uSwitch uWin – Compare Energy Prices and Save £290
Who remembers the last time I wrote about switching energy? It was back in January when I was working with the Energy Savings Trust. The campaign generated a huge amount of traction and my consistent message continues. I hope you read it and switched but I’m guessing you put it off to do at another time. I am challenging you to sort this out today, 6 out of 10 of us in the UK are on expensive tariffs. If your energy deal has ended or you are on the standard tariff you are very likely to be able to save money. uSwitch estimates the average amount people can save is £290.
Surely you want to save yourself £290 for 10 minutes work. I often quote this when I talk about switching and saving with your bills. When can you ever earn £290 for 10 minutes work. Just hop on over to uSwitch website pop in your details and see how much you can save. You will need your name, address, email, current energy provider, the plan you are on. Plus, you need to include either the amount you spend or your usage. You can get any of this information, if you don’t know it, from your energy bill. But if you don’t want to do this, uSwitch even have an app that can scan all the information from your bill – making it even easier to switch.
The energy companies will then action the switch for you and everything should be switched and processed within 3 days after a 14-day cooling off period. You will need to give a meter reading to your new supplier and its good practise to update your meter reading regularly to ensure your bills are more accurate or ask for smart meter to be installed.
uSwitch uWin Competition
As part of this uSwitch uWin campaign uSwitch are running a weekly competition with two chances to win £290. Hurrah. Here are the details.
People can enter to win £290 in shopping vouchers, there will be two winners every week until the competition closes 15th April 2018. One winner will be drawn at random and one prize will go to the person who refers the most people to visit the web page by sharing their unique URL. See competition page for more info. The winners will be able to pick where they want their vouchers for, lastminute.com, spa breaks, restaurant vouchers and other exciting treats!
uSwitch and Rachel Riley Collaboration
uSwitch are passionate about getting the nation to do a price comparison and are working with Rachel Riley to promote their campaign. I was extremely privileged to meet Rachel and chat to her about all things money saving, maths and countdown!
What drove your love for maths (I shared that we are both maths geeks, with both of us doing maths degrees)
Rachel loved doing puzzles as a child and her mum reminds her of carrying around a mini computer for doing sums! She used to watch countdown and would love completing the numbers round. She found the more maths she did the more fun the more complicated it got. Pure maths was her love at A-level and university, proving theories and finding the efficient route from A to B. She got immense satisfaction proving mathematical theories. But lots of people tweet her with complex maths problems, and it’s sometimes a challenge to remember all the theory learnt at university!
Countdown is such a great tool to enthuse kids to enjoy maths and puzzles. And once you have that basic understanding of maths you can do so much with it.
What is your view of Financial education in schools
Rachel believes there is big gap in curriculum here. A big problem being companies advertising things that can create money problems being influential to both children and adults. Maths can help the understanding of these financial tool and what they mean.
She works closely with the National numeracy charity, 50% UK adults have the financial literacy at the standard expected of an 11-year-old. There are so many adults who need an understanding of numeracy to then pass this onto their children. It’s so important to tackle both adult and child numeracy and financial education. Rachel is working hard to get people switched onto maths and to stop saying they are rubbish at maths and using it as a badge of honour. Maths can help you save money.
The uSwitch campaign – Why are so many people wasting money by not switching?
The biggest issue is unawareness, we tend to assume that everyone has the same knowledge as you and me, but people simply don’t realise how easy it is to switch. People don’t realise that it’s the same product for less money. Rachel and uSwitch recently spent a day in Winkleigh, Devon where just 6.5% of households had switched in last 3 years! It was incredible to see genuine happiness in people when they realised how easy it was to change. People assume you are rewarded for loyalty and stay with the same company. It’s simple just invest the 10 minutes to compare prices and save!
Energy switching is so much easier than other bill switching (including my biggest bug bear, car insurance switching). uSwitch even have a app that will scan your bill and take all the information it needs to see if you can save money. You don’t even need to talk to a person, it can all be done online.
You graduated at a tough time, 2007, recession time. How did you find it?
Rachel did an internship in in hedge fund company in 2007. She worked there during the big crash, an interesting time to join the job market! Soon after leaving university Rachel was fortunate to land the first job she applied for and started working for a price comparison site start-up business as analyst. This gave a great insight into how cash back and comparison sites work and how their marketing works. Countdown came along soon after starting this role.
Rachel had applied for Countdown at the same time as applying for graduate jobs, at least 1000 other applied for countdown. The application was a simple 50-word answer to a question and a photo. She never expected to hear back, but did, 100 applicants got an interview then 6 made it to screen test. Nerves were jangling, but the producer told her it was only a camera test, Rachel immediately relaxed, it went well and the rest was history. She got the job and was on TV nearly every day at the age of 22.
How different is evening Countdown to the daytime show?
The daytime filming takes 3 days to film 15 shows, then evening show is different with 2 shows filmed per night, each taking 2 ½ hours to record. The evening show then get edited right down with lawyers checking everything. Rachel loves working on both and they feel like 2 different jobs.
She shares that it’s a great job in this climate, with everyone watching what they say, the show has great writers, appropriate jokes, hypocrisy. A nice outlet for freedom of speech and great comedy.
What is the impact of trolls?
We talked briefly about the experience of trolling, which is particularly tough on women. Rachel never reads them and never engages. She told a funny story of her working with an animal charity called All Dogs Matter. She tweeted out’ I can’t wait to cuddle the dogs’, and got a few messages telling her not all dogs like being cuddled. Someone will find issue with anything you write!!
I shared the Twitter question that came to me when I asked my audience what they wanted to know, what was Rachels favourite dog!! The Cockerpoo. Rachel does a lot of work with animal charities and is a campaigner for Lucy’s Law and a supporter of the Hearing Dogs charity.
Quickly switching to Personal Finance! How well prepared are you for the future?
Rachel feels like she is nowhere near as prepared as friends for the future. Lots are in employment with pension pots being built for them. It’s difficult being self-employed, constantly working 18 months behind in terms of accounts and taxes and not having an employer to contribute to a pension for you. Rachel admits that she needs to investigate this area and future financial protection. Her eventual aim is to invest in property when the timing is right.
Ultimate financial top tip
Rachel recommends that you have a good look through your finances every few months, particularly before making a big financial commitment. Look at all your direct debits and if you don’t use it cancel it. And if you haven’t investigated the cost of your regular bills for more than a year look into them. Go online and compare deals and switch. People hear the term, budget, and think it’s all about scrimping and saving. It’s not, it’s working out how your money works for you. If you have a spare £200 each month, do you want to spend that on coffee or save it towards your holiday.
This interview flew in time and I loved chatting to Rachel. She is passionate about many social issues and animal charities and does much work to support them, making a real difference.
This is a collaborative post with uSwitch.