The coronavirus pandemic is having a big impact on incomes, prompting many people to look for ways to cut their bills.
Here’s our rundown of some of options that may be available to you.
Cut energy bills
Check that you aren’t paying more than you need to for your energy. According to research by comparison site uSwitch.com, half a million energy customers could see their bills increase by an average of £103 a year when 90 fixed rate tariffs come to an end on April 30 and they roll over onto their suppliers’ standard tariffs. It claims households could save up to £404 a year by switching to one of the cheapest energy deals currently available.
Mark Todd, co-founder of comparison site Energyhelpline said: “Energy is the easiest big bill to switch. It takes just minutes; and, with prices so low, it would be crazy not to take advantage of the incredibly cheap deals right now.”
Many energy suppliers are allowing customers to take a break from payments temporarily if they can’t pay their bills due to a drop in income, so get in touch with your supplier if you need help.
Claim back travel costs
If you paid for a rail season ticket at the start of this year for your commute to work and you’re not currently able to use it, contact the train company who sold you the ticket and request a refund. You usually need at to have at least three days left on a weekly ticket to be able to claim a refund; seven days on a monthly ticket; or three months on an annual ticket.
Consider payment holidays
If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with mortgage, loan and credit card payments, you should be able to ask your lender for a three-month payment holiday. Don’t pause your payments without speaking to them first though, as this could affect your credit score. You will need to contact lenders by phone or complete an online form requesting a break There are also plans to introduce payment holidays for car finance plans too, with these changes due to come into effect next week. Remember that if you do take a break from debt repayments, you’ll continue to be charged interest, so the total amount you’ll end up paying back will be higher.
Review your broadband costs
Many people are more reliant than ever on broadband as we work from home, but if you haven’t reviewed your contract recently you should find out if you could save by switching provider. According to MoneySuperMarket.com, you could save as much as 40% on your bills by moving if you’re out of contract.
Emma Spencer, broadband expert at MoneySuperMarket.com said: “The good news is that the majority of switches between broadband providers in the UK are unaffected by the coronavirus, although around 20% of homes aren’t able to switch as they’ll need an engineer visit. “If you live in a household that does require an engineer visit to switch, you might have to wait longer for an appointment. One option could be taking out a deal with a provider that offers a dongle. Dongles have seen a fourfold surge in popularity on our site recently – as people seek extra capacity - and deals can be as cheap as £11 a month and can be a good way of staying connected until you can get an engineer to visit.” A dongle is a small device that connects to your laptop to provide you with internet access.