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What bills should you be reviewing annually?

Household bills are one of the biggest costs for any adult in the UK. Think about how much money you spend on your gas and electricity, TV, phone and broadband, and other subscription services. Not to mention your mortgage. The answer is likely to be £100’s or into the £1000’s of pounds. Because of this, it’s essential to review your bills at least annually to make sure you are still paying the correct amount and to check if you are getting the best deal available. This article will discuss what bills you should review at least once a year to make sure you are not paying more than you should.

Gas and electricity bills

These are the costs associated with heating and providing power to your home. In theory, your energy bills should rise with the cost of inflation, but unfortunately, they are growing at a much higher rate. When you sign up for a new energy deal, it’s usually for a fixed term, for example, 12 or 24 months. After which, you will automatically transfer to a standard variable tariff where the supplier essentially sets the rate you pay. This could be a considerable increase on the original deal you have. Knowing when your deal ends or at least checking every year using a comparison website will give you an idea of how much you can save by switching in a few minutes. Switching is super simple now too, with many suppliers, you can sign up in a few clicks. Your new supplier will sort everything out with your existing supplier to make the change smooth and this will often be done within a month.

You can even set up alerts using energy comparison tools to email you when they detect you can make a saving of £50 or more. So by switching energy suppliers yearly, you can save around £200 – More if you haven’t changed for a while.

Gas

Source – @ilsedriessen

Telephone, broadband and TV

When looking at your annual bills, your broadband and TV packages should be high up your list. First, check through your TV package and decide if you really need the package you have signed up for. For example, if you have sports and movie add ons but no one watches them, contact your provider to downgrade your package and save ££ off your monthly bill.

Next, look at the broadband speed you are paying for and check it against what broadband speeds you are getting from your supplier in your area. If it’s lower than advertised, it’s possible that you simply cannot achieve that speed at your property and downgrading to a lower speed package would not affect your broadband service, but it could save you on your monthly bill.

A lot of people choose to bundle their TV, broadband and phone services with one supplier. Many of these suppliers offer excellent introductory discounts on entering a contract that can double in price after 12 or 24 months. Be sure to check when your contract ends and either make changes to your existing package to eliminate those extras no one uses to bring down the costs or consider signing up with another introductory deal elsewhere.

Insurance

This includes motor, home, buildings and contents insurance. If you are a homeowner, having buildings insurance is likely to be a condition of your mortgage. In most cases, you’ll package this with home contents insurance to obtain a better overall policy fee. Your insurance provider will write to or email you on renewal each year to advise how much the same insurance will be for the following year.

At this point, it’s advisable to shop around to see if you can save by switching to a different insurance provider. If you can, contact your existing insurer to advise them that you have found a lower price elsewhere. In some cases, they can look to see if they can lower the premium to keep your business.

The same applies to a car or motor insurance policy. In the month leading up to renewal, you’ll receive a letter detailing your policy costs for the following year. By shopping around and comparing policy costs, you may find you can either save money or get a policy with more benefits for the same price you are currently paying. It’s a process that takes just minutes but could yield considerable savings.

Life insurance and health insurance are also two other more lucrative insurances that if you have you might want to review every so often. Especially if your circumstances have changed, such as adding a new family member, moving home or additional income.

Mortgage repayments

Your mortgage is likely to be one of your biggest outgoings, so making sure you’re getting the best deal is top of the list for many of us. By remortgaging when your fixed deal ends, you could save £1000’s over the term of your mortgage.

Remortgaging throughout your payment term will ensure you are getting the best rates and best deals out there. If you don’t remortgage at the end of your fixed period, you could be moved over to a standard variable mortgage where the lender sets the rate, which can change every month. In 2019 the average standard variable rate was 4.9%, while the average fixed rate was 2.52%. Often the SVR isn’t the most competitive option, so knowing when your deal is due to end is key to making sure you don’t pay a higher interest rate than necessary. If you don’t remortgage, you could end up paying £1000’s more over the life of your mortgage. Doing a yearly check to see what you are paying and when your deal ends will help you keep on top of this important bill.

Council tax

The amount of council tax you pay can vary greatly depending on where you live. The bands can even change from one street to the next. Your local council authority is responsible for allocating council tax bands appropriately, and the price you pay from one band to another can be considerable. Checking every year that your council tax band hasn’t changed is another way to stay on top of your monthly bills. You can do a quick check here to find out your council tax band.

As a homeowner, you’ll have many outgoings. Taking some time to review at least once a year could mean you make significant savings in the long term and end up financially better off. There are many ways to make short work of reviewing your bills, from using comparison services to talking to one of our financial advisors to help you review your bills.

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