From food bills to filling up your car – save over £1,500 a year with few simple tweaks to beat cost of li… – The Sun


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MILLIONS have seen a huge rise in bills over a hard year.
A typical household had to find an extra £1,320 for energy costs and car and home insurance in 2020, shelling out £3,330 for these alone, according to Comparethemarket.
Energy bills are set to rise another £500 a year for the average household in April.
But on Day Two of our three-part series to help you claw back cash from every area of your life, The Sun’s expert Squeeze Team shows you how to crunch your bills . . . 
ENERGY Save £560 a year: Follow the tips at to cut your usage.
These include draught-proofing, washing laundry at 30C and turning gadgets off standby.
INSURANCE Save £490 a year: USE comparison sites to slash your car and home insurance by searching 23 days before your policy expires.
On average, it could save you £328 on motor premiums and £164 on homes, according to Comparethemarket.
Use tools on Moneysavingexpert to find out how tweaking your job title could bring down prices.
BROADBAND Save £162 a year: Don’t linger on an old deal.
Uswitch users saved an average of £162 a year by comparing and switching.
Once you’ve found the cheapest tariff, haggle with your existing supplier to see if they can better it.
If you’re on Universal Credit you might qualify for a low-cost social tariff.
MOBILE Save £320 a year: DON’T upgrade to the latest handset if yours is working fine. Just switch to a sim-only deal and save a fortune.
If you do need to replace your phone, look at getting a refurbished second-hand model. Try Amazon, Back Market and musicMagpie.
A “pristine” iPhone 12 64GB is currently listed for £388 on Amazon, compared to £649 new.
GROCERY prices have been rising at their highest rate since the 1970s in recent months.
This means that shopping that would have cost £100 a year ago now costs almost £117.
Tara Evans, The Sun’s Head of Consumer, is a fan of switching to own-brand buys.
She said: “Our consumer tests on everything from baked beans to loo roll have shown that budget super-market buys are often just as good, or even better than, the big-name brands.
“And you could save up to £800 a year by switching to these cheaper choices.
“Pick up greatly reduced food that’s past its best but still safe to eat on the Approved Food website ( or via the TooGoodtoGo app.
“You can even get free food that neighbours or local shops are giving away on the Olio app.
“Get free coffee, pastries and more by signing up to Greggs, KFC, Krispy Kreme and other food apps.”
PLENTY of monthly bills are unavoidable, but you might be surprised at how many of the regular payments leaving your account are for things you don’t use.
Romi Savova, founder of online platform PensionBee, said: “Money management apps such as Snoop can help you save by highlighting current spending habits and identifying cheaper alternatives.
“Research shows households waste almost £170 a year on unused subscriptions for everything from gym memberships to online streaming services.
“These payments could be putting pressure on your finances.”
Consumer champion Martyn James added: “Worryingly, you might be paying a fee for services via your phone bill and not know it, so make sure you check these as well.
“Sometimes you can pause a subscription without having to cancel it altogether.
“It’s useful if you’re going away or if you are on a tighter budget for a few months.”
GET money back from the taxman for cleaning costs if you have to wear any kind of uniform at work.
James Lee Associates tax adviser James Lee said: “You can claim tax relief on flat-rate expenses if you’re employed by someone and you clean your work uniform, or if you spend your own money on repairing equipment you need to do your job.
“Check the HMRC website to see if you qualify. If you are entitled, you can make a back-dated claim for up to four years.”
The amount you can claim varies, but a mechanic paying basic rate tax could claim around £24 a year – almost £100 going back four years.
You can also claim a year’s tax relief if you had to work at home – even for only a day – during the pandemic.
James said: “You can claim tax relief of £312, that’s £62.40 in hard cash for a basic rate taxpayer.”
You’ll need a Government Gateway password and your P60 to apply using the form at
ENERGY price increases mean we are all trying to be as careful as possible around the home.
And even small tweaks to your daily habits can add up to big savings over the course of a year.
Sun Savers editor Leah Milner says: “Cutting your shower time to four minutes and turning your heating down by one degree could cut hundreds off your annual energy costs.
“Focus on keeping yourself warm with cosy hoodies, heated throws and electric blankets, rather than heating up the room.”
You can also join the masses of home cooks who have switched to using an airfryer instead of the oven.
If you are on Universal Credit or a low-income benefit, check you are getting all the help you are entitled to.
Local councils, energy companies, water suppliers and broadband providers all have hardship funds or special tariffs.
Visit or use the tools at to find support.
HAVING children is a costly business, especially as they outgrow their clothes and toys.
But you can find loads of toys, clothes and other items for children and babies that parents are giving away for free in your local area.
Coupon Queen and author Holly Smith, a mum of four, who features on ITV’s This Morning, said: “I love the YoungPlanet app which is designed to stop plastic and other rubbish going into landfill.
“You can find so much on it, including bibs, mattresses and lots more.

“I’ve also found some amazing bargains in charity shops, including an activity cube toy for 50p which my baby Bonnie loved.
“It was selling at the same time online for £31.
“I also use the website to help find huge discounts on Amazon.
“With its help, I managed to find a Moses basket, which was down from £250 to £39.”
PETROL prices have finally started to come down, but they’re still almost £1.50 a litre – and drivers have also seen rises in the cost of insurance.
Consumer champion Martyn James said: “Try to drive smoothly and avoid slamming on the brakes or revving the accelerator, as that wastes fuel. You could save up to £300 a year through careful driving.
“Get rid of any excess weight too by clearing out your boot and removing roof boxes or bike racks.
“Before you fill up, check where to find the lowest-cost fuel using the Petrol Prices website or app.
“Cut the cost of your insurance cover by up to £328 a year using sites such as Comparethemarket, Moneysupermarket and
“On top of this you could get up to £40 cash back if you click through from a cashback website such as Quidco or Topcashback to the comparison site and then search for quotes.”
IF you have a loan or credit card debt, you could be wasting hundreds of pounds a year on interest payments.
The Sun’s Leah Milner said: “See if you can get a balance transfer card, which allows you to move a credit card debt, or a money transfer card, which can be used to repay a loan.
“You’ll have to pay a fee of about three per cent, but it will give you a window of up to two years to pay what you owe without interest mounting.
“Use an eligibility checker such as the one on”
First Direct and Nationwide Building ­Society both offer current accounts with interest-free overdrafts.
If you’ve got a mortgage, check the date it’s due for renewal.
If you are on a cheap deal expiring soon, don’t let it move on to the standard rate, which would add an extra £260 a month on the average £100,000 loan.
Lining up a new deal to switch to as soon as your current one ends could lessen this jump to around £130 a month, based on cheapest rates now.
RETIRED policeman Dean Jones, 64, estimates his cost-cutting tricks save him ­thousands of pounds a year. The widower, who lives in Cardiff with son Thomas, 28, a barman, says:
“I’ve put the thermostat on the heating down by two degrees and I’ll just put it on for an hour or not at all.
“All the radiators are turned off in rooms I don’t use and I have a heated throw which is really cosy in the evenings.
“I’ve also got an electric blanket which I switch on while I’m in the bathroom just before I go to bed.
“I go to bed earlier in winter to save on lights and heating.
“To save money on food I make the most of yellow-sticker deals and batch cook meals such as lasagne, making sure the oven is full to capacity.
“Then I split it into portions to freeze.
“When I want to use a portion I’ll transfer it from the freezer to the fridge the day before so it takes less time to heat in the microwave.
“I’ve got a three-tiered saucepan that I use to cook veg so I only need one hob.
“When I do use my oven I turn it off five minutes before the food is ready, as it carries on cooking without costing anything.
“When it’s done, I open the oven door to save the fan from working to cool it down and allow the heat to warm up the room.
“Instead of boiling a full kettle, I use a Breville hot water dispenser, which I’ve had for years.
“It heats up one cup at a time. My smart meter tells me it only costs a penny to make a cuppa.
“I make the most of windy days to dry my washing so I don’t need to use a tumble dryer.
“I get two-for-one deals on eating out and cinema trips through Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies, which you get when you buy insurance through Comparethemarket.
“I bought the cheapest policy I could find, which was £1.20 for travel cover on a day trip to ­Swansea that I never intended to make, which gave me access to the two-for-one deals.”
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