Broadband Genie presents
Beat the cost of living crisis:
7 ways to save through tech
Looking for ways to cut your spending to offset the rise in cost of living? You’re not alone. Record inflation is prompting millions of Brits to look for new ways to make ends meet.
We've put together our own cost-of-living calculator, where together we can look at easy ways to reduce your monthly outgoings without cutting back on essentials.
Ready to save money through tech? Let’s go!
How to reduce cost of living through technology
The price of simple things like boiling the kettle, driving to work and buying bread are soaring. Middle-income earners are feeling the pinch, and sadly, battlers are suffering great financial hardship.
The best way to deal with cost of living hikes is to be proactive. Before you dip into your savings or sell your favourite sofa, we want to help you find some big savings through technology. Depending on your situation, you’re sure to find some gems in our list.
Work your way through and check the boxes that apply to add up your potential savings. Some people can save thousands of pounds a year! Follow our simple tips, and you might not need to take out that new loan after all.
Disclaimer: In this article, we've brought together some general money-saving ideas. However, it’s not professional advice or a recommendation to act and the savings we mention are estimates and might be different for you. So, we'd always recommend you do more research and seek independent advice before making any decisions.
Track your spending
The key to starting to make savings is understanding.
Time to stop burying your head in the sand and start to work out where your money goes each month. You will be surprised with how much you can save!
Understand your financial position
When looking for ways to reduce your cost of living, the best place to start is by understanding your financial position. One old-school option is setting up a spreadsheet. Tracking your income, essential spending, non-essential spending, debt, savings and investments will give you a clear picture of where you’re at and highlight areas that you could adjust. But technology advances have created better (and less tedious) ways to go about it.
Use apps to reach your goals
Using your bank’s free app makes it easier to track your spending on the go. The smart tech helps you set spending goals, alerts you of overspending and motivates you to keep on track.
If you want to make the most of the best tech available, download a free budgeting app. You’ll get real-time updates on how your spending and saving are tracking across multiple accounts in one central place. Some platforms claim just by setting goals and tracking your spending, the average saving is over £4,500 in the first year. Worth checking out!
Setting financial goals and sticking to a budget could save you £2,000 a year
Reduce broadband costs
Get the right broadband for your needs and make savings.
Millions of people across the UK are paying more than they should for their broadband connection. With a bit of research and effort, you can soon be paying less. Make sure you’re getting the best value with our tips on reducing your broadband bill.
One thing we know plenty about is how much money you can save by switching broadband. And a big one to watch out for…disengaged customers pay more! Broadband customers who stay after their contracts end cop an average loyalty penalty of £113 a year for every year they stay. Providers also offer sweet introductory deals, sometimes up to 90% off a standard tariff.
Switching is less hassle than you might think. You can switch providers anytime, but you’ll usually pay a fee if you switch mid-contract. Check out our comprehensive how to switch broadband guide to learn more and get started today.
At the end of your contract, your provider will be rubbing their hands together, poised to charge you an average of 43% more than your initial price. You’ll get notified about 40 days out. Use this time to research new deals but don’t forget to get in touch with your current provider to ask for a discount, especially if you’re happy with your service.
Thanks to technology, you don’t even need to get on the phone. Most providers are happy to renegotiate terms over website or social media chat functions.
In a recent poll, one haggler reported getting free broadband for a whole year and Virgin Media customers reported an 83% haggling success rate, so it’s certainly worth a shot to secure discounts and a better deal.
Faster broadband usually costs more (though this is not always the case, as contract length, upfront costs and rewards come into play). Depending on your usage, you might not need the fastest service available. To find out what speed suits you, run a broadband speed test. If you’re happy with this speed, you can target this level for your next broadband deal. If the speed is too slow, try to get something faster next time.
Check out our guide to the best broadband speeds for different usage levels. As a general rule, we recommend around:
- 10Mb if you’re streaming on one device or light browsing on a few devices
- 35Mb for simultaneous high-use streaming for two devices
- 70Mb for 3-5 people streaming on their devices at once
- 100Mb+ for the heaviest users using multiple devices using the connection at once
The amount you could save by downgrading your speed varies greatly depending on your current setup. We’ve allocated a conservative £5 per month estimated saving, but it’s something to look into if you want to save money on your broadband cost.
Competition for your broadband business is intense. Providers often offer great free gifts like Amazon vouchers, free tech or bill credits to encourage you to sign up. Just make sure it provides you real value, and remember to activate your offer and use it before it expires.
Around 4.2 million households are eligible for cheaper social tariffs, but only 55,000 have signed up for these low-cost deals. Check this comprehensive guide to broadband for people on benefits to find out more.
Cull your subscriptions
It’s amazing how individual subscriptions can add up.
Over time we all gather more and more subscriptions to services we may or may not use. It’s always a good idea to take stock of what you’re subscribed to.
Do a stocktake
Check your bank statements and highlight every monthly subscription you have. No matter how small, they all add up. Most people have subscriptions for music, movies, gaming, news, eBooks, and more. It’s common to join on a free trial and never think about it again, but the costs stack up.
Decide if you need it
Ask yourself how much you really use each subscription and imagine life without it. This exercise isn’t about depriving yourself of your favourite pleasures, it’s about getting rid of the dead wood. If you’re doubling up on streaming services, try to cut back to one. If you don’t watch live TV and can live without the BBC iPlayer, check if you can drop your TV licence.
Weigh up your options
For the subscriptions you can’t bear to part with, take a closer look at the plans available. Things may have changed since you set up your account, and new membership tiers may suit you better. And if you cancel your subscription, make sure you unsubscribe from the marketing emails, or you might be tempted to re-join.
Which subscriptions could you live without?
Stop upgrading your tech
We don’t always need the latest shiny piece of technology.
It’s always tempting to keep up with friends and fashion but sometimes a pause between versions can save you a lot.
Do you need that new phone, or do you just want it?
Are you hunting for a new phone because yours isn’t working or because you just must have the latest, shiniest gadget available? You don’t really need a new phone or computer every couple of years. If you take good care of your devices, they should last up to five years.
Other excuses sorted
Running out of storage? Use free cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive instead of rushing out to buy a new phone. Computer glitching? Ask the Google gods for advice on how to fix glitches yourself.
Stretch it out
If you can hold off, you can save plenty. Let’s assume a new phone costs £500. If you replace it every two years, you’re spending £250 a year on your phone, but if you can stretch it out to five years, it’s £100 a year.
Use less energy at home
Tech can help you cope with the rising cost of energy.
Energy costs are rising. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to reduce your energy use and keep your bills to a minimum with these tech tips and devices.
If you don’t have a smart meter, a great starting point for reducing your energy consumption is to learn which appliances are the energy hogs. Energy monitors are simple, affordable tools to get you on your way.
Smart home technology
Smart home technology helps you save money by improving your home’s energy efficiency.
It predicts when you want a warm house and can save £164 a year.
Replace all the bulbs in your home with LED smart bulbs and save £232 a year.
Standby mode is an energy sap. Using a standby saver, smart plug or just remembering to turn off standby can save £24.60 a year.
According to the Energy Savings Trust, the washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer account for around 16% of energy consumption. When it’s time to upgrade, go for appliances with high energy efficiency ratings. In the meantime, try these tips.
Reduce your water temperature to use less energy every wash and save £12 a year.
Full loads mean fewer loads a week and savings of £28 a year.
Watch the weather and wash when it’s dry or dry on racks indoors to save £55 a year.
Using the eco-cycle on your dishwasher can save £53.04 a year.
Make your home more energy efficient
There have been enormous leaps in building technology that can help your home’s efficiency. Installing insulation, double glazing or more efficient heating will reduce your energy consumption and make your home more comfortable to live in. Energy grants are available for low-income earners.
Maintains an even temperature in your home with less reliance on heating and saves £250 a year.
Minimises heat loss through your windows and saves £110 a year.
Can be done on a budget and saves £50 a year.
Improved technology uses less energy and saves £350 a year.
Turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £80 a year.
Replace external lighting with solar powered garden lights and save £37.20 a year.
Make conscious energy choices
You can make big savings by making small adjustments to the way you live.
Leaving a light on overnight can add £62 a year to your power bill.
If you’re working from home, choose a laptop to save £18.25 a year.
Find big-ticket savings online
There are some tips and tricks that many people miss.
Your income, bills, food and fuel cost have the biggest impact on your financial position. So even though these suggestions aren’t directly tech-related, while you’re in the mood to improve your lot in life, why not use the power of the internet to really move the needle? Here are our top tips on websites worth checking to tackle the cost of living crisis.
Browser extensions that apply coupons and discounts are growing in popularity. They’re free to install and use and can save on average £100 per year.
An estimated one million British families miss out on around £20bn of unclaimed tax perks and benefits each year. Make sure you’re not missing out on a hefty tax refund by claiming all your expenses. And use this fast, free benefits calculator to check if there are any state benefits you’re not claiming that you’re entitled to and pocket around £1,900 per year.
The Citizens Advice website has loads of information about reducing your cost of living. From the comfort of your lounge room, you can easily find out if you can increase your income, get help to get out of debt, pay less council tax, save money on gas and electricity, save on NHS prescriptions or get help with school costs which could see you over £1,000 better off per year, depending on your eligibility.
Use the Consumer Council for Water’s free water meter calculator to see if you’d save on average £100 per year with a meter.
Download your supermarket’s free loyalty app and get notified of specials. You can easily scan your phone to collect rewards and get discounts from your grocery shop and aim to save over £500 per year.
If you’re on a low income and really struggling to make ends meet, help is at hand. Check out the comprehensive guide from Citizens Advice to access the support you need.
Saving the best for last
Ok, so this might be our favourite tip of all.
Want to know how to improve your cost of living and your standard of living at the same time?
Short answer, buy a coffee machine.
Yep, there’s expense upfront, but you can save a lot of money in the long run. If you’re going out a few times a week for a caffeine fix (plus your ham and cheese croissant on the side), you’ll probably break even in the first year, then rake in the beans from then onwards. Plus, you can stay in your slippers all day long. Genius, right?
Feeling ready to tackle your tech?
We hope we inspired you to start attacking your cost of living challenges through tech. Now all you need to do is turn inspiration into action! Work your way through the list to explore all the opportunities and get a much-needed budget boost.
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