Eight pain-free ways to cut your bills and save money in 2018

January's pay packet probably left many people breathing a sigh of relief '“ but now that your bank balance is looking a little healthier again, how can you keep it on the right track for the whole of 2018?

Before you make a purchase, see if you can make it any cheaper by using a website with a discount code. Photograph: PA
Before you make a purchase, see if you can make it any cheaper by using a website with a discount code. Photograph: PA

Cutting back your spending and staying out of the red doesn’t always have to be painful. Here are eight suggestions for how to do it.

Consider switching your mortgage

Many home owners are still sitting on their lenders’ standard variable rate – the rate which the mortgage reverts to when a particular deal comes to an end. Despite the Bank of England base rate rise in November, there are still many low-rate mortgage deals available, so switching could potentially save huge amounts of money, as for many people their mortgage is their biggest outgoing.

Don’t double up

Are you paying twice for a particular service? As many as 10 per cent of adults across the UK may potentially be paying twice to protect their personal gadgets, simply by not checking the terms and conditions within their contents insurance policies, research by comparethemarket.com suggests: in a survey of more than 2000 adults, one in ten admitted they’ve taken out separate gadget insurance on items already covered by their contents policy.

See if you can save on your energy bills

More than 100 fixed energy tariff deals are ending or have done already across the first three months of 2018, comparethemarket has also found. Its analysis of the fixed tariffs ending in these months found the average increase to energy bills could potentially be £192 per household. Peter Earl, head of energy at comparethemarket, says: “When fixed tariffs are coming to an end, it is essential to engage with your supplier, shop around and switch onto the best deal to avoid being rolled onto these expensive default tariffs.”

Ditch unwanted subscriptions

If you’re paying for something you don’t use, it’s money down the drain. Do a check of your regular outgoings and have a cull of anything you’re not getting value from. For example, if you’ve got a gym subscription but you don’t make trips there very often, work out whether it might be cheaper to pay for individual classes. Make sure you’re aware of cancellation policies though.

Have a spring clear-out

Boost your income and by selling items you don’t use and won’t miss on websites such as eBay and Gumtree.

Make the most of cashback and discount websites

Before you make a purchase, see if you can make it any cheaper by using a website with a discount code, or one offering cashback on your purchase.

Cut the cost of your debts

See if you can reduce the cost of paying off any debts, such as by making a credit card balance transfer, for example.

Make a PPI claim

If you’ve been meaning to make a claim for mis-sold PPI, now’s the time – as the deadline for claims is August 29, 2019. As well as complaining about mis-selling, you can also now claim about the commission a provider earned from the sale of PPI – even if you had a previous complaint about mis-selling of PPI rejected.