Hello everyone! We talk on this blog about the importance of saving money often, which leads of a lot of the other good stuff in building a healthy financial life. However it can sometimes all feel a bit theoretical, so I wanted to share a few things that I’ve done practically over the last few months to save money that have actually cut bills for me by a very substantial amount of £2,500.
This isn’t intended to be a complete guide to the absolute plethora of strategies you can use to cut bills – just an example of some of the personal experiences I’ve had recently.
Cut bills by cancelling Sky TV
We are truly in the age of peak TV. Some of the latest dramas and sport out there have been absolutely brilliant!
I’ve been a subscriber to Sky TV pretty much since I moved to London, and I think it’s actually a pretty great product. Unfortunately ominous looking envelopes about price rises had come through my door several times in that period and I felt the cost was mounting up.
Faced with this I decided to assess what I was actually watching and enjoying. There were definitely some of Sky’s programs amongst it, but I realised a couple of things through this exercise:
1) I’m out doing other things on a frequent basis, and my TV viewing was often not that substantial.
2) Most of the TV watching I was doing was actually on Netflix, not Sky.
Faced with facts there was only one thing to do – cut the cord! It was actually a bit of a challenge – there were shows I missed for sure. However, it’s focused my limited TV watching into more quality stuff, and I’ve had no regrets several months down the line.
I should note I did intend to cancel everything, but ended up keeping Sky Broadband and Talk. This was because I’d done my research beforehand and knew the price that I could get with a competitor and they offered me the same price for something which was exactly equivalent.
When I haven’t had issues with the service, no point switching for the sake of it!
What I cut bills by: – £65 a month or £780 a year!
Ok, ok….. I’ve cheated a little here but it’s to illustrate a point. This was the saving from the full price package I was on, but practically I was on a deal with reduced the cost for most of my time with Sky in exchange for extending the contract.
Negotiate with Sky and Virgin Media
Even if you aren’t quite ready to cut the cord completely, both Sky and Virgin Media are very willing to negotiate and it’s worth doing so.
Most people find negotiation a little scary so I’ve written a step by step guide on what to expect when negotiating with Sky and Virgin Media. Just give it a go the savings made by doing this can be really quite substantial.
Cut bills by getting a library card
I absolutely devour books. A combination of an hour-and-a-quarter-each-way commute and a quick reading speed means that I’m constantly on the hunt for new material!
I did something this year that I’ve been meaning to do for ages, and went and joined my local library. And you know what…… I was really pleasantly surprised. The sign up process and arming me with my shiny new library card took minutes. The range was excellent and I found significant more newer books than I was expecting – obtaining good material wasn’t the struggle I thought it might be.
Owing to my voluminous book appetites I’ve largely shifted to using a Kindle for practical purposes (even if there’s nothing quite like a good solid book) so the most pleasant surprise was to find out that you can get e-books through the library as well.
I still buy the odd book here (Amazon’s daily deals, often having interesting kindle books for 99p is great for discovering new stuff by the way) but library use has definitely reduced my spend.
What I cut bills by – I was getting through two £6.99ish books a week, but always tried to find bargains and usually did so I think the cost is a bit lower in reality. Let’s say that’s a saving of £8 a week and £416 a year. That’s more than I would have expected.
Always love a good book chat so please do let us know any recommendations.
Cut bills by changing coffee habits
The nice thing about these tips to cut bills is that they’re actually not all about moneysaving in origin.
I absolutely love and adore coffee. The taste of it, the smoothness, that flavour profile you get from some really good beans. I love it, and I’m unashamedly a coffee snob.
What I was noticing however was that the caffeine would leave me a bit too fired up – initially I’d see the improvement in concentration on my work but before long I’d start feeling anxious. I’d already largely switched to decaf as a result this year.
A morning cup from the work cafeteria was a daily treat, but I made a conscious decision to no longer do that. I still have an occasional cup, but try and build it into something useful like networking – and yes, just occasionally I do treat myself.
If a daily coffee is a habit for you, it’s worth totting up just how much it’s costing you over time. With each caffeine hit being relatively cheap it never feels like much on each purchase – but big picture it can add up to a lot of bill cu
What I cut bills by – I’m probably drinking 2 cups a week instead of 5. Part of this was the temptation through my work cafe which is a very reasonable (for barista coffee) £1.65 for a flat white. So that’s £4.95 a week saved and £257 a year.
Just for comparison if you didn’t have the luxury of a work cafe and were at a Costa/Starbucks your coffee would be more like £2.80. Working on the same “three cups less” basis you save from cutting your bills be £8.40 a week and £436 a year.
Cut bills by cooking at home
Cooking at home didn’t start as an attempt to cut bills down but actually from simply trying to flex an old skill. It’s been a genuine pleasure (especially through the winter months) to take the time to try out a few more recipes!
If you think you can’t cook, I recommend signing up for some basic classes and considering it as an investment. Once you get into it it’s genuinely fun and relaxing – and not only is the end result more tasty than anything you buy, it’s usually healthier as well and gives you control over what you’re putting into your body.
What I saved: I was never a big takeaway person, but did like to eat out a couple of times a week. I tried to work out what I’d reduced my spend by on eating out whilst replacing it with the smaller additional cost of buying in addition ingredient to cook with. I reached a saving on a saving of £1,020 a year.
I know I’m using some approximation on this bill cut but surprised myself on realising it had made the most difference.
Given research shows that especially in London ordering takeaway has become a regular thing, the potential cuts to your bills here could be massive…..
We’d really love to hear from anyone who’s had any big household moneysaving successes or if you followed our advice above and noticed the different.
Check out this great article from How to Make Your Dollars Make Sense on 25 ways to save money fast!
There’s some great advice on the Joelisa blog on a six step approach to living within your means which contains more great tips!
And if you’re after more moneysaving tips, you may find our article on saving money on tube and train fares interesting.
And that’s it!
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