We’ll be half way through this current Tenner Week challenge by this afternoon, so how are you getting on with your budgeting?
Today’s challenge is to see if you can hunt down a better deal on a regular household bill. This is something we all say we’re going to get around to, but far less than half of us actually do it. So let’s buck that trend and put one of your bills to the test. In the unlikely event that you can’t find yourself a better deal, at least you’ll have tried.
It’s up to you which bill you pick: fuel, mobile, entertainment packages, insurance, or whatever else you think could be costing you over the odds.
Go through your recent bills, check meters, and consider your usage patterns. That could be units of gas or electricity, the true annual mileage on your car, texts sent and number of calls made, or an accurate picture of the amount of TV and film you watch (and any channels you might be paying for but not watching).
Realistically, can you use less of anything? Or are you on the wrong tariff, for example, and currently paying for far more than you’re using, or could you be paying excessive rates for exceeding your allowances?
Once you’re sure you have a realistic picture of your requirements, it’s time to start looking for a better deal.
The important thing to remember is to never take the first deal that comes up. There are several comparison sites for various bills (GoCompare, Confused, MoneySupermarket and so on) and it’s good to check with all of them, and then do a bit more research of your own. Deals can vary hugely between the services and the devil is truly in the details.
Take the time to read the small print, and don’t be scared to ask questions if you don’t understand something, especially if it’s regarding insurance.
It’s also worth seeing whether you can do some polite, cheerful haggling for some bills. This is particularly the case for mobile bills and entertainment packages, where the big players may offer to match the competition.
Today is about the bottom line – making your bills cheaper – so try not to be swayed by free gifts and added extras. The only exception is cashback deals, where the extra money offered may leave you, on balance, better off over the course of a contract. Don’t get too caught up with offers of high street vouchers today, as it encourages you to spend and doesn’t help you to save.
What’s happening here
I managed another no spend day yesterday, mainly by making an extra-strong coffee at home instead of buying one, and keeping nice and busy. Did some decluttering, and looked through a box and a drawer of stored clothes ahead of the start of spring. I also managed to get on the exercise bike for a fitness session, which was a bit overdue.
We had more of Tuesday’s massive black bean chilli again for dinner, but I spiced it up with some extra cocoa powder, chipotle chilli and tomato puree. That made the sauce spicier, smokier and richer and it kept things interesting, plus there’s enough left over for lunch today too.
Tonight we’re having something nice and simple: bangers and mash, with lots of veggies. Once again I’m looking forward to my dinners even more than usual, and there’s Tenner Week to thank for that. No idea why that is, but it always happens – maybe it’s the added pressure to create healthy, tasty meals.
I’m hoping to have another no spend day again today, and am saving up my measly remaining £1.85 for the weekend. Might go crazy and have a cup of tea somewhere. Woo! Meanwhile, we have free tickets for a film screening, and friends coming over for a meal before the week is out, so things can’t be described as too hermit-like.
Can you cut one of your bills today? Also, how much money do YOU have left out of your £10 note? Hope you’re doing better than I am.