FAMILIES face a kick in the finances with a series of price rises taking effect.
Increases will hit household outgoings from broadband and medicines to council tax and passport renewals.
Today we look at what’s going up — and find ways to claw back some savings.
Alex Perrin, of money-saving website ismybillfair.com, said: “Consumers shouldn’t underestimate the impact these ‘little price rises here and there’ can make.”
While some price rises are unavoidable, it is important to fight battles you can win.
Alex explains: “When it comes to suppliers, the power really is in your hands.
“Don’t sit back and watch your spare cash diminish just because your phone firm or energy provider whacks up your bills.
“Fight back. Ask them for a better deal or switch.”
TV licence – April 1
From tomorrow, your colour TV licence will cost £150.50, up £3.50.
Don’t worry if you started a payment plan before April 1, you’ll continue to pay £147 until renewal.
Remedy: You don’t need it if you use Netflix, Amazon, or Now TV.
Netflix starts at £5.99 a month, or £71.88 a year, saving you more than half the cost of a TV licence.
Water bills from April
A typical bill will rise by £9 to £405 a year, though it depends where you live.
Hardest hit are homes in the North West, with a rise of £18.
Remedy: Website aqkwa.co.uk analyses water use and gives advice on how to cut your bill.
Or apply for a free water-saving gadget from your council.
NHS prescriptions – April 1
There is no change to the price of prescription prepayment certificates (PPC), which allow you to get as much medicine as you need in a set period at a fixed price.
Remedy: For those who need two or more medicines a month, getting a PPC is a no-brainer. You could save up to £300 a year with a 12-month one, which is £104.
Council tax – April 1
Nearly all local authorities will be increasing council tax, adding £100 or more to the average bill.
Remedy: If you are struggling, check with your council to see if you can get money off.
Mobile/broadband – ongoing
A number of telecoms firms are pushing up costs this year.
Sky customers on its Broadband Unlimited, Fibre (25GB capped), Fibre Lite and Connect pay an extra £1.01 a month from Monday.
Sky landline calls costs go from 12.54p to 14.65p a minute.
Millions of EE, O2, Three and Vodafone customers will see the price of their contracts increase by around four per cent by May.
Remedy: Haggle for a better deal. You can call up for yourself having first checked what others are paying on ismybillfair.com.
Save the pennies… how to reduce your weekly spend
Get canny with your cash savings:
- USE CASHBACK: Whenever you pay for a service, whether it is energy, broadband or insurance, see if you can get a discount through a cashback site. The best are topcashback.co.uk and quidco.com.
- HAGGLE: Make a list of all the services you subscribe to and barter for a cheaper price at renewal time.
- CHANGE BANKS: Banks will give you hundreds of pounds if you switch your current account. Halifax is offering £75 to move to its Reward account.
It also pays an extra £3 a month to those who meet criteria such as paying in at least £750 a month.
First Direct is offering £100 and M&S Bank a £125 M&S gift card, plus up to £5 in M&S vouchers a month for the first year, totalling up to £185 in vouchers.
- BOOST SAVINGS: Don’t throw money away by letting it languish in a low-interest saving account. Switch to a top easy-access account or a high-interest current account. The best online is ICICI Bank HiSave Bonus Saver at 1.35 per cent. Nationwide is offering five per cent on balances up to £2,500 for those who pay in £1,000 every month.
- CHEAP PETROL: Register at PetrolPrices.com and put in your postcode. The site will list that day’s cheapest petrol stations in your area.
Energy – several firms are raising tariff costs
E.ON customers face various rises because the supplier is scrapping a number of discounts in April.
The £20-a-year dual-fuel reduction is one of those going.
From April 28, Bulb will crank up prices by 2.8 per cent — around £24 a year for typical customers.
And iSupply has already increased bills by 7.5 per cent for dual-fuel customers, adding £76 to the average bill.
Remedy: If you’re not on a fixed tariff, search a price-comparison site for a cheaper deal.
Stamps – already up
First class stamps are now 67p and second class 58p.
Sending a signed-for letter first class is now £1.77, or £1.68 for second class.
Remedy: Go paperless where you can and use email instead.
Until last Thursday, renewing a passport cost £72.50 — whether by post or online.
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Now the postal service is up £12.50, taking an adult passport to £85 and a kid’s one to £58.50.
Online renewals are up £3 to £75.50 for adults and £49 for children.
Remedy: With another increase due next year, get your renewal in early — nine months can be transferred to your new passport.
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