While loyalty is prized in friendships and relationships, there’s a different mantra you should employ when it comes to getting the best value from your services and utilities: “It pays to shop around.”
The above phrase is advice from the Ofgem website (the energy regulator in the UK), as it’s true that you can save when you do your research and see what else is out there.
The Cost of Inertia Report from Compare the Market found that not shopping around can come with a significant cost: while those surveyed said that they would need to save at least £229 in order to switch motor, home and energy providers - they could be saving as much as £421.
No one wants to miss out on £400+ of savings, which is why shopping around is essential - and not just for your energy provider. It’s best practice, whether you’re looking for new broadband, car or pet insurance, want an ISA that does more with your money or are in desperate need of quicker internet speeds.
Signing up to services and letting them run might means you could be missing out on the best deals and saving yourself a significant amount of cash (as much as £300 on gas and electricity, according to Ofgem).
We’ll help you plan your outgoings as well as show you how to potentially make some savings that could be put towards your home, an emergency savings fund or a new luxury item you’ve been dreaming of. Remember, switching = saving.
Switch up your bank account
Maybe you’ve been a devoted customer with your bank for years, but sadly, your loyalty isn’t gaining you any perks. Meanwhile, opening a new account can win you everything from free products to regular cashback incentives, discounts and a higher interest rate than you’re currently benefiting from.
The first step is always to see what alternatives are out there. Compare the Market lets you start comparing offerings from different banks, including popular app-only banks like Starling and Monzo.
You can also research various savings accounts - remember to see what the automatic savings options are. Many banks will help you boost your savings without any stress by automatically rounding up payments and putting the extra cash in your savings account.
Compare the Market also lets you compare different types of ISAs - both fixed-rate and instant access - with different providers. ISA interest rates are liable to change at varying times in the year, and you want to be sure your ISA is working hardest for your cash.
Make your home more energy-efficient
As we collectively spend more time at home, it’s natural that our heating bills will be rising, too. In fact, customers could be in for a substantial bill shock this winter due to increased energy usage over lockdown, resulting in households paying nearly £80 more in energy bills, according to Compare the Market research from November 2020.
The younger demographic, aged 16 to 34, is particularly concerned about these rising costs, with 60% worrying about how they’ll be able to pay and 31% likely to ration their heating to reduce their bill, as well as cutting back in other areas, like groceries.
There are simple switches we can make as well as more significant things to do that will help save cash on our energy bills.
Ensuring all lightbulbs are energy-efficient LEDs (and making sure lights are off when they don’t need to be on), turning the thermostat down and investing in a water-saving shower head can all help.
There are also various things you can install in your home: A low-flow toilet will save gallons of water per flush, insulation could leave you with a spare £225 a year, while solar panels could save as much as £240 per year, depending on where you live, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Even paying by direct debit can shave money off your bill.
The most important change you can make - which doesn’t involve any home improvements - is to shop around for your energy provider, whether you need gas, electricity or dual fuel from the same supplier.
While customers may be wary of switching, shopping around and making a switch is easier than you think - and you’ll never be switched off. Compare the Market’s online comparison tools could find the most cost-efficient options for your home, in mere minutes.
Also, AutoSergei will ensure you’re always aware of the latest deals: Simply set up energy alerts for gas, electricity or both and AutoSergei will scour the market. Switching could also be the opportunity you’ve been looking for to run your home on greener energy, better for the planet and your wallet.
Consider a switch on your home mortgage and insurance
If you’re a homeowner who happens to be one of the 800,000 borrowers on a long-term standard variable rate mortgage, then you could save hundreds a month simply by switching to a competitive fixed-rate mortgage.
A study from Compare the Market found that homeowners on a standard variable rate mortgage could be paying as much as £2,300 a year more than those on a two-year fixed mortgage. What’s more, if all 800,000 borrowers on a long-term SVR rate made the switch, it would equate to a whopping £2 billion saving nationwide.
There are other ways to save on home bills: don’t overestimate the value of your possessions, which could see you paying out more on home contents insurance unnecessarily, while splitting out buildings and content insurance across two providers will not only be extra hassle, it could mean extra cost.
And let’s not forget car insurance: Comparing with Compare the Market could yield savings. Simply type in a few details and see if you can beat your current provider’s renewal quote - it’s crucial to check to ensure you’re not getting overcharged.
Meerkat Your Bills, Meerkat Your Life with Compare the Market’s online comparison tools