It’s easy to pay far more than you need on your phone and internet service, but it’s also pretty easy to cut £100s off your annual bill.
I’m currently paying the equivalent of £19 a month on my landline and 100mb broadband with Virgin. That’s £28 a month less than the standard price, saving £336 a year.
It’s a big saving, and there’s no reason you can’t cut your bills too! And if you’re not on fibre broadband you should be able to get it for even less.
So how do you do it? My low Virgin price is a combination of a very good sign-up offer, a complaint about service and some good old fashioned haggling. And these aren’t the only way to save.
You can find out a little more about my savings in this week’s podcast, or read on for my tips.
I think there are four basic steps to save on broadband and landline. You don’t need to do all of these, but the more time you put in, the less you’ll pay.
Step 1 – Do some research
The best way to get a deal is to hunt around for the best prices and offers.
Use a comparison site to get an idea of your options.
There are plenty of comparison sites out there. I like Broadbandchoices.co.uk as unlike some of the others it works out the annual cost for you including extras. They also have a few of their own exclusive offers.
Watch out for hidden costs
Broadband companies are no longer allowed to hide the cost of the landline, but there could still be set-up and connection extras you have to factor in. Watch out too for the smaller print telling you how much you’ll pay in 12 or 18 months when your contract is up.
Look at the service ratings
A few years ago I wrote about the savings I made going for TalkTalk’s TV, phone and internet deal.
I’ve just crunched the numbers, and after cashback, bonus high street voucher, special offers and credit for poor service, I paid an average just £4.45 a month over the 16 months I was with them.
Pretty good eh? Except it was appalling service. So bad I was desperate to leave, which I finally managed to do without penalty payments. There’s absolutely zero chance I would ever go back to TalkTalk even if it was the cheapest service available.
So the lesson is, make sure you’re happy with the service you’re going to receive.
Know what you’re getting
Watch out for any broadband that has ‘traffic shaping’. This means they’ll cut your speed at busy times of the day.
Likewise, if you don’t stream a lot of TV or download much, you probably don’t need unlimited data or Fibre high-speed internet.
Work out what you need
Though more and more people don’t use a landline, it’s usually cheaper to get one alongside your internet.
If you’re mainly watching box sets on Netflix or keeping to the standard channels, think about if you really need a Pay TV package. If you do, then NOW TV can get you Sky channels for a lot less.
Step 2 – Look for extra offers and discounts
If you’ve found some prices that look tempting, see if you can save even more.
Check for cashback
Always look at TopCashback and Quidco to see what cashback deals they have. I got £110 when I moved to BT in 2017, and have had as much as £189 back. This can sometimes work for existing customers too if you want to upgrade your package.
Plus, new customers can often get a bonus when they sign up to the cashback site, sometimes as high as £16.
Wait for vouchers and other freebies
BT, TalkTalk and Sky all offer freebies when you sign up. Often it’s high street vouchers or a prepaid Mastercard. You can even get free tablets, FitBits or TVs from time to time.
However, these promotions can come and go and the value changes frequently. If there aren’t any on offer when you look I’d wait a few weeks to see if that changes, though if you’re paying through the roof with your current supplier it might be better to just switch. Most recently we got a £100 prepaid Mastercard.
If you can combine cashback and vouchers, that’s even better!
Can you pay upfront for the line rental?
A final saving is to pay your line rental upfront for a year. Unfortunately, the discounts available have dropped from around £50 to just £15 to £20, and not all providers do this. Plus you it can make it harder for you to switch away if you’re midway through your year. Still, it’s worth a look.
Step 3 – Haggle with your current provider
Once you’ve got a sense of the prices and extra offers available, call up your current provider.
Check if you’re in contract
Do check you are out of contract before leaving and if you’re required to return any equipment. If not you may be charged for leaving early. But Ofcom figures show that 39% of people are out of contract – and likely paying more than they should as a result.
It’s not impossible to get out of a contract before it ends. If prices rise, you often get sent a letter saying you have 30 days to move. You can also try to leave if the service is really bad, but this isn’t easy.
Work out your target price
If your research has come up with some fab extra discounts in the form of cashback and freebies, factor them into your monthly cost. So if you’re looking at £120 cashback, that reduced your ideal monthly fee by £10. This is what your current provider needs to match or beat.
See what they offer you
Phone up your provider and ask to speak to the cancellation team – they usually have access to the best deals. Say you’re thinking of leaving and see what they can offer you. Tell them the research you’ve done and the prices you’ve found elsewhere.
They’ll usually try to keep you by offering a discount or extra services for free. If it’s the latter, have a think about whether you really want that extra or if you’d prefer a money saving.
Don’t feel pressured to make a snap decision. Just say you need to speak to your partner/housemates and ask them to call you back the next day.
Hopefully they’ll suggest something you’re happy with (it’s obviously easier not to switch). But if they can’t match the deals you’ve found elsewhere, it might be time to switch.
Still call if you are in contract
You might still be able to haggle a better deal, or even cut some of your services you don’t use.
Step 4 – Make the switch
If you’d made the decision to move, it’s pretty easy to do.
Sign up with the new provider
The new provider will sort out the switch for you and let you set a date for the move to happen. It should take place within a couple of weeks, though our move to BT took longer.
The only difference is Virgin. You’ll need to cancel directly with your current supplier and ask for a MAC (Migration Authority Code).
Don’t forget to go through the cashback site or comparison site if they are offering exclusive deals, otherwise you’ll miss out.
Chase for any owed money
When I left Sky a few years back I realised they hadn’t refunded me for the last month. If I hadn’t chased them, it’s unlikely they’d have paid! The same happened with TalkTalk who owed me £77.