Martin Lewis: How to save thousands cutting energy, TV, broadband, phone and council tax bills
Households could save thousands cutting their energy, TV, broadband, phone and council tax bills, according to MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis. Below he takes you through how.
Speaking on The Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV last night (14 January 2020), Martin explained; "it's time to take down some pelicans (...they have big bills)". You can also read MoneySavingExpert.com's Cheap Gas and Electricity, Broadband and TV, Digital TV Deals and Council Tax Bands guides for further help busting your bills.
How to cut your energy bills
Martin's key points on saving on your energy bills were:
- Don’t trust energy comparisons right now (even mine)
Martin said: "The big message at the moment is don't trust energy comparison results right now - including mine - because they are underestimating the savings for the over 50% of the population on standard tariffs." The savings they suggest you'll get are based on the energy price cap that is in place at the moment, but it’ll likely rise £100+/year from 1 April.
- Always compare prices - the winner depends on use and location
Martin explained that one-year fixes are available from £888/year on typical use (Simplicity Energy). There's also a one-year big name fix from £984/year (Eon newbies only) and a two-year fix from £1,012/year (Green Energy).
How to cut your broadband and phone bills
Martin said: "Most of you are out of contract and are paying £30 to £45 a month. The way to get this for less - I've said this so many times before - is short lived promo deals on comparison sites."
He highlighted some examples of deals out there at the moment (all via different comparison sites):
- Ends Wed 20 Jan: Plusnet 10Mb '£16.20/month' (£19/month but you can claim a £50 prepaid card, 18month contract)
- Ends Thur 21 Jan: Virgin 108Mb ‘£18.40/month’ (£24/month but you get a £100 bill credit, 18month contract)
- End Wed 20 Jan: TalkTalk 67Mb ‘£19.80/month’ (£24/month but you can claim an £80 prepaid card, £18/month)
See our Broadband and TV guides for help on this topic.
How to cut digital TV bills
On this topic, Martin explained: "These can be really expensive - £1,000 a year, some people, can be spending easily."
His key tips were as follows:
- Many can save £200 to £400/year. Do a channel audit to decide what channels you actually need and get rid of the ones you don't want. Martin also said that if you've got digital TV and broadband separately, it's usually cheaper to merge them together.
- Haggle if you’re at the end of your contract (or out of it). Martin said: "Really, the power here is all about the haggle if you're at the end or out of your contract." His key tips here are as follows:
- Check comparison sites to benchmark prices
- Remember the success rates of those who try: Sky 80%+, Virgin, TalkTalk and BT 70%+
- Be polite and charming not agressive
- Get through to customer retentions (the company will likely refer to this as disconnections but actually they want to try and retain you)
See our Digital TV Deals guide for more help on this.
How to cut council tax bills
Speaking about council tax Martin said: "I've talked about this many times before. Some people are owed £1,000s."
He then explained the key things to check:
- There are two steps to check if you’re in the wrong band (BOTH must work)
- Neighbours house price check: England www.voa.gov.uk Scotland: www.saa.gov.uk
- Valuation house price check: What was your house worth in 1991? Martin added: "There are tools online that will do this for you for free as it's a bit complicated."
- Other council tax discounts to check out:
- Single occupancy: 25% off (under 18s/full time students don’t count)
- Severe Mental Impairment disregard
- Reduction for low incomes, struggling due to Covid (varies by council)
- Disabled residents in adapted homes may get their band lowered
For full information on this see Council Tax Bands, How to claim the 'severely mentally impaired' council tax discount and Coronavirus Finance and Bills Help.