Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

Written by: Cara Bradley //
Approximate reading time: 5 minutes

The UK’s infamous cost-of-living crisis has been at the forefront of many people’s minds for the past few years. It’s safe to say that many of us have had to make conscious changes regarding the way we spend and save our money.

Reigning back on little luxuries, such as beauty appointments, leisure activities and meals out, is frustrating enough but nothing is perhaps quite as disheartening as having to make impossible decisions when it comes to basic needs, such as energy bills and food.

Quite simply, it is remarkably saddening that such choices are required to be made in the UK today.

We’ve all seen the media reports: children turning up to school having not eaten breakfast, a huge surge in food bank use and, according to a recent survey conducted by Citizens Advice, up to one million people have cancelled their broadband in the past year. Further information from Ofcom suggests that eight million UK households are currently experiencing difficulties paying for their communication services.

The fallout from this sobering report is huge.

Broadband is considered a necessity for many; a lot of us probably use our broadband and internet services more than we realise.

Although we may not like to admit it, a large number of us have become reliant on having the internet at our fingertips, be it for communicating with family and friends, organising appointments, or working from home. In a study undertaken by the Office of National Statistics in February 2023, 44% of workers reported home or hybrid working between September 2022 and January 2023. With an increase in the ‘WFH’ phenomenon, it’s no wonder that the demand for and usage of data remains high.

In an economy where it feels as though prices are rising to staggeringly new highs on a daily basis, keeping broadband costs as low as possible is of paramount importance for many of us.

Check what you’re paying is accurate

There’s a chance you may be paying more than necessary for your broadband.

For instance, how many of us still pay for a landline telephone service as part of our broadband package, and how many of us can remember the last time we actually used it?

Landline telephones have a variety of hidden costs that can all add up rapidly without us even noticing. An example of this is the extra cost added to your landline package if you have a voicemail feature. Speak to your provider to see if cancelling your landline telephone from your overall package is an option. While a lot of suppliers still require you to have a landline in place to access broadband, there are certain packages that enable you to purchase broadband without paying landline rental. Examples include satellite broadband and mobile broadband.

Bagging the best deal for you lies in knowing what it is you really need out of a broadband package.

Keep a note of the date your contract is due to expire

Did you know that, on average, you could be paying up to £100 per year more for your broadband once you are out of contract? Prices tend to rise once a customer is out of contract, so keep the end date in mind to avoid being stung by unnecessary costs. By regulation, your provider must give you at least one month’s notice about the upcoming expiry of your existing contract.

If you’re eligible, seek out a ‘social tariff’ package

Social tariffs (sometimes known as ‘basic’ or ‘essential’ broadband) are significantly cheaper packages for broadband and phones designed to help those claiming certain benefits, including Universal and Pension Credits. While they compromise on price, they do not compromise on quality.

According to Ofcom, just 5% of households eligible for social tariffs have made use of the scheme, a fact that has been blamed on a lack of promotion. If you fall into the qualifying category for a social tariff, there is a chance that you might not even be aware. Ofcom have provided further information about who is eligible for the scheme and how you can go about applying.

Consider a different contract length

The average contract length when it comes to broadband is generally 12 months, with payments split monthly. Check with your provider if extending your contract length could reduce your monthly cost. Most companies offer packages across 12, 18 and 24 month periods.

Switch your provider

Is your contract due to expire soon? We often renew our existing contracts out of ease and familiarity, but if money saving is your goal, it’s a good idea to seek out comparisons before you consider your next contract. Make use of designated comparison sites to shop around for the best deal. It’s worth noting that a lot of organisations offer reduced rates as an introductory offer. You should bear in mind that some companies do charge an exit fee for leaving mid-contract, so don’t forget to factor this into any potential savings with a new provider.

Keep an eye out for incentives that may benefit you further down the line

As mentioned above, a number of companies will attempt to entice new customers with special deals. This may not always be of monetary value, either. Vouchers and tech, such as headphones or VR sets, are just some of the items that broadband companies have offered in the past.

Vouchers are always handy for lighter wallets, and free gifts could be put aside for Christmas presents, or even re-sold for profit, saving and even making you money in the long run.

Speak to your provider

Companies don’t want to lose customers: that’s a fact. If you’re generally happy with the service of your broadband, but are finding it hard to justify the cost, you might want to contact your provider to explain that you are struggling to keep on top of payments and are looking to switch your supplier. It’s possible that they will suggest an alternative package, or even a discount to try to keep your custom.

Don’t forget to let them know of any other offers you have found while researching cheaper options.

Finally, remember that help is always available

If you’re struggling financially, there are an array of organisations that you can reach out to for support, including Citizens Advice Bureau, National Debt Line, MoneyHelper and StepChange.

CashLady Representative 79.5% APR

Representative Example

Amount of credit:
£1000 for 12 months
at £123.40 per month
Total amount repayable of £1,480.77
Interest: £480.77
Interest rate: 79.5% pa (fixed)
79.5% APR Representative

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems.
For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk

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