Saving big on household bills - Newstalk
Between the increase in the cost of living and the ongoing fallout of the war in Ukraine, everyone is going to feel a pinch in their pocket at the moment.
Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, appeared on the Home Show with Sinead Ryan to discuss how you can save on living expenses and put money back into your pocket. For those willing to take the time and effort, it’s possible to save over €7,000 on your household expenses.
Listen back to the interview above, or take a look at the main points discussed by Daragh below.
Beat rising energy costs
There’s no getting away from the big one, which is energy. The prices of gas, electricity and home heating oil are all at record highs. People are in for a huge shock when they receive their bills over the next week or two.
The thing to remember is that there’s a lot of competition in the energy market. There are around 12 energy suppliers in Ireland and most of them are all competing aggressively against one another to generate new business.
To attract new customers and entice people to switch, they offer really good discounts and deals. Suppliers use freebies, bribes, supermarket value points, cashback offers, and also discounted rates.
You could get a discount of anywhere from 30-40% on your gas and electricity for one year by switching. If there’s one year you don’t want to be overpaying on your energy costs, it’s this year.
What should you look for if you’re intent on getting a better deal?
The first thing is to make sure you compare the market.
There was recent research done by the CRU which shows that around 40-45% of households have never switched energy supplier. Once your initial 12-month contract is finished, these households just get put onto standard rates, which can be really expensive.
If you go onto a comparison site, like bonkers.ie, and compare prices, you’ll see that it’s not difficult to switch to a cheaper supplier.
Switching suppliers is genuinely the quickest, easiest way to put €500-600 back in your pocket. The switch can be carried out online in the space of a few minutes.
What people need to remember is that we only have one electricity network and one gas network. You don’t need anyone to come out to your house, or change equipment or pipes, you’re just changing supplier.
What do you need to switch?
You only need a few things on hand to switch energy supplier.
You also need to provide a recent meter reading and some personal details, such as your name, address and IBAN.
All of this information gets sent over to your new supplier and within two weeks they should send you out a welcome pack. You’ll also receive a closing bill from your existing supplier.
You can learn all about the comparison and switching process in this guide.
Saving on home insurance
Another bill people face is for home insurance. There are two elements to this; buildings insurance and contents insurance.
Home insurance is the bill that people tend to change the least. When it comes to car insurance, consumers are obsessed with changing to a new supplier. This obsession should be brought to other products and services.
There are savings to be made with home insurance. What people don’t seem to realise is that they may be overvaluing their house when applying for home insurance.
For buildings insurance, people often make the mistake of valuing their cover by looking at the market value of their house. We know that house prices have shot up, but instead, buildings cover should be based on the cost it would be to rebuild your property. It’s easy to check online what the rebuild value of your home is.
Make your home a safer bet
Other steps you can take can help to make your home a safer bet, which can reduce your premium. You can improve the security of your home, by installing a new alarm or fire system, which can make your home safer.
If you make these security improvements, make sure you let your insurer know.
You can also ask them if there is anything you can do to bring down the cost of your premium. Obviously, shopping around can also help in reducing how much you pay for home insurance.
You can learn all about how to reduce your home insurance costs in this guide.
Switch mortgages to save big
There is a lot of paperwork involved, but switching mortgages is worth it.
When you apply for a mortgage, the interest rate you’re offered is based on how much equity is in your home. So, the more equity you have, or the bigger the deposit, the lower the interest rate will be.
House prices going up isn’t great news for first-time buyers, but it’s good news for switchers. It means that they have way more equity in their home.
When people go to switch mortgages, they think of what it was like the first time, but I’d argue that a lot of the stress when first applying for a mortgage is about actually getting the home. It’s not so much the mortgage application process.
Certain banks are good at offering existing customers better interest rates. Ulster Bank and KBC were good at this, but they’re both leaving the Irish market.
Before looking to switch lenders, you can also check with your current lender and see if you can get a better rate.
There are cashback offers available as well, which can help towards switching costs. AIB is offering a flat €2,000 and EBS is offering 2% cashback. You can learn more about cashback offers for mortgage switchers here.
If you’re interested in switching mortgages, you can review the steps involved in the process here.
Save on your household bills on bonkers.ie
While the cost of living in Ireland is on the rise, there are ways you can save.
On bonkers.ie it’s easy to compare prices and deals for a variety of products and services, including energy, broadband, insurance types and banking products. Take a look at our comparison tools and see how much you could save by switching today!