Haggling can reduce costs by up to £500 a year on a variety of household expenses, including mobile phone contracts and car insurance, says the consumer body Which?. It surveyed over a thousand of its members and found that 86% of those who haggled over their mobile phone contract, and 85% of those who did the same with their TV, home and broadband package, received a better deal. A further 83% obtained a discount on a holiday abroad when haggling with an in-store travel agent.

Overall, Which? members said they managed to get an average £105 off a mobile phone contract, £191 off a summer holiday, £40 off car insurance renewal and £157 off a broadband bundle.

Then save £240 a year with LED light bulbs

LED bulbs use a fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs but cost a lot more to buy. The running cost of 10 6W LED bulbs is 7.3p per day, 51p a week, £2.19 a month and £26.65 a year so, the savviest buy you could make this year could be a box of new light bulbs.

An investment in the latest expensive but super-efficient bulbs could save you £240 a year and pay for itself within five months.

These bulbs, which are made up of LEDs (light-emitting diodes), are about 10 times more efficient. So, to replace a traditional 60W bulb you need just a 6W LED bulb. LED lights are considerably more expensive to buy but they consume so much less electricity that you will quickly recoup your outlay in lower bills.

If you replace all your traditional bulbs with a 6W LED equivalent, the running costs will be just one tenth – or 7.3p per day, 51p a week, £2.19 a month and £26.65 a year. The savings are therefore 65.7p a day, £4.60 a week, £19.70 a month or £239.80 a year.


Cut your Utility Bills – here’s how to do it

1. Switch your tariff with the USwitch Team at Harrington Brooks

Shopping around and switching suppliers is one of the easiest ways to cut bills – yet the average consumer switches only once every 10 years. Energy companies usually change their prices twice a year, and what can be the best deal one year can prove less competitive the next. The cheapest deals are for those who opt for dual fuel (gas and electricity from the same supplier), manage their account online and pay by direct debit.
Call us or use the form at harringtonbrooks.co.uk/switching.

2.Are your roof, walls and windows letting out heat?

Loft insulation is one of the most efficient ways to keep heat from escaping in a home. The thickness of the insulation plays an important role, but it’s easy to top up if there’s some there but not enough. The recommended depth is 270mm. Topping up from 100mm to 270mm can save about £25 a year on heating bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust. A third of the heat in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls. If you have cavity walls (most properties built after 1930 do), it is relatively cheap to have them insulated, at £450 to £500.

Double-glazed windows can save up to £165 on heating bills compared with a single-glazed property.

3.Consider cheap insulating measures

Use curtains across doors, blocking draughts and investing in thermostatic radiator valves all save energy.

4.Check your ECO eligibility

ECO, which stands for Energy Company Obligation, means that the big energy suppliers are obliged to help the vulnerable with energy saving measures. It can be complicated to work out whether you are eligible, since it depends on what measures you need, where you live and if you receive any state benefits. Again the USwitch team at Harrington Brooks can help.

5.Talk to your council

Some local authorities may provide grants for energy saving measures. Check what schemes are running in your area.

6.Ditch the old boiler

Boilers are expensive to replace, but an inefficient one is also costing you money. Boilers have energy ratings, much in the same way as homes. A is the most energy efficient and G is the least. Replacing a G-rated boiler could save about £310 a year on running costs. Make sure you shop around for your boiler rather than take one from your energy provider – it can be considerably cheaper.

• Which?
• Comparethemarket.com
• USwitch
• The Energy Saving Trust