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The Consumer Council - Small Swaps for Everyday Savings

From savings in the home to wider lifestyle swaps, Consumer Council have put together a resource bank of tips for everyday savings.

Switch gas and electricity supplier and save

Switching supplier can be quick, easy and hassle free. There are over 20 electricity tariffs available so switch and save to keep your costs as low as possible. The Consumer Council has a free energy price comparison tool on its website that compares all electricity and gas available tariffs in one place. Even if you wish to stay with your current supplier, switching the tariff you are on, the way you pay your bill (e.g. from payment on receipt of bill to direct debit), or the way you receive your bill (e.g. from paper bill to e-bill) can cut the cost of your energy bill.

Energy Price Comparison Tool: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/comparison_tool/begin

 

Shop around for your home heating oil

Are you paying more than average for your home heating oil? Each supplier will have their own price, so shop around as there is money to be saved. Every week the Consumer Council survey prices from home heating oil suppliers across Northern Ireland and publish the results of the cheapest, average and most expensive prices for 300 litres, 500 litres and 900 litres in an interactive tool on its website.

Home Heating Oil Tool: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/homeheatingoilpricechecker/tool

 

Save on your travel costs

Driving can be expensive with the rising costs of fuel so take steps to try and make savings whenever you can. You can shop around for the best deals on the current cheapest fuel prices using the Consumer Council’s website and its free Fuel Price Checker Tool.

Fuel Price Checker Tool: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/fuelpricechecker

Do you travel by public transport? There are a wide range of tickets options available that could save you money. Translink provide day, weekly and monthly tickets, multi journey tickets and annual tickets. All these options could save you money, depending on when and how you are travelling. The Consumer Council’s Transport Knowledge Hub also compares the price of using public versus private transport for commuting to Belfast from various towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

Transport Knowledge Hub: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/transportknowledgehub

Eat well and still save money on food

Have you noticed you are paying more now for your weekly food shop than last year? Before you go shopping planning your meals is key. It will help you control your budget and stick to your shopping list. You can also use up leftovers for lunch the next day as another great way to save yourself time and money. If you remember your bags for life, they can save you a few pennies – and the environment too.

During your shopping trip there is also lots you can do to save money.  If you normally buy premium brands, try shifting to a ‘regular’ brand or supermarket own brand. Not only are they cheaper, but they are also often healthier too. Another good tip is recognising the ‘best before’ date. This is for guidance and food after this date is still safe to eat, it just may not be as good a quality. And finally, do not assume offers are good deals. Always look at the price per unit and work out which represents the best value for money.

For more tips on saving money on your food shop, visit: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/costofliving/food

 

Staying safe from scams

With the rising cost of living, the last thing you need is to be scammed. There are many different types of scams out there at the minute, but the aim is always the same - to take your money and personal information. Scams can come in many forms including phishing emails, text or WhatsApp messages, cold-calls, online and even on your doorstep.

Scams are constantly evolving so the best way to stay protected is to be aware of potential signs and tricks scammers may be using. The Consumer Council’s website has lots of tips and advice on how to spot, stop and report scams. If you suspect a scam or have been scammed contact the PSNI on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Scam web page to spot, avoid and report a scam: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/scams

 

Taking control of your finances

Are you guilty of losing track of your spending from day to day? The Consumer Council’s online interactive budgeting tool can help your household get a handle on spending and identify areas where you can save money. It has examples of what typical households in Northern Ireland are spending so you can compare.

Budgeting Tool: https://budgettool.consumercouncil.org.uk/

In cases when your everyday costs increase but your income does not, or when you have to borrow to service an existing debt, you may need financial help. The Consumer Council’s website has a resource of agencies that offer free, independent consultation and advice.

Financial advice: https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/truecost

 

More help and advice

Call The Consumer Council on Freephone 0800 121 6022 or email - contact@consumercouncil.org.uk . You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

In the next part of our guide, Action Mental Health discuss using Savings Week to Invest in Your Mental Health.

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