It sometimes feels lately like that ‘end of the month feeling’ when it comes to money, gets nearer and nearer to the middle of the month. Everything seems to be going up in price, except for the amount of money coming in every month. One bill in particular which I have seen shoot up over the last 12 months is our energy bill.
When it comes to our electricity and gas usage, we are now classed as high users. I must admit that I didn’t like that term at all but then as I wander around the house, I can see why. When we are all in the house, there will be two Xboxes on, at least two devices being charged, the TV is probably on, there will be lights on even if it is a bright sunny day, plug sockets are left on even if they are not being used. My family are not very good at energy efficiency. However hard I try to explain (or nag as they would probably say), the boys, in particular, are useless when it comes to switching things off. Plus we are a family who likes gadgets. IPads, Kindles, phones, headphones, Fitbits, there is always something on charge somewhere.
I’m not blame free either. Although I do go around trying to switch things off, I have my heated airer in the kitchen (my favourite ever appliance) which is meant to be energy efficient but is constantly on as I do at least one load of washing a day. I try not to use my tumble drier but at this time of year, I do have to use it every now and then. The oven is often on, either making dinner or cooking my latest baking attempts. I work from home for most of the week so my laptop is usually on charge.
So like many typical families, we are using more than our fair share and that has seen or bills more than double in the last 18 months.
Energy bills are one area where it is possible to save money, you can spend time doing price comparisons and switch companies to find a cheaper deal but that isn’t always a straightforward process. Generally, over the last five or six years, I have switched between two of the bigger ‘big six’ energy companies and saved a bit of money, but two years ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I opted to switch to a smaller company. To be honest, it was a bit of a nightmare and it did put me off. Yes, I did save money initially, although the prices did go up after six months. I had quite a few problems with the switch and with the payments and it was really difficult to resolve. After my contracted year, I swiftly said goodbye and headed back to one of the bigger companies but it did put me off trying a different company again.
Two years on, I must admit that I do worry about the size of our bill. No matter how much time I spend running around trying to switch everything off, we can’t seem to keep our energy bills down. Maybe it is time to take the plunge again and try one of the newer energy companies on the market to try and keep the costs down? It does worry me though and it takes time too, researching the best deal, trawling through different websites adding your details and usage information and time is the other things, along with money, that I never seem to have enough of.
Then I discovered collective switching. The Big Deal was created in 2014 by two friends who wanted to work together to see if they could get a better deal on their energy bills. Working collectively, they could see the power in groups of consumers working together to get a better deal. The Big Deal allows people to sign up free of charge to see if they can save money on their energy bills but there is no obligation to switch but lots of people have. Why wouldn’t you with an average saving of £300 per year per member? Four years on and The Big Deal now has over 400,000 members which give The Big Deal huge bargaining power to save its members money in both energy and broadband bills and it has saved them a staggering £15 million in total.
Even better, the people behind The Big Deal have gone one step further and set up a brand new service called Look After My Bills. And they do just that. Look After My Bills is a service that does all the hard work for you and looks after your gas and electricity bills without you having to do anything. It takes a few minutes to set up your account and fill in the necessary information and Look After My Bills will take that information, assess the market for you and switch you to the best deal. No endless trawling of the internet, no searching for the best deal, no endless phone calls to your new supplier. It is all done for you. Plus at the end of the deal, they will automatically find you a new deal. That sounds so amazing and what is even more amazing is that this service is free. Yes, free. Look After My Bills claim commission from the suppliers, so they are paying for the service, not you.
For me, this is a win-win. It is a service that will save me time and money, so I am definitely signing up to start saving as soon as possible. An article from the BBC earlier this month shows that sadly customer loyalty only leads people to lose money on their bills these days, Look After My Bills is the way forward for everyone, for those who haven’t got time to switch or for those who like to forget about their bills and just pay every month. Whichever type you are, surely it is worth taking a few minutes of your time to see how much Look After My Bills could save you?
This post was written in collaboration with Look After My Bills