International Calls from the UK: What are your money saving options?

With the prevalence of apps such as WhatsApp, Apple iPhone’s FaceTime and a host of other audio and video applications allowing for cheap and convenient calls to friends and family all over the globe, the utility of traditional mobile to mobile and mobile to landline messaging and voice calls has diminished. However, with the modern apps’ reliance on a stable data connection, whether it is through wi-fi or mobile data, sometimes some people can just not afford to be without the option of making a conventional audio call. The United Kingdom’s largest mobile phone providers offer packages for customers making regular international calls, offering reductions on standard rates which range from the high to the ludicrously extortionate. However, these reductions appear as part of contract deal packages, which leave you tied to a contract and to usage you may not require.

Smaller and lesser known mobile phone service provides offer highly competitive rates at a fraction of the cost, with monthly packages providing international calling minutes, local calling minutes and limited data allowances, all as part of “pay as you go,” prepaid bundles which you can choose to operate for just one month, or renew again after that month with a prepaid voucher. The three market leaders in this sector are giffgaff, LEBARA, Lycamobile and Vectone Mobile, all of which offer similarly competitive rates, with some degree of variety in the quality of the services provided.

In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at the packages they offer and how those deals could save you money!

 

Money Saving Advice Guide: How to Save Money on Your Mobile Phone Bill

When you’re looking to reduce your data consumption remember that most apps these days use data even when running in the background. Depending on which mobile phone handset you use, you can shut off individual apps, as well as groups of apps, from contributing to your data consumption as they run in the background. Using this feature will allow you to save on your data consumption and save on your battery usage too.

When it comes to data usage, and call and message usage too, make sure you select the option appropriate to you when agreeing the terms of your contract with the mobile phone service provider. If you’re someone that rarely makes long extended phone calls, or you are a heavy data consumer, it will be in your best interest to have this hammered out upon agreeing to the terms of your tariff. If you don’t need too many calling minutes, unlimited data, emergency roadside assistance, or any combination of the plethora of added extras mobile phone providers like to squeeze into the contract for their extra buck, make sure you cut it out. Nowadays, the latest handsets and even the mobile phone companies offer you statistics which allow you to monitor your usage of all aspects of your tariff. If you’re not confident with it yourself, you could contact your provider, help them assess your usage and save money on the stuff that you tend not to use. When you buy a contract mobile phone, you sign up for months and months, leaving you tied. If you’re unsure of your income going forward, it may be best to purchase a sim-free handset, utilising a variety of options that the various mobile phone service providers offer to “pay as you go” customers on pre-pay tariffs. In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at what’s on offer.

Money Saving Advice Guide: How to Save Money on Your Mobile Phone Bill

As we have established in previous posts, our top tip to save money on anything is to use it less. Cut out non-essential usage and give your money saving journey a solid start. Nothing beats good old-fashioned discipline and determination, and they are habits that are transferable to all aspects of our lives. We are here to help advise you on how best to do this, so when it comes to reducing your monthly phone bill and the costs of your mobile phone, our top tips will set you well on your way. First thing’s first, when you’ve got your eye on the latest mobile phone in the market, fulfil the due diligence of checking what deals are on offer! You can use comparison websites to assess the costs of packages that are offered alongside the mobile phone handset and see which one suits you best. Alternatively, it may be that you may be better off buying the mobile phone outright, rather than committing yourself to a monthly contract package.

With data offered as a premium service in today’s market, it’s easy to use up your allowance and be charged over-the-odds for anything beyond your basic data allowance. Whether you’re at home, work, visiting friends, grabbing a coffee or, indeed, a bite to eat, reduce your mobile phone’s data consumption by switching to Wi-Fi wherever available. Wi-Fi is now readily available in places you may not even expect it to be, from some stretches of the United Kingdom’s motorways to various modes of public transport. Switch to free Wi-Fi wherever available, cut out your data consumption and save money by not overspending on your basic allowance. Mobile phone service providers charge a premium for overspending on data, so remain aware of this at all times.

The Money Saving Advice Guide’s latest instalment offers tips on how to reduce your household electricity bill. Keep up to date with our latest advice on how to save money, without spending a single penny!

First thing’s first, check your current tariff against other providers using a comparison website. With electricity providers vying for the public’s custom, chances are you could very well get a better deal by going with a new provider and start racking up those all-important savings! Secondly, and this seems obvious, use less! Leaving electrical appliances on standby, leaving lights on in rooms that aren’t being used, boiling a full kettle when making a single cup of coffee are all habits that most of us are guilty of at one time or another. The simplest cost-free way of making immediate savings on your electricity bill is to monitor and reduce your consumption.

Thirdly, when you’re stopping by your favourite coffee shop, after a long day’s work, make sure to get the most bang for your buck by using the free power that most coffee shop’s offer their customers. Be smart, be prepared and carry your laptop, mobile phone and tablet chargers with you and, while you relax and begin to unwind for the day, treat your portable electronic devices to a cost-free recharge too! If you’re a student, you can always use the library for this, without even having to buy a coffee. Fourthly, always submit meter readings to your electricity provider, so that you can make sure to only pay for what you use. In fact, consider installing a smart meter which will save you hassle and money in equal measure. Lastly, you could also consider paying a fixed monthly fee for your electricity use, by direct debit. When you know how much is going out and when, this can help to budget other expenditure even better.

As part of our series on cost-free and immediately practicable advice on how to save money, today the Money Saving Advice Guide brings you tips on how to save money on your water bill.

As we have reiterated, saving is a proactive pursuit which takes just a smidgeon of forethought and consideration. In the world of saving money, this goes a long way, indeed, however long you wish to take it.

Firstly, the most obvious advice is not to leave the tap running. Whether you’re brushing your teeth, or shaving, leaving the tap on will do your water bill no favours. It’s pretty simple, really. This also applies to using a washing up bowl to do your washing, rather than keeping the tap running. More than likely, you’ll be using the hot water to do the washing up, so using a washing up bowl with entail a double saving.

Secondly, only use your washing machine when it is full. The average washing machine uses 55 litres of water. Imagine, 55 one litre bottles stacked up together. Now imagine the amount wasted across two incomplete washes! Thirdly, get yourself a shower timer. Reducing shower time by even a single minute daily will add up to a noticeable amount by the year’s end. Best of all, some water companies offer water-saving gadgets like this for free. How could you refuse such a cost-free saving? Fourthly, filling your dishwasher and using it only when full will also bring you savings on your water bill. Compared to doing your washing up under a running tap, modern dishwasher can save upwards of 20,000 litres per annum. Fifthly, don’t boil more water than you need. Again, this is a double saving to be had. On electric costs and water wastage too. Sixthly, keep a supply of cold water in your fridge, rather than letting the tap run, waiting for the cold water to appear. And, finally, depending on usage, and if you don’t already have one, consider using a water meter.

 

The third and final instalment of the Money Saving Advice Guide’s cost-free tips on saving money on your water bill will continue where we left off last time.

Saving water is imperative for customers and water companies alike. Our previous posts have shown how you can take immediate and cost-free steps to reduce your water usage and wastage. Water companies also seek to reduce as much wastage as possible and, towards this end, offer customers a range of WRAS-approved products. Quick and simple to fit and providing immediate savings in return upon installation, these products are easy to acquire from your water provider and allow you to make savings without taking any extra steps or even noticing.

Water-Less Crystals, available from some water providers, can be mixed with soil or compost for your container plants. The crystals absorb water and retain it, feeding your plants as and when they require. The slow release mechanism reduces the risk of overwatering, for sensitive plants, and their presence creates a balanced potting mix for your plants, allowing you to save on fertiliser too. Water consumption can be reduced by up to four times, which makes for a considerable potential saving. A product that most water providers distribute freely is the 4-minute shower timer. Consisting of a simple sand timer attached to a suction holder which can be positioned in a place of your choosing, allowing you to keep a close eye on it, the 4-minute shower timer is designed to minimise your shower timings. As mentioned, showers account for the majority of a household’s water use, offering the opportunity for considerable savings.

A leaky toilet can be the source of considerable water wastage. Dribbling down the back of the bowl, against a sparkling white backdrop, toilet leaks often go unnoticed. Leaky-Loo Toilet Leak Detection Strips can be fixed to the area of the bowl where leaks drip down along, alerting you to a leak if it arises.

Welcome to a second instalment of the Money Saving Advice Guide’s cost-free tips and tricks to save money on your water bill.

It is in the interest of both utility companies and their consumers to save water. In a survey conducted by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS), it was found that 80% of Brits accepted responsibility for one habit which contributes to wasting water. 21% admitted to leaving the tap running while brushing their teeth. Following fears of drought in the extremely dry summer of 2017, which saw rainfall down by two-thirds, the Environment Agency noted river flows in 35 out of 41 sites to be below normal. Alarm was raised after figures published by Ofwat, the water industry regulator, noted 3 billion litres worth of water wasted through leaks on a daily basis. Regulators stepped in to enforce a driving down of water leakage to a target of zero by 2020. This drive to reduce water waste has coincided with water companies encouraging customers to prevent wasting water. Many, if not most, of the UK’s water companies offer cost-free products which are designed to reduce water consumption, save water and allow you to save money on your water bill.

Commonly available water-saving products include the Flowpoint showerhead which can reduce the flow of your shower down from 15 litres per minute to 8 litres per minute. It comes with a standard half-inch thread to fit all shower hoses. The Flowpoint ShowerSave is a shower regulator that works in a similar manner to the Flowpoint showerhead, reducing per minute flow down to 8 litres. With showers accounting for one quarter of a household’s annual water cost, considerable savings can be made with this cost-free product. Weighted cistern bags are another option, that are simply placed in your toilet’s cistern saving up to 1.2 litres per flush.

 

Save Money on Your Regular Grocery Shop

Welcome to another instalment of the Money Saving Advice Guide. In this segment we will take a look at how you can make the most of your regular grocery shop at your local supermarket.

The average UK household spends approximately £91 on food per week. This equates to an annual cost of around £4,732. With careful planning, and by following the tips below, if a 10% saving can be achieved on this figure, it will equate to saving of approximately £500 per year.

Our biggest tip would be to plan, plan and plan some more. Plan your diet, plan your meals, plan your grocery list and stick to the plan! Not only will your improve your health, be able to cut all those unnecessary calories and boost your energy levels with an improved diet, but meal-planning, diet-planning and planning out a shopping list before you embark on your regular shopping will allow you to identify what you need and what you don’t need. This will result in savings, better spent elsewhere!

Our second bit of advice would be to start using your freezer more. Pick up discounted food products nearing their best before dates or their expiry dates and store them in your freezer for months on end. While some products may be frozen for longer periods of time than others, if you select carefully and freeze cautiously, you can keep stocked up at all times. Save yourself from repeat visits to the supermarket for that one thing you’re missing, which will expose you to further temptation in the aisles! You can also consider cooking in surplus and freezing any leftovers, so that you can have a home-cooked meal ready in minutes, rather than spending extra on inferior pre-pared frozen ready meals.

Look out for the next segment of the Money Saving Advice Guide, which will offer even more tips on how you can save on your supermarket shop!

How to Save The Planet and Reduce Your Energy Costs: Our Cost-Free Guide to Reducing Your Household’s Energy Consumption

In this segment we will bring you short, easily practicable, effective and cost-free tips to reduce your energy consumption, help safeguard our planet for future generations and contribute greater savings on what is probably one of your household’s greatest single annual expenses.

Number One: Shop around. With a plethora of easily navigable comparison websites readily available online, you can shop around for the latest changes to tariffs and get yourself a better deal.

 

Number Two:

Consider paying by direct debit. Many gas and electricity providers offer a better deal when paying by direct debit. Ditch the cash and cheque payments, in order to save money.

 

Number Three:

Turn off your appliances at the plug. Leaving your electrical appliances on standby results in constant, albeit limited, electricity use. Eliminate this unnecessary wastage, and save yourself anywhere between £30-£80, depending on how many appliances you tend to use.

 

Number Four:

Put on a jumper! Rather than upping the thermostat and heating your whole house up unnecessarily, put on some extra layers, or invest in a blanket, so you can lounge in cosy comfort, without worrying about your energy bills rising.

 

Number Five:

Think twice about leaving the warm water tap running! Warm water costs twice as much as cold water. You for the water and the energy to heat it!

 

Number Six:

Draw your curtains! If you don’t have double-glazed windows, or you can still feel the cold from them, draw your curtains and save yourself just that little bit extra.

 

Number Seven:

Consider washing your clothes at a slightly lower temperature. The difference between washing your clothes at 40º and 30º, in monetary terms, could be up to around £50 pounds annually.

While there are many other measures that can be taken to further optimise your house for even more energy savings, our guide above shows small steps that can be taken immediately, without any extra cost.

Your Personal Finances: Our Money Saving Guide

This Week’s Feature: Our Pick of Discount Voucher Sites

Whether facing the uphill struggle of losing weight, or the day to day challenge of balancing personal finances, both matters, quite simply, boil down to the struggle between income and output. If your calorific intake is surplus to your body’s needs from your daily activities, this will result in weight gain. Conversely, if expenditure, or perhaps mindless squandering, of your income outweighs that which is coming in, you will have no chance to save anything. This is the nature of the battle before you. It really is that simple. However, with some discipline, self-control, a moment’s thought and proactive planning, you can really make the most of your income and, with us, embark on the journey towards saving more of your hard-earned money.

A great way to save on must-haves and luxury items is to scour the numerous discount voucher websites which, at times, offer hard to believe irresistible deals. Not only do they offer a unique shopping experience, allowing you to scan through bargains from the comfort of your home, but they also offer a plethora of deals, with something for every need and every taste. Offering deals, savings and discounts on all manner of products and services, be sure to consult these websites prior to completing any sort of purchase belonging to the following categories: entertainment, restaurants, travel, holidays, beauty and spa days, health, fitness, home, garden, electronics and all sorts of other goods. One slight drawback is that some offers are limited to geographical locations. However, with the sheer amount and range of savings offered, these websites represent an important mustering point, on your money-saving journey!

Founded in 2008 in America, and current industry leader, www.groupon.co.uk is regularly stacked full of a wide range of savings to be had. Other similar e-commerce marketplaces include: www.wowcher.co.uk, www.myvouchercodes.co.uk, www.hotukdeals.com, www.vouchercodes.co.uk and www.voucherseeker.co.uk.