10 ways to cut the cost of running your home
The cost of owning and running a home has risen by 55% over the past decade, to £9,393 a year in 2012 for the average family, according to Halifax. Here's how you can reduce your household bills.
Families pay an average of £3,485 in mortgage repayments each year, up by 54% over the past 10 years. The best way to cut your bill is to switch to a better deal.
For example, many people sit on their lender's standard variable rate but this averages 4.17%, whereas the best lifetime tracker rate is 2.69% from First Direct.
2. ENERGY COSTS
Rocketing energy bills have had the biggest impact on household spending, with the average annual bill now £1,322, according to energyhelpline. com. However, switching provider could save you an average of £420.
3. COUNCIL TAX
Council tax has shot up by £502 in the past decade, but discounts are available. For example, if you are in full-time education or live alone you are entitled to a reduction. For a full list of discounts visit turn2us.org.uk.
4. WATER SUPPLY
Consider getting a water meter installed. How much money you can save depends on how frugal you are with water, but on average households save £52 a year, according to uSwitch.com.
5. HOUSEHOLD INSURANCE
Hunt for ways to reduce your premiums. Better locks, a burglar alarm or even joining your local neighbourhood watch can significantly reduce bills.
Maintenance and repairs cost £717 a year, so why not learn how to tackle more jobs yourself? Evening and weekend courses are available in anything from decorating to basic plumbing. Go to hotcourses.com for a full list.
7. HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
White goods can be expensive, so cut the cost by using a price comparison website such as pricerunner.co.uk. Auction sites could also save you money. Clearance-comet.co.uk is currently listing a Zanussi washing machine for £149 - it would set you back £249 brand new.
One of the biggest annual increases in household costs has been a 28% rise in the price of home and garden tools.
Check websites such as uk.freecycle.org, where you can often get free second-hand products. If you're in need of a big appliance, a lawn mower or carpet cleaner, for example, try to borrow one by looking on local community forums or by asking your neighbours.
9. PHONE BILLS
Make sure you're on the right tariff and take advantage of free evening and weekend calls. Loyalty schemes, such as BT's Friends and Family Mobile service for £1.50 a month, slash the price of calls to UK mobiles to almost half that of a standard call.
10. CLEANING PRODUCTS
As a nation we spend an average of £163 on cleaning products each year, but switching to a supermarket's own brand will save you money. Take washing-up liquid: a 500ml Sainsbury's Basics bottle costs 40p, while a similar sized bottle of Fairy comes in at £1.25.