Without even knowing it, many of us are in a string of loyal brand relationships.
These monogamous consumer ruts often permeate almost every aspect of our lives, from the carton of milk we buy from the corner shop, to the mortgage lender we use. It might be down to brand loyalty, sticking with what you know, or or simply inertia, but whatever the case, the simple fact is that shopping around regularly can help you to ensure the product that you’re using is still the right one for you, and that you’re paying a good price for it too.
Below we’ve outlined a few of the areas where shopping around and switching could help you to save you money if you find a better deal elsewhere.
It’s thought that only 14% of homes change their gas and electricity supplier each year, despite the fact that the average saving for switching tariff is around £140, according to consumer champion Which?. Switching energy suppliers won’t always save you money but shopping around can help you ensure you get the best deal for your needs and reviewing what’s on the market regularly can help ensure that you continue to do so, or reassure you that you’ve got a great offer if you don’t find anything better.
If you do find a better deal elsewhere then it may be worth calling your current provider to say you’re thinking of leaving as they may be able to match or provide a counter offer.
It’s worth noting that in some cases leaving your provider can have an exit penalty attached, however, if the energy company has increased their prices, then they have effectively changed the terms of your contract, meaning that you might not be need to pay the leaving fee but it’s worth checking out your terms and conditions with your current supplier before making a move.
If you do decide to shop around and compare deals, having details such as your postcode, your current tariff, the name of your supplier and an idea of roughly how much energy you use each month to hand can help.
Broadband and TV
You may be able to save money by ensuring you’re getting the best deal broadband and TV services. Are you getting a good price? Does the package that you’re subscribed to only offer services that you actually use? Can you get any TV and broadband service bundled together at a lower cost? The cost of broadband and TV services can quickly add up, so it could be worth keeping an eye on what you pay.
Technology changes so quickly, that switching to a mobile plan tailored to your use of text, data and calls, could save you a huge amount of money each year. Before you try to switch provider or plan, make sure you’ve read up on the terms of your existing contract before committing to anything new, including when it ends and how much you would have to pay to get out of your contract early. It may also be worth talking to your provider before you move to a new one, as they may make you a counter offer to persuade you to stay.
Current accounts, savings accounts and mortgages
Shopping around for the best current or savings accounts which offer the best deal available for your needs and circumstances can help ensure you’re getting the most out of every penny.
It used to be a real kerfuffle to switch current account, but thanks to the Current Account Switch service you may now be able to switch your account to a different provider in just 7 days, a big improvement on the 18-30 days it took previously. Thirty-three banks are currently participating in the scheme, including most big high street names such as Halifax and Barclays. It’s also worth noting that while your account might be setup in 7 days, you won’t necessarily have your new debit card by then.
Shopping around for the best rate on your mortgage regularly can help you ensure you’re getting the best deal. Although beware of switching in the initial special deal period, as you could face significant exit fees.
Make sure you check all the terms and conditions of a new account or mortgage agreement thoroughly before you take the leap!
The above list details just a few ways in which shopping around can help make make sure you’re getting a good deal - switching won’t always be right but understanding your options can help you make an informed choice.