Which of your bills are going up and how to avoid paying more.
It’s the time of the year when a whole host of price increases are announced for a number of big services we all pay. Broadband, mobile, energy, council tax, water, TV… you name it.
If you’re out of contract it can be the nudge you need to look for a better deal. Or even cut back on the services you pay for.
Of course, sometimes you can’t do much or anything about it. You can’t switch your water or Council Tax to a cheaper provider. Some contracts have annual increases written in when you sign up or exit fees.
But even in these situations you might be able to find some savings. So in this article I’ve shared the top ways to pay less on your bills.
Broadband and phone bills
Virgin Media bills are going up on 1st March, BT from 31st March, and Sky from April. TalkTalk already put landline bills up in January.
Sadly BT customers can’t do anything about it until they are next out of contract. But the good news for Sky and Virgin customers is you can use this as a chance to break your contract penalty free – handy if you’ve not been happy with service.
New customer deals aren’t as good as they used to be, no doubt a result of the pandemic, but it’s still well worth comparing to see what’s out there. Don’t forget to go via cashback sites Quidco or TopCashback as you might be able to get £100 back, perhaps more.
Or you can use this research to haggle. Along with mobile networks, I’ve found you can often get money knocked off your bill if you tell your provider you are going to leave. Then gee what they offer you to get you to stay.
Here’s more on getting the best deal for your broadband.
TV and streaming bills
You could be hit by the Sky and Virgin increases even if you don’t get broadband with them as TV customers will see hikes too.
You could shop around or haggle here too – but personally I’d see it as a chance to ditch something you are overpaying for!
Instead you can get all the Sky channels via NOW TV. It’ll work out a lot less for most customers, though the sports channels can make it less cost effective.
There is also a price increase for Disney+ from the 23rd February (up by £2 a month) and Netflix has already gone up (£1 extra for standard, £2 for premium).
There are ways to beat the Disney + hike, as detailed here. It’s harder to cut the cost of Netlix, but it is possible.
Practically I think it’s another opportunity to streamline your streaming and pay for fewer services each month.
Oh, and the TV Licence is increasing by a tiny £1.50 a year. Though I think it’s a vital service, those you don’t want to watch live TV or use iPlayer can stop paying.
We’re all likely to see increased gas and electricity bills as we’re all at home more, but these will jump up a again for everyone on a variable tariff from 1st April 2021.
That’s when the energy price cap increases by an average of £96 a year, and most providers are likely to introduce hikes of similar amounts. British Gas is the first of the big energy companies to do this, and the others will follow soon.
If you are on a variable rate deal then get comparing ASAP. If you want to avoid this and any other price increases then look for a fixed deal. You’ll usually get the best deal by switching to different provider.
For those already fixed you can start a switch 49 days before it ends and not get hit with exit penalties.
Right, so can’t change your supplier if bills are going up. But you can potentially move to a water meter. The rough rule of thumb is you’ll save with one if there are more bedrooms in the home than people. But it’s best to use a calculator to get a better estimate of whether you will save.
And if you’re already on a water meter you can add water saving features to your home and ultimately just try to use less of it.
Most councils will be putting up prices from the start of April by up to 5%.
It’s also another you can’t switch. But you might be eligible for a discount. For example you’re the only adult in the property, are a student or are a carer.
It’s also possible to check whether you are in the wrong band. If you are, then payments could be backdated.
Here’s more on cutting your council tax bill.
EE, BT, Three, O2, Sky and Vodafone are among the networks that have already announced price increases or have it written into existing contracts.
If you’re not already SIM-only, then as soon as you are out of contract you need to seriously consider this. With 8GB deals available for £8 a month (or less) there’s no reason people should be paying more than this.
If you’re out of contract it’s worth calling up your network to see if they can offer you a discount to stay. Don’t let them fob you off with free extra data. If you don’t need it you won’t use it, so you’re really gaining anything.
Here’s more on how to pay less for your mobile phone bill.