The monthly mini challenge is back! And given that it’s summer, I’ve made it quite an easy one…to reduce one (or more) regular bills.
Direct debits and automated payments can make life so easy. So easy in fact, that we almost completely forget about them. This automation is generally a good thing: having your bills paid monthly is certainly easier than writing a cheque out and sending it in the post each month. However, it does pose a danger that we simply forget about it and end up paying much more than we should be.
This is particularly a risk when it comes to the trendy fashion of introductory offers. Many providers, including banks, mobile phone networks, internet, utilities, cable tv providers, etc, offer tremendous deals for the first 6, 12 or 18 months.
However, after this introductory period, the rates and charges can shoot back up. However, you may not notice that sudden increase because they are hidden away deep in your bank statements.
Just think about broadband. A quick look on the comparison website Confused.com shows me a deal with plusnet where I can get unlimited broadband plus free weekend phone calls for £2.50 per month, line rental at £15.95 with a £5.99 upfront cost with £50 cashback for registering.
In total, this amounts to a annual cost in the first year (after which the customer is free to move again) of £177.39.
Compare that to btbroadband, which you may have signed up to in prior years, which currently has a monthly limited usage of 10GB, and is £29.99 per month (including line rental), amounting to £359.88.
Therefore, by revisiting this regular bill that you may just be paying automatically each month, you could be saving over 50% of the price.
Reduce One Monthly Bill – My Challenge
I’ve just had a good look through my bank statements and noted that I have the following regular agreements for bills around the house (in descending order of cost):
- Mortgage: fixed until November 2015 – no change possible
- Service charge: fixed non-negotiable charge
- Council tax: fixed non-negotiable charge
- Energy (gas & electric): currently in an introductory charge period (ends October 2015 – so I’ve set a calendar reminder)
- Parking: due to living in the city centre, we pay for a monthly parking permit. Cheaper (albeit less convenient) options are available, but we are moving house in the coming weeks and hence will be cancelling this next month anyway.
- Water charge: fixed non-negotiable charge
- Internet & Phone: out of contract period, currently paying £21.25 per month. Could save by changing provider, but we are moving house in the coming weeks and hence I do not want to sign up to a new contract at this stage.
- Gym membership: fixed until November 2015 – no change possible
- Mobile Phone: currently on a giffgaff non-contract paying £7.50 per month. Currently, this is the best rate on the market for my usage.
Reduce One Monthly Bill – Your Challenge
For the August monthly challenge, I would like you to do the same.
Run down all your regular payments and work out what you could be saving and where.
Then, let me know in the comments below which of your regular bills you are going to attack and how much you’ll be hoping to save. I’ll add them all to this post as you make the comments so everyone can see what great savings they could be making.
As with all monthly challenges from this point forward, you have from the first Monday of the month (3rd August) until the last Friday (28th August). Good luck!! 🙂