Today I’m writing about filthy, dirty money. Its not really a topic most of like talking about, its just not the done thing is it? Never discuss money, politics or religion my mum used to tell me. Keeps you out of all sorts of trouble. But I feel like being rebellious.
I am now a single income house hold but the bills them selves haven’t actually reduced much so after my ex husband left I got my thinking cap on.When we were together he dealt with the finances, how old fashioned I hear you say? not really, it was a division of labour, I did everything else. Just before he left the house completely I had began feeling so out of my depth with the bills that I asked him to put together a folder of the basics, who supplied our gas etc, and I must give him credit because he did do it. It isn’t as crazy an idea s it seems, all your bill info in one place, trust me. When I started looking through the bills I realised I had to try and save money somewhere and so I to turned to Money Saving Expert, turned out my ex didn’t know that much about money! He had never switched provider or looked for deals which meant that I was paying way over the odds for some things. I put a stop to it rather quickly.
I did the following things and it made a difference;
Applied for the Council Tax Single Person Discount.
Used the nifty Bill Monitor, invented by mathematicians at Oxford don’t you know! It finds the best new deal for me based on my personal usage which they kindly average out for you and let you know the deals that would best suit you.
Signed up to Martin Lewis’ Cheap Energy Club who email you best deals aroubd, and then update you once a better one comes along, you can also get cashback for wsitching to some companies, it is fully explained and hastle free, I know, I did it and finally got my gas and electric down from £120 to £57 per month. I pay monthly by direct debit as you get discounts for doing this and for going paperless but I make sure that I regularly submit meter readings and check my online account, I was once a few hundred in credit and only found out by reviewing the online bill, I put half towards future bills and the rest I had transferred to my bank account..
I used Money Supermarket to find a good car insurance deal which saved me nearly £200 a year, and they store your details so you can just sign back in the following year to see what the next deal for car insurance is.
I had to remortgage very quickly, and with some difficulty, as my ex husband wanted to be removed from the Joint Mortgage asap. I received fantastic assistance from my Bank who gave me a mortgage, helped me switch from my old provider and brought my mortgage repayments down by over £200 per month. I also rearranged my home insurance through my bank which saved me £80 a month- I know!
I shopped around for pet insurance and managed to save £10 by changing companies to Pet Plan who also give you discounts for multiple pets. I had two cats at the time.
I got rid of the Virgin TV, Phone and Broadband and got a roof aerial installed – how v retro- and now only have ordinary channels. I do however have Netflix (£5.99 per month) and I was gifted a Google Chromecast so I can watch it through the iPad or on my TV.
I changed my Phone and Broadband to TalkTalk and that averages £26.00 per month, plus the £5.00 Netflix is £31 vs the £45+ I was spending with Virgin.
I organised my ass off when doing the house hold shopping and I am constantly making lists. I have the heavy bulky boring times delivered once a month on pay day, the slots late at night are the cheapest and its not like i’m out painting the town red anyway. I use MySupermarket for this, they let you know if it would be cheaper to swap with another brand during your online shop at your preferred supermarket and then transfer all your products to the relevant supermarket website when you are ready to pay.
I get a weekly fruit and veg box from a local farm which has forced me to eat good stuff.
I planted my allotment this summer, the cabbage and carrots have been feeding the rabbit and the potatoes have provided a constant source of deliciousness for dinner, with more to be harvested. The beetroot is being used for my morning juices.
The supermarket delivery and fruit & veg boxes essentially mean that I am just picking up milk and vegetables once a week for juicing and not spending time shopping. But more importantly it means that I can pay the food bill up front for the month, allowing me greater control of my finances.
I already have two bank accounts, one old joint account and another with essentially nothing in it, a hang over from student days. I am slowly but surely moving all my bills over to the one account but I already know literally down to the penny what bills are going out and when, so again I know how much will be spent each month.
I have cut down on blatant consumerism, I do miss shopping for myself, it’s nice to have pretty things, but when I do need to buy something I usually do it online as the deals are great and I always use a cash back site, the one I use most is Quidco.
I also have loyalty cards for all the stores I regularly use, those Boots Advantage Card points sure add up as do the Tesco Club Card vouchers and since you can double your voucher value when you buy from their clothes department I saved about 50% when buying Lulu’s school uniform there.
The Body Shop Card is great as is the Paperchase Card that they have just released. I also have a Waterstones Card as I buy most of Lulu’s party gifts for friends there, a book is usually a safe bet, and I cash in every few months and treat myself to some books. I get Lulu to make all the Birthday cards, she enjoys it and it it is a good money saver.
If you have an O2 contrast don’t forget the O2 Priority App that you can down load to your phone. There is always money off Body Shop which is where I now buy a lot of my skin care, no more Ren or Dermalogica for me – budget constraints etc. Also, currently you can get a free coffee from Caffe Nero everyday from 10am-12noon and get a stamp on your loyalty card for it. What is not to love about that???
I also need to make a special mention of From Aldi to Harrods. This is blog is authored by the delightful Emma, I’ve been reading it for a while and it is chock full of amazing money making and money saving ideas. She is fantastic at responding to emails and she is my new girl crush! I cannot recommend her blog enough.
This is not a sponsored post, I just wanted to share what worked for me and hopefully save you all a little leg work when it comes to cutting down on those evil bills.