The lockdown enforced to combat the spread of Covid-19 and the effect it has had on jobs has been tough on people’s finances. With businesses shut, many workers have been made redundant or placed into the Government’s furlough scheme, which pays 80pc of a salary up to £2,500 a month.
A smaller income – plus a bit of time on their hands – might be the impetus for people to tidy up their finances. Small changes can make a large difference.
Here are four simple, cheap ways people in lockdown can cut their bills and save money.
At-home energy improvements
There are a number of things people can do around the house to reduce their energy bills every month. Little things like switching electronics off properly rather than leaving them on standby can save as much as £30 per year, according to Laura McGadie of the Energy Saving Trust.
Bigger changes can also have a noticeable effect. If you have a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank, fitting a water-efficient shower head will reduce your hot water usage without losing power.
She said: “This could save a four-person household as much as £70 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £115 a year on water bills if they have a water meter.”
Switching to LED lightbulbs would also reduce energy usage. To replace an entire house worth of light fixtures would cost around £100 but save about £35 a year on bills.
Switch energy provider
With more of us spending time at home, we are using more energy yet fewer people are switching providers, according to Energy Market Data Hub.
People could be losing out on possible savings of £360 per year, according to energy watchdog Ofgem, so shopping around is important. Even if you do not decide to switch, check the tariff you are on as there may be better deals with the same provider.
Finally, if your account is in credit it may be possible to ask for a refund, which would provide an immediate cash injection although may raise your monthly payments slightly.
Move to a higher-rate savings account
Now might also be the time to switch your savings account. This week savers using Santander’s flagship 123 current account, previously one of the best on the market, were told the bank would reduce the interest rate 1pc to 0.6pc from August 3.
Many accounts pay very little, but the top easy-access savings accounts from Investec, Marcus and RCI Bank UK pay 1.2pc to savers with no monthly fee.