Keeping on top of the household budget and cutting back on bills can be a tedious job, especially when it comes to utilities. But broadband is one area where it's possible to make a big impact with very little effort.
Comparing offers is simple, there's always an extensive choice of deals (including some amazing Broadband Genie exclusives), and switching is easier than ever.
If it's been a while since you last switched you could make hundreds of pounds in savings.
Not sure where to begin? These money-saving tips will help get you started.
Top tips for saving money on broadband bills
- Check your contract end date to find out if you can switch for free.
- Compare deals in your area to find out what else is available.
- Haggle with your current provider to get a better price.
- Take advantage of the latest offers and switch providers.
- Bundle TV and phone with broadband and save more.
- Make sure you’re only paying for the services you actually use.
- Save money by paying in advance.
- Choose a deal with a free gift.
Check your contract end date
Most broadband deals run 12, 18, or 24 months, and often the price will increase once that term has ended. To keep costs as low as possible make a note of when it finishes and start looking for a better deal a month or so before your contract is due to end.
If you’ve already reached the end of your current broadband contract, you are free to switch providers without paying a penalty.
Compare deals in your area
Use our postcode checker to see what other broadband packages are available in your area:
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You might find there’s a faster service available, or one that offers the same speed at a better price. And it’s good to know what else is out there so you can more effectively haggle with current your provider if you don't want to switch.
Haggle with your current provider
Even if you’re happy with the current broadband service and don’t feel the need to switch, you should still negotiate your broadband package at the end of the contract. Tell them you’re thinking of leaving and see what they can offer. Read our guide to haggling broadband for step-by-step assistance.
When you’re at the end of a contract, check deals using your postcode and then switch to take advantage of the generous offers given to new customers. This will often save the most money as you can get some really great value deals with free gifts and monthly discounts.
Bundle up for bigger savings
Combining broadband with other services can save money compared to the cost of getting separate providers. Broadband and phone deals are standard (a phone line is required for most broadband) but getting inclusive calling on your deal can slash bills. And numerous providers offer TV packages at a lower cost than buying them separately. You’ll also find a few bundles which can save money on mobile phone services, or you might be able to get some bonuses for signing up to home broadband from your mobile network.
Only pay for what you need
Are you going to make use of every part of a deal? Cutting back on unnecessary features could save you a few quid. For example:
Inclusive calling minutes are only essential if you regularly use the phone. Otherwise, get a broadband only package that doesn’t include calling.
Getting the best deal means knowing how to choose the right broadband speed. Fast broadband is great for streaming and downloading, and a must-have for shared and family homes. But some could opt for a slower and cheaper package and the only noticeable difference will be how much it costs.
TV services can come at quite a premium, but are you really watching all those channels? You could keep that TV and broadband bundle but save a few quid by dropping some of those premium channel options. Or you might be better off with a cheaper broadband only deal and Freeview. You could even stop paying for a TV license and use streaming TV instead.
Pay by direct debit, or pay in advance
While Direct Debit is the preferred payment method for broadband contracts, providers will also accept other forms of payment. But these almost always cost more and may not be available on every deal, so Direct Debit is always recommended.
Some providers also have the option to pay for the whole contract in advance in return for a discount.
Save more with free gifts and special offers
The biggest savings will come from deals with free gifts. To tempt new customers, providers will offer free gifts worth hundreds of pounds such as pre-paid credit cards, shopping vouchers and gadgets. When you add up to the overall cost a deal over the length of the contract and subtract the value of the free gifts, the savings can be substantial (we do this for you on our comparison table - click “Offer details” to see the effective monthly price after all costs and discounts).
Choose the right contract length
The cheapest broadband deals will have a contract term of 12, 18, or 24 months. However, this does mean you are committed to paying for the service for that whole period, and there will almost always be a termination fee if you cancel early. To avoid this, select the contract that best suits your living arrangements. Or, if you’re not worried about how long you sign up for, look at longer-term contracts to get the biggest savings.
A short term contract deal may make more sense if you know in advance you’re going to need to cancel early. While this will usually cost more and may not include benefits such as free setup or free gifts, it might still be cheaper overall when a termination charge is factored in.
How do I switch broadband? Is it easy to switch?
Switching broadband is often the best way to save money because you can sign up for those new customer deals that come with lots of discounts and free gifts. The good news is that it is generally quick and easy, and many people won’t need an engineer visit.
There are two different methods for switching broadband:
Gaining Provider Led
If you move between providers on the Openreach (BT telephone line) network the new provider will send notice that you’re leaving and handle everything from there. You should only experience a brief interruption to service on the day the line switches and an engineer should not be required.
This is known as a Gaining Provider Led (GPL) process.
Most broadband providers (including Sky, EE, Vodafone, TalkTalk, and BT itself) use Openreach so this applies to many switches.
Cease and re-provide
If you move between different networks, you’ll need to contact the old provider and arrange for service to end. This is known as cease and re-provide and is most common when switching to or from the Virgin Media network.
An engineer will often be required, and there is a chance you could be left without broadband for some time between cancelling the old service and having the new broadband installed.
To learn more about switching and the steps involved, read our in-depth guide to broadband switching.