15 ways to slash your bills now

1. Go paper-free

Not only is it good for the environment, but going for paperless billing can also save you money. If you switch your preferences with your utility providers so you receive an email of your bills rather than a paper version through the post, you can save around £5 per fuel bill a year.

Not having to send out paper bills saves companies a fortune in stationery and postage costs and they are happy to hand this on to customers as an incentive.

2. Embrace the internet

Another way to utilise the internet in order to cut your bills is to opt for an online-only energy deal. These have a tendency to be cheaper than other packages as they are cheaper for the utility firms to operate. Some can be up to £300 cheaper a year than other deals.

Compare energy prices and switch provider

3. Bundle up

You can cut your household bills quite significantly if you get more than one service from one provider. Whether it's getting your gas and electricity from the same utility firm or bundling your broadband, phone and television with one media company, this can lead to big savings.

4. Don't be loyal

All to often we stick with the same bank, mobile phone network or utilities provider for years. This could be costing you money though as loyalty rarely pays. Shop around to make sure you are still getting the best deal any you could save yourself a fortune.

5. Review your insurance

Even if you don't want to switch policy providers it is worth reviewing your insurance policies to make sure you aren't paying for anything you don't need. Is your home insurance covering you for a sum far greater than the value of the contents of your home?

Cut the cost of home insurance

Also consider increasing the excess on your car insurance. The more you are prepared to pay in the event of any damage could dramatically decrease your premiums.

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6. Be realistic with your gym membership

If you have a full membership that entitles you to workout whenever you like, wherever you like but in fact you only use the branch down the road while the kids are at school then consider changing your membership option.

Gyms tend to offer reduced membership rates if you limit yourself to only one branch of the chain or stick to off-peak times.

7. Be savvy with your phone bill

If you are on a deal that gives you free evening and weekend calls make the most of it by trying to make as many of your phone calls at possible during those times. Also check with your provider to see what other deals they offer based on usage.

For example, if you call abroad regularly you can pay an extra £1 a month with BT to reduce you international call charges to as little as 2.5p a minute.

Or you could cut your international calling costs to zero by getting Skype. This computer program allows you to make international video calls via your laptop for no charge. You just need to have an internet connection, a microphone and a webcam.

Also check your mobile phone tariff. Are you on the best tariff for you? Many of us are paying for monthly deals that don't suit our calling habits.

For example, you may be on a £30 a month deal that only gives you 150 free calling minutes a month, and then you are wracking up another £15 a month in additional calling costs when you could just switch to a plan that costs £35 a month and gives you loads more free calling minutes.

8. Ditch the products you don't need

People waste hundreds of pounds a year on needless financial products. One of the main products we waste money on is extended warranties. If you pay £40 for a microwave, paying £11 on top of that for three years warranty is just not worth it.

Mobile phone insurance can also be pointless, as most people's mobiles are covered on their home contents insurance. Cancel that and you could save yourself around £100 a year.

10 rip-off products you don't need

9. Switch your credit card

If you have some debt sitting on a credit card switch it to a 0% interest balance transfer card and you will save yourself a fortune in interest - the average interest rate on a standard card is around 16%.

Anyone who pays off their credit card balance in full each month should seek a reward for their good financial habits by switching to a cashback credit card. These cards pay you a small amount back every time you use the card.

10. Install a water meter

In certain households a water meter can help you make big savings on your water bill.

As a rule of thumb, a water meter should save you money if there are more bedrooms than people in a household.

If you do switch to a meter and find your bills go up, don’t worry you can get rid of the meter and go back to standard bills – you just have to inform the water company you want the water meter removed within a year of it being installed.

11. Set up direct debits

Automatic payments are loved by companies as it means they know they are going to get paid on a set date. As a result many offer customers reduced bills if they set up to pay by direct debit. If you set up automatic payments for utility bills you could save as much as £99 a year.

12. Shop smarter

Before you head out to do your weekly supermarket shop make a plan of attack. Make a list and then run it through Mysupermarket.com which will tell you which of the big four supermarkets will be the cheapest for your basket of items.

Also consider switching from branded products to own-brand goods. For example, a box of Weetabix costs £1.99 but Sainsbury’s own brand is £1.49, or for a real bargain Sainsbury’s basics version is just 63p.

10 ways to slash your weekly food bill

13. Book early

If you are planning a trip make sure you book your train tickets in advance and save yourself a small fortune. Advance tickets are much cheaper than the price of tickets bought on the day.

14. Pack your lunch

One of the simplest ways to cut your household expenditure is to stop buying lunch every day. Many of us spend around £5 a day on lunch but if you brought sandwiches to work you could cut that cost down to under £1.

15. Make the most of vouchers

Finally, before you purchase any big items or plan a night out for dinner check one of the many voucher websites like Vouchercodes.co.uk or Myvouchercodes.co.uk to see if there is a discount voucher you could use to cut the cost.

This week's top 10 voucher codes

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Your Comments

When it comes to your mobile phone tariff, it is worth checking what, if any, non-geographic numbers are included in your monthly call allowance. It can cost up to 35p per minute from your mobile to call some banks, energy providers, insurance companies and other service providers who use 0800, 0808, 0870, 0845 and 03 numbers. 
If you don’t have these numbers included in your contract or use a Pay As You Go mobile, you can still cut the cost on your phone bill by calling 84800 before dialling the number you need to call, as it guarantees you’ll pay no more than 10p per minute. This will prove very handy if you decide to change the providers of your utility bills.
Tony Couch, MakeMobileCalls4Less