and will allow you to switch straight through them in a matter of minutes. They take care of the rest and you can sit back and relax.
Switching your energy tariff usually takes around 17 days, but can take up to a maximum of 21 days. During this time, you’ll be glad to know, there is absolutely no cut in supply. Technically, your supply isn’t really changing, as all suppliers use the same distribution networks, you’re only really changing your customer service and price.
This 5 minute switching process can save you hundreds of pounds per year, some people even saving into the thousands (depending on usage).
Broadband is a little different to gas and electricity, as prices don’t rise and fall due to any external factors like wholesale prices and generation efficiency, they merely rise with the general consumer price index.
When switching your broadband provider you need to be certain of the terms and conditions that will affect you when leaving. If you are still within the term of your current contract and then leave, you may be subject to some pretty nasty cancellation fees .
Once you have established that you are ok to switch, or if you are willing to pay the cancellation fees, you can follow a similar process to your energy bills: compare the current deals through company websites or a comparison engine, then go ahead with the switch. When switching your broadband, you need to make sure that you have the desired internet speed selected, and of course, whether you have regular ADSL or fibre optic.
Mobile phone contracts are a nightmare. Customer service is appalling and if you ever want to switch before your contract runs out, well… you pretty much can’t. They are, however, much easier to seek out a cheaper deal when you are ready to switch. If you decide that you want to switch to another phone provider, you need to ensure these two things:
- Your mobile phone is unlocked
- You arrange for your number to be transferred to your new SIM
If your phone is not unlocked, depending on the company that you’re with, you can contact them on the appropriate number, or ask for your phone to be unlocked online. This usually comes at a small fee, amounting to around £20. Once it is unlocked, however, you’re free to use it with any company SIM, an unlimited amount of times.
When searching for a new mobile phone contract or SIM only deal, you can look online using the aforementioned comparison engines or go into a Carphone Warehouse and other such shops to see a brochure or talk to a sales assistant. Contracts will usually have a minimum term attached to them for around one or two years; however, it is also possible to get SIM only deals that have a one-month rolling option on them, which is ideal for those who like to chop and change around the best offers.
Like most of the above utilities, switching your insurance policies on anything will generally subject you to monetary penalties if you cancel your contract before the end of your agreed coverage. That is not to say, however, that you cannot switch or that it is even not worth switching. Some people can save up to 50% when switching their insurance policies, but they always choose the easy option of renewing with their existing provider.
Switching your home, car, life or any other type of insurance will generally follow a similar process to the above when it comes to switching. Finding a cheaper deal has never been easier with the abundance of comparison engines that are successfully emerging in today’s day and age. Just find the deal that suits you best and let the comparison service deal with the rest.