10 ways to cut the cost of running your home

Published by Rebecca Rutt on 10 May 2012.
Last updated on 04 November 2014

£10 house

The cost of owning and running a home has risen by 55% over the past decade, to £9,893 a year in 2014 for the average family, according to Halifax. Here's how you can reduce your household bills.

1. MORTGAGE

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 tracker rate is 1.49% from TSB.

Find the best mortgage for you

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.

Compare energy prices and switch provider

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.

6. MAINTENANCE

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.

Five steps to avoiding DIY disasters

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.

8. TOOLS

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.

Top 10 freebie websites

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 Unlimited Evening and Weekend calls for £3 a month, slash the price of calls to UK mobiles to almost half that of a standard call.

The most and least-expensive phone numbers

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.

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