Switching mortgage, energy, sky TV and contact lenses
I am on a mission this week to sort out a load of dull admin type things. Bills need to be renegotiated after 1 year or 2 year contracts. Do you price check everything once your contract is up? If not, companies will catch you out and you will slip onto standard variable rates for many bills. It’s very rare to have a company who will offer you a better deal when your contract is up.
This week I sorted out loads, some monthly costs went up and some went down. With one hand giveth another hand taketh
I’ll talk about the mortgage first as I know lots of people have their mortgage on their standard variable rate. Do not do this!!
At the end of June, we came to the end of our fixed deal, six weeks prior to this I had called up First Direct to re-negotiate the mortgage onto a different deal. I went for a tracker rate mortgage at 2.69% rather than 3.49% that we had been paying with our previous fixed mortgage deal. The tracker rate mortgage will go up if the interest rate goes up but also when we move to a new house there are no penalties for exiting the mortgage.
As it was a swop of deal with the same lender the conversation took 5 minutes, there were no income conversations and this meant that our cost went from £1047 per month to £1006 per month. £41 saved and no penalty when we move to a new house.
However, First Direct made a mistake and didn’t sort out the paper work in time so we slipped into standard variable rate for 3 weeks. I pointed this out this week in a complaint phone call and they refunded me the extra interest I had been charged plus £50 for the distress it caused. £190 back into my account on Wednesday.
£41 saved per month
Our Energy contract with Affect energy ended on 31st July. We were paying just £66 per month, for a four-bedroom semi-detached house with three young children and me working from home. And we have no debit balance. This amazing deal sadly does not exist anymore, and Affect offered me another monthly deal for £95. Still amazing value, but alas they are a small company and couldn’t offer me a smart meter. I am ever so keen to get one as I do much work for Smart energy GB and I am keen to get accurate measurement of our energy usage to control our spend better than just taking a monthly meter read and a guess.
I popped in our annual usage to uSwitch along with my current provider and plan and up popped the deals I could switch to. This told me Affect was the best value despite the £29 increase. But I was surprised to see the big 6 firms wanted to charge £130 to £150 per month. The amount you can pay for energy every month varies so much.
A few people had recommended Octopus, not on uSwitch, so I went straight to their website and popped in the same details. They could match the Affect offer and after a conversation on Facebook messenger and then a phone conversation they confirmed that they could also get me a smart meter. The switch is happening by 24th August. The process so far has been simple and easy. I will write a full review once the switch has happened. If you are interested in saving then please use my refer a friend link and we will both save £15 from our first bill.
£29 extra cost per month
Turns out that my contact lenses prescription is 3 years overdue!! My monthly contact lenses kept turning up every three months so I just assumed that this fine, apparently not! I was summoned into my local Specsavers for an eye test and contact lenses test when I tried to get some emergency lenses for holidays. Of course, my eyes have changed and I now have a new prescription, my astigmatism has got worse.
They queried my £8 per month charge (set up on a staff discount rate four years ago by a friend who worked there) and said that it had to change. Damn. Now I must pay £18 per month. I’m not in a contract so I am going to look out for a cheaper monthly lens contract.
£10 extra cost per month
A subject I have mentioned a few times! When you get to the end of your sky deal your costs will always jump up loads. If I hadn’t have checked, our bills would have risen to over £100 per month at the end of a year contract. This is including broadband, landline, sky sports, movies and HD. A phone call ensured that this bill reduced to £80. And then hubby gave in and said that Sky Sports could be switched off. We called them up and got sky sports and movies and HD removed taking the bill down to £50.
BUT now hubby has decided that he can’t live without football (I sort of knew this would happen!). Sky have changed their sports so you can now choose your specific sports channel, a good thing as our family is football obsessed. We will be adding sky sports back on at a cost of £18 per month.
We have considered other pay as you options such as Now TV, but if you watch football every day it’s just not worth it as around £10 for a weekly pass.
£18 extra cost per month
So that means net we are £16 per month worse off. Not so bad I suppose. So much time spent this week sorting out admin. But it feels good!
What bills do you need to look into switching? Please check your energy bill and see if you can get a better deal there..pretty please:-)