Whilst trying to being frugal it pays to keep a constant eye on your bills.
We made a tremendous saving on electricity last winter by using primarily the wood burner, closely followed by microwaving bean bags to keep warm. We lived in the front room (no hardship as that is where we spend most of our time anyway). Even allowing for the cost of logs it was cheaper than using the oil fired central heating. I have now found a slightly cheaper source and we will be stocking up soon. Doing this enabled us to knock quite a bit off our monthly electricity payment plus we still have 1/4 of a tank of oil left - normally unheard of!
We have now gone on a water meter and reckon that will knock anywhere between £200 - £250 off our annual bill.
Now for the crunch. We recently received our telephone bill (paperless to save more money). They want to put up our monthly direct debit – again. Here is one area where we feel we have been stung and are going to sort it out.
Our telephone provider charges you £3.85 per month extra for paying by direct debit and nothing for paying annually. On the other hand our electricity company actually gives you a 5% discount for paying by direct debit!
We are on a free weekend call plan (which no longer exists apparently) and unlimited broadband. Well, we only got that when DS. was at home and wanted to play games online – so that can go.
We will be phoning them up today and seeing if we can pay off our entire bill. Then we will stop direct debit payments and change to paying the bill when it arrives. After that we will hope to change from unlimited broadband to 40GB a month (should be fine as we can't stream video/film etc and rarely download music).
Also, this new tariff will enable us to have up to 1 hours worth of free weekend and evening calls. If we can do all of that we should save a good amount per month and it will be well worth it.
Once this bill is sorted out, we will have saved as much as we can without swapping companies constantly (which we don't want to do).
Ah, nearly forgot, the RAC renewal came. We have been members for quite a while without needing to call them out. We found the bill outrageous so thanks to Mrs. Moneypenny from Superscrimpers, we challenged them. They said as a gesture of goodwill and for this year only, they will charge us around half the normal amount if we pay up front.
So we did. Come next year if they try to put it back up we will go elsewhere.
Are you regularly checking your bills to make sure something unexpected hasn't crept in. Have you changed your usage of things and need to adjust the payments/contract accordingly?