Screw the excuses. You’ve 12 months to tackle these six easy savings and you could be better off to the tune of £1,500 in 2017 – perhaps even more.
Whether you want to tackle them all in one go or space them out through the year, each of my six top savings is a painless way to reduce what you spend.
I’ve focused on the costs that most people will have, so bills feature heavily, alongside my all-time favourite money saving trick.
Plus check out my six easy ways to make extra cash this year!
1. Switch and fix your energy bills
You could save: £300
Time it takes: 20 minutes max
Yeah, you know about this one – but have you done it?
If not, don’t put it off. The priciest energy bills will be for people on a standard rate, and with prices rising fast, they’ll get even more expensive. The cheapest rates are ones you fix, and a quick search on a comparison site will find you some big savings.
It’s actually really easy to do. It should take you no more than 20 minutes – or even less. When I last switched it took just 10 minutes!
It’s also likely to be the easiest money you’ll ever make. Ofgem (the energy regulator) estimate the average household can save £250 to £300 by switching.
2. Change how you watch TV
You could save: £340
Time it takes: 10 minutes every few months to buy a new pass
For the last three years, we’ve managed without Sky or Virgin but still been able to watch Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Fox and many more premium channels, meaning I’ve not missed a minute of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and many more top programmes. All for £17 a month less than with Sky. This is thanks to NOW TV entertainment passes – and special offers mean I pay just £40 a year.
You can also save on Sky Cinema. Normally £18 a month via your dish, passes are £9.99 a month with NOW TV, and there are dozens of deals to them for less, potentially saving you another £140 a year.
Ok, so you can’t record, but everything is available on-demand. Plus, we got a free YouView box via our broadband contract meaning we can still record BBC, ITV etc.
3. Haggle with your phone and broadband supplier
You could save: £300
Time it takes: 15 minutes to look for deals, 15 minutes to switch or haggle
The best deals are normally for new customers so you’ve two options.
As with energy, you can save by switching and getting a special offer. To max your saving you can often add an extra £100 to £150 in cashback via Quidco or TopCashback.
Or you can call your existing company to see what they’ll offer to make you stay. Just make sure you’re out of contract as you could get charged an early exit fee if you aren’t.
Two years ago I did the first one, moving from TalkTalk to BT and cutting my landline and broadband bill to just £150 a year after cashback. Twelve months on, I called up BT and got a few extra discounts, meaning I’ll pay £270 for a year – £200 less than letting my contract roll over automatically.
4. Get an NUS card
You could save: £120
Time it takes: 5 minutes
The days of missing out on a student discount are over. Even non-students can apply for an NUS card thanks to a loophole, and I’m confident it will save you at least £100 a year.
Anyone who takes out a e-learning course with eCareers is eligible for the student card. Fortunately, these feature heavily on sites like Groupon and GoGroopie – meaning for around £22 you can your card. I’ve explained how to get the card in detail here.
Once you have it, you can get half-price Spotify Premium (saving £5 a month), buy student tickets to the cinema (often saving at least £3 a visit), take advantage of discounts at shops such as Co-op, Top Shop and Apple (usually ranging from 10% to 20% off), and even be able to buy student fares on flights.
My estimate of £120 is pretty conservative – I saved more than £500 in 2016!
5. Move your mobile
You could save: £270
Time it takes: 20 minutes to buy a SIM and activate it
The biggest savings happen when you go SIM only. This means you stop upgrading your handset with your network and just pay for minutes, texts and data. It’s still a contract, but your costs will fall dramatically. And they can be reduced even more.
A quick look at the EE, O2 and Vodaphone websites shows you could easily be paying £20 a month for their 2GB data SIM only deals. But switch to a challenger brand which uses the same networks – meaning you get the same reception as the big brands – and you could save even more.
2GB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts with Giffgaff costs just £12 a month. You can get the same deal even cheaper with BT Mobile if you’re already a BT customer – just £8 a month plus a £60 Amazon voucher.
You can also move your existing number over with a PAC. All very easy to do. I ditched O2 18 months ago and haven’t looked back.
6. Don’t auto renew insurance policies
You could save: £170
Time it takes: 30 minutes per insurance policy
One of the worst bills for whacking on a massive premium when you are due to renew is your insurance.
How much you can save depends on how many policies you have, but you should be able to save £100 on car insurance alone. Plus with premiums getting more expensive, there’s a greater potential to save.
You don’t have to switch (though the best savings are likely to come if you do). Simply getting a low quote from another insurer is a great bargaining tool to use against your current insurer.
Remember to do the same each year and you’re quids in.