Have you ever heard those ads on the radio or on TV offering you money off to switch your electricity supplier, your insurer or even your bank? Have you told yourself you must look into it some time, and never got around to it? The good news is that this takes very little effort, can be done from the comfort of your sofa and can save you thousands of Euro per year in expenses. I have more reasons than most for focusing on my expenses right now. I have been “between jobs” for the past number of months, so I am more “time rich and cash poor” than usual, and these savings translate to more money in the bank for me at this time where I am particularly budget-conscious.
Here’s a breakdown of how I reduced my expenses by € 850 this evening without leaving my couch, starting with the biggest savings!
- Home Insurance: Saving of € 484 per year / (61% reduction)
In order to avail of a mortgage, the bank required that I take out home insurance. Like many people, I took a policy out with the bank that offered me the mortgage. I spent an hour or two one evening recently reviewing comparison websites and submitting enquiries, which resulted in a few call backs with quotes the following day. In the end, switching the policy reduced my yearly expense by 61%, or €484 per year in real terms. I made this saving by switching from the policy I had with the bank/ mortgage provider, and by reducing the amount of cover I had in the policy for rebuilding costs as well as contents, since the original policy included more cover than I actually needed. Over the course of a 29 year mortgage, this couple of hours one evening spent looking into alternatives would result in a saving of over € 14,000, and that’s without taking into consideration the effects of compounding (the interest which could be earned on the money saved over the time period). A simple Google search will produce many comparison websites. Below are a few which I used, which are specific to the Irish market:
- Gas and Electricity: Saving of € 261.76 per year (15% reduction)
I used the switching website www.bonkers.ie to search for the option with the biggest savings. Bonkers arranges the entire switch, and ensures that the process is seamless
- Mobile Phone: Saving of € 60 per year (17% reduction)
My plan cost € 30 per month for 15 GB Data, unlimited calls and texts. I discovered that my provider was now offering the exact same deal for € 25 per month for 6 months, so I switched to this plan. A useful comparison website is:
- Internet (mobile broadband): Saving of € 45 per year (20% reduction)
I was paying € 15 per month for 15 GB Data. While I didn’t find a cheaper offer with any other provider, I did notice that my existing provider currently had an online offer of 30 GB for € 15, so I switched to this deal and got double the data for the same price. This will save me, since I have gone over my data allowance in the past year to the tune of € 45. Since I have both mobile phone and internet from the same supplier, I was able to switch both with just one call.
|Gas & Electric:||€261.76|
With a minimal amount of effort, I was able to reduce my expenses by € 850. I feel that it is well worth the effort, and plan on making this an annual exercise from now on! This is extremely easy to do thanks to the proliferation of comparison websites, some of which even arrange for the switch. It is also worthwhile since some utilities, such as gas and electricity, reward switchers as opposed to loyal customers. For these utilities in particular, it makes sense to review, and probably even to switch, on an annual basis. In the case of my phone and internet bills, it was simply a matter of looking on the provider’s website to see that they had reduced the rates for the particular package which I had. The next step was simply a matter of calling their loyalty team to kindly ask that they put me on the latest pricing for that package, which they did with no objection. In the case of life insurance, (another mandatory requirement to take out the mortgage), I discovered that my current policy is about the most competitive in the market, and it did not make sense to switch. In the case of health insurance, I purposefully held off on looking into this for the moment, since I am currently looking for a new job, and this is often provided by employers in Ireland as part of the benefits package. As such I will review this once I have secured a new job. By far the biggest saving for me came from switching my home insurance policy. This represented over half of my total saving from this exercise – €484. If you have time to look at one expense only, this would be the one I would recommend looking at, particularly for anyone who took the policy out with the bank who provided them with the mortgage, as I did. In some cases, banks have “oversold” in this area, leaving people paying for more insurance than they need. Also, the quotes which the banks themselves offer are often not the most competitive in the market. In my case, this exercise resulted in an € 850 saving for just a couple of hours of my time!
The websites I have referenced here are relevant to the options available in Ireland. A Google search should produce similar options for other countries.