How I saved £5,000 a year with a few phone calls

How I saved £5,000 a year with a few phone calls: One writer sets about slashing her household expenses with some switching and haggling

My husband and I like to think we’re quite savvy with our money. We use comparison sites to find the cheapest insurance policies, and I can often be seen hunting for ‘yellow stickeritems in the supermarket.

But like many families, we’ve been alarmed by the rising cost of our weekly shop, and our astronomical energy bill. Our household budget has come under pressure from every side: from filling up our Seat Leon to the 20 pc price hike at our local fish and chip shop.

It’s not possible to switch our energy bill right now as there are no competitive deals and we moved our broadband, car and home insurance recently, so I know those are in safe hands.

I set myself a challenge to reduce our other outgoings with some clever switching and haggling.

Our household budget has come under pressure from every side: from filling up our Seat Leon to the 20 pc price hike at our local fish and chip shop

Our household budget has come under pressure from every side: from filling up our Seat Leon to the 20 pc price hike at our local fish and chip shop

MORTGAGE

Our lender sent a letter reminding us that our fixed rate is ending soon. I check what rate we’d fall on to if we did nothing. Gasp! Die antwoord is 4.24 pc. Our current rate is 1.26 pc.

I ring mortgage broker London & Land (L&C) for advice. As well as searching the market, it recommends checking what rates our lender is offering, as it often has deals for existing customers. Two options come up: a 2.34 pc two-year fixed rate, en a 2.16 pc five-year fix.

The five-year rate — which is £1,432 a month — feels competitive in today’s climate and we make the switch.

Voorheen: £1,770 a month

Na: £1,432 a month

Annual saving: £4,056

But like many families, we've been alarmed by the rising cost of our weekly shop, and our astronomical energy bill

But like many families, we’ve been alarmed by the rising cost of our weekly shop, and our astronomical energy bill

BANK ACCOUNT

Our Nationwide FlexPlus joint account costs £13 a month. We took it out years ago as it was offering 3 pc interest, plus free travel insurance and breakdown cover.

Egter, it scrapped the interest in 2019 and are the ‘perksa saving? [object Window], I find I can get cheaper annual travel insurance by buying it directly (I used comparison sites Moneysupermarket.com and Uswitch.com to find the best deal — £27.20 for a year).

After spotting there’s a £175 bonus if you transfer to the HSBC Advance Account, I make the switch.

Voorheen: £156 a year

Na: £42.54 a year (for travel insurance/breakdown cover)

Annual saving: £288.46 (includes £175 switching bonus)

FOOD DELIVERY

We have a weekly Sainsbury’s delivery, paying £5 for an hourly slot. By changing to the saver slots — which have a four-hour window — I can save £208 a year and, as my husband and I now both work from home, it’s convenient.

By taking up free delivery offers from time to time from Ocado and Iceland, I can make further savings pushing the annual total saved up to £220.

Voorheen: £260

Na: halter nekke en mou bikini's aan dié met kettings

Annual saving: £ 220

By taking up free delivery offers from time to time from Ocado and Iceland, I can make further savings pushing the annual total saved up to £220

By taking up free delivery offers from time to time from Ocado and Iceland, I can make further savings pushing the annual total saved up to £220

TV SERVICES

Netflix has become an integral part of our life but do we also need Disney+ and Amazon Prime? I call Netflix to try to haggle on the price — we’re on the basic plan, costing £6.99 a month — to no avail.

So I cancel my Amazon subscription, saving £7.99 a month. For Disney+ (also £7.99 a month), you can use £8 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers to buy a six-month subscription. So I cancel our contract and will save up my Clubcard vouchers to get it again in future.

Voorheen: £275.64

Na: £83.88

Annual saving: £191.76

GYM MEMBERSHIP

For £45 a month, I can use the gym, indoor pool, lido and attend classes at my local leisure centre.

Can I cut the price? I go to ask in person and the receptionist explains I can switch to the £34 membership. This doesn’t include classes but, as I tend to only use the gym and lido, 'Daardie belediging gaan baie lank duur.

I can also get a month free by recommending a friend, so I message a pal who agrees.

Voorheen: £45 a month

Na: £34 a month

Annual saving: £166 (including the one free month)

MOBILE PHONE

My Sim-only mobile deal is already a bargain: for £10.92 a month, I get unlimited minutes and texts, and 10GB of data. Egter, O2 has announced it’s raising tariffs by 7.8 pc to reflect inflation, so my bill (including VAT) is about to jump to £11.63.

Can I beat the hike? When I call, I’m put on hold for nine minutes before I get through. Uiteindelik, I’m offered a £10 deal for 6GB of data. I generally only use 2GB of my 10GB data each month, so I accept the offer.

It may only be a £1.63 saving, maar die 14 pc reduction wipes out the inflationary rise and saves me a few pennies on top.

Voorheen: £11.63 a month

Na: £10 a month

Annual saving: £19.56

GROOT TOTAAL: £4,941.78

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