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You’re spending some time on financial admin, money management and budgeting. But you probably don’t focus enough of your attention on your bills.
We’re taught that overspending is one of the main causes of financial problems. But we tend to see overspending as something that’s directly our fault.
You can go into great detail looking into your budget, accounting for that extra chocolate bar here and that new pair of trousers there. But are you missing something obvious that would be easier to fix?
Are you paying more than you need to?
Take a look at your household bills. Many people feel comfortable with the status quo, missing out on many savings they could make by taking action.
Switching to new providers for services that you receive is easier than you might think, as long as you’re not locked into a minimum contract. In fact, some companies offer an easy to use switching service. When you’re out of contract you can move to new providers for your gas and electricity. Even your mobile phone contract, your internet connection, your car insurance and many other bills.
Yet, despite the fact that switching cuts bills by an average of £337 per year, there are still many people that stay loyal to providers for years.
How can you check if you’re paying more than you need to?
Assume that you’re paying more than you should. There is no benefit to assuming you’ve got the best deal, but you could have something to gain from shopping around. Visit price comparison sites and use your details to see what’s out there. If you’re already getting a fantastic deal then you don’t need to worry about switching. But if you’re offered something better then you can consider changing provider.
Remember to look into package deals. For example, offers for combining TV and internet subscriptions, car insurance policies, or duel fuel and gas bills. You might get a better price if you have more than one service through the same provider.
What should you think about when you want to switch?
Be sure that you can get out of your existing contract. Once your contract has run out then you’re technically free to move. But any outstanding debt with your current provider may stop them from letting you leave. It could be that you’ve underpaid by £100 on your energy bills and can’t leave until your debt’s paid off. Some companies will let you leave and pay your debt back at a later date, but others will keep you in the contract until you’ve settled your balance.
It’s also worth seeing if your current provider can offer a better deal. Perhaps tell them what you’ve seen offered elsewhere, and see if they can match or beat it. This saves you from changing provider, but gives you a better price or rate.
Finally, remember that good customer service is as valuable as a financial gain in some cases. If you’re with a company that has been treating you well and is offering excellent customer service. Then there may be some risk to jumping ship and choosing a new provider.