In considering making the most of your finances - you need to look at your household bills! I reckon you can save up to £50 a month if you shop around and play the market on electricity and gas, if you pay by direct debit with an on-line tariff. Do a similar exercise with the water company. If you are a single person you should be metered for water as your use will be less than an average household, while a large family should stay on the general rate. Car insurance – I sometimes forget who is insuring my car because I tend to move it nearly every year in order to get a better rate. The companies know that they will lose money in the first year or two but they also know that many people have a tendency not to change their company. Inertia takes over and so the long-standing customer ends up paying the higher rate. If you take the time to go through all your suppliers in this way then you can save yourself a lot of money.
There are good websites that will get you some great advice – one such is Martin’s Money Tips. Youswitch is another one that is worth looking at from time to time and covers life insurance, house insurance, car insurance, gas, electricity, internet and phone.
Recognise that the gas and electricity companies work on the principle of making your money work for them. They will try to set a monthly payment that means that you are over-paying on the basis that it ‘works out right in the end...’ However, you want to be the one in control. If they announce that they intend to set your monthly direct debit and you will have no say in the amount, then tell them that you intend to leave and find another company where you can set up an arrangement that works reasonably for you. That may change their mind!
For your TV and broadband company, remember that Virgin and Sky loathe each other! If you phone them and tell them that you are thinking of moving to the other company but that you would like to stay – what’s the best deal they can offer... they will give you a good deal. Otherwise they will take you for every pound they can! Be gracious, but understand they aren’t as nice as you are.
This series of blogs is based on the annual Stewardship seminar from King's Church London
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