How to cut your bills

Published  12 February 2024
   4 min read

Household bills are a large part of our monthly budget, but there are ways to make them more manageable.  

From water bills to council tax payments, this guide can help you with ways to save money on bills each month, by making small changes or shopping around for better deals.  

How to save money on household bills

These days, many people are keeping a close eye on their spending, but there may still be savings you can make on your household bills. The first step, is to review them regularly to make sure you’re not paying more than you should.

Keep in mind that you should check the terms of a contract before deciding to switch providers, as your existing supplier may charge you an exit fee if you try to leave while you’re still in a contract. Try to keep a note of the contract’s end date somewhere so you don’t forget.

For annual policies, the best time to shop around is when the company sends you a renewal quote.


How to save money on your energy bills

Gas and electricity prices are still higher than they were a few years ago, and the energy price cap is limiting how much gas and electricity companies can charge people who are on the standard variable tariff.

You may be able to save money by switching to a different tariff with a new supplier, although whether you save and how much you save will depend on the deal you are thinking of moving to. Price comparison sites can be a useful way to find deals on gas and electricity. 

The energy industry regulator Ofgem has a list of accredited comparison sites you can use to compare the cost of your electricity and gas bills. 

If you want to know more about how to shop around and switch energy supplier, read our guide called How to save money on your energy bills.


How to save on your water bills

Whether you can save money will depend on whereabouts in the UK you live. If you live in England and Wales, you pay the water company direct. And while you can’t switch to a different water supplier, there may be ways to keep costs down, such as:

  • Switching to a water meter if you don’t already have one
  • Taking steps to use less water – the Consumer Council for Water’s guidance can help
  • Asking your supplier if they offer support to customers who receive benefits or have a low income. Water companies offer social tariffs, which could reduce the cost of a bill by up to 50%. The rules on who qualifies and how much help you get varies between suppliers, but you can find out more about social tariffs on the Consumer Council for Water website.
  • Contacting the WaterSure scheme, which caps water bills for people who receive certain benefits, have a large family or have medical conditions that require high water use.

In Scotland, water bills are paid as part of Council Tax and the amount you pay is based on your Council Tax band, rather than the water you use.  You can have a water meter installed so you only pay for the water you use. However, you will be charged for the installation (the water meter itself is free), so it may not save you money in the long run.  You can read more on the Citizens Advice Scotland website. People in Northern Ireland aren’t currently billed for water charges. 


How to save on your mobile phone bill

You can contact your provider to discuss renewal deals or shop around elsewhere as soon as your current contract runs out. You can also use price comparison sites to see what other providers are offering.

It’s possible to keep your current phone number when you switch providers. You can move your number by texting ‘PAC’ (which stands for ‘porting authorisation code’) to 65075 – and you can even do this online.

The telecoms regulator Ofcom has a list of approved price comparison sites that can help you compare mobile contract deals.


How to save money on broadband, landline and pay TV

Like mobile phone contracts, once your contract is about to end, you can speak with your current broadband provider to see if they will offer you a cheaper deal. Another option is to use a price comparison site to see if a better deal is available. It’s also worth telling your current provider that you’re thinking of leaving, to see if they can move you to a better package.

If you’re struggling to pay for your broadband, you may qualify for a low-cost social tariff, costing as little as £15 a month. This is normally available to people on certain benefits. There’s more information on this in our guide Where to get help with the cost of living.

You could also save money by bundling your broadband, landline and pay TV together under the same provider – if you’re not already doing this - as this can be cheaper than paying for them separately.


How to save money on annual insurance policies

Paying for insurance annually is usually a cheaper option than paying for it each month. Check with your provider to see if annual payments will save you money.

When your insurance comes up for renewal, check to make sure you’re paying for cover you actually need, and that you’re not over or under-insured.

Since January 2022, insurance companies haven’t been able to charge existing customers more than an equivalent new customer. This is because they can’t give new customers discounts for switching.

While this means you’re not guaranteed to make any savings by switching, it’s still worth checking price comparison sites. Try a few different sites, as they don’t all show the same deals.

Some insurers offer discounts if you buy your car insurance and home insurance from the same company, which may save you money.


How to save money on your mortgage

Switching your mortgage to a new lender is known as ‘remortgaging’ and it could save you money on your monthly payments. However, the amount you save, and whether you save anything at all, will depend on a range of factors, such as the level of interest rates, how competitive the mortgage market is and your own financial situation. An alternative to remortgaging is switching your mortgage. This is where you move to a new mortgage deal with your existing mortgage lender. 

If you’re currently on a fixed-rate, discount, or tracker deal, it’s likely that you’ll move back to your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) once the deal ends. The SVR could be a lot higher than the rate you’ve been paying previously.

If you are on a fixed-rate mortgage, many lenders will charge you a fee if you try to switch elsewhere before the initial term ends. That’s why it’s better to start shopping around six months before the deal ends, so you can move your mortgage as soon as the term is over. It’s a good idea to get advice from an independent mortgage broker if you are thinking of remortgaging. They may charge a fee for their time but they should tell you how much this is.  


How to save money on Council Tax

You may be able to pay less Council Tax, depending on your circumstances. For example, you can get a 25% discount if you’re the only adult living in the property. You may also be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax if you live with someone who is disabled. You can find out more about this scheme on the website.  

You can check on the Government’s website to confirm if your local council offers any discounts.

Council Tax reductions are also available for people on a low income or certain benefits. This could reduce your bill by up to 100%.

There’s a different scheme in Northern Ireland, which you can read about on the NI Direct website.


How to save money on food bills

Grocery bills can make up a big chunk of household spending, so it makes sense to look for savings.

  • There are many ways to cut back on spending without making major sacrifices, such as:
  • Planning your meals for a week and then writing your shopping list to avoid buying unnecessary items
  • Changing to a cheaper supermarket or cheaper brands
  • Avoiding shopping when you’re hungry, as you’re more likely to buy things you don’t need
  • Signing up for loyalty cards - as they could offer special discounts for card holders, and points that could earn you extra savings


How to save money on petrol and diesel

Use a price-checking website to make sure you’re always getting fuel for the cheapest price possible.

Other ways to save on fuel costs include:

  • Driving at a lower speed
  • Avoiding accelerating and braking quickly, unless absolutely necessary
  • Not using air conditioning and fan heaters
  • Turning on your car’s stop/start technology (if it has it)
  • Making sure your tyres are at the right pressure
  • Removing heavy, nonessential items from your car boot.