I’ve teamed up with Santander today to bring you this post and infographic about bills, bills, bills! Did you know that 1 million households in the UK don’t open their bills at all, never mind read them? Scary!
I have a confession to make… I’m a mail hoarder. I have a stack of mail that lives on a shelf in my hallway and I don’t very often get around to filing it or shredding it, even though I do have a shredder. A few times per year, the stress of looking at the ever growing pile of mail becomes too much for me and I go through around half of it before the tediousness of the task takes over and I leave it for another day!
The good news is that I do actually open the mail. I open each and every envelope so that I can cast my eyes over the contents and make sure I don’t owe any money to any creditor or supplier and also so I can check that any bills look reasonable. The hubby and I both learned serious lessons years ago about the consequences of not opening our mail (a great big build-up of debt, in case you were wondering)!
So I do open my bills, unlike a million other households in the UK, according to Santander’s infographic above. I quickly glance at the amount on the bill to make sure it looks roughly right and then I toss it on top of the pile of mail. This got me to thinking though about how I never really check the details of my bills to see whether I could be saving any money.
All good things come to those who analyse and double-check!
In a little experiment, I’ve just hunted out my last utility bill which includes gas, electric, home phone and broadband (I’m with Utility Warehouse which in my opinion is the cheapest supplier in the UK if you take all four services like I’ve done).
The bill amount looked reasonable enough to me – £136 last month for all my utilities as mentioned above. I looked through the nitty gritty details whilst trying not to be bamboozled by all the energy jargon – how many kWhs I’ve used and what my unit rates are.
Then I noticed a section in the bill which stated quite boldly, “Could you pay less?” This section then went on to explain that even though I was on a cheap tariff, I could switch to an alternative electricity tariff to save £18.85 per year and an alternative gas tariff to save £21.37 per year. There it was, written quite plainly in black and white – an instant saving, right before my eyes!
Following that discovery, I searched through the list of phone calls I’d made last month and realised that I’d been charged £2.60 for calling a special rate number – I’ll definitely be paying more attention to my phone calls from my now on!
Anyway, after this little exercise, I got straight on the phone to swap my tariffs and am now feeling pretty good about saving a little money like this, especially because it’s December – the run up to Christmas usually involves spending, not saving!
Do you open your bills? Have you checked them properly lately?
*Infographic supplied by Santander. Whilst this post has been funded by Santander, all opinions are my own!
I usually open them and then just skim for anything that doesn’t look glaringly out of place, but after seeing how you saved I might start reading the fine print!
Brittany recently posted…Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget
I try to get as many as I can transitioned to electronic notifications, and I do open those. For the few that we have that are still paper bills, I do tend to open them, even if the withdrawls are automatic.
Money Beagle recently posted…Use Gift Cards As Currency For Holiday Shopping
I try to read my bills when they are sent in the mail, but a lot of my bills are now electronic. So instead I’m able to just check my checking account statement or credit card statement and make sure it seems in like with what I expected to pay.
Debt Hater recently posted…The Story of Tyron Smith
There are many things I procrastinate doing in life (including switching over to electronic statements), but getting and opening the mail is definitely not one of them. I always check my bills over line by line to make sure they’re correct and I understand what I’m being charged for. If it’s a credit card statement, I reconcile it with my manually entered transactions in Quicken or if it’s a medical bill (US), I check it against my explanation of benefits from my insurance provider. If it’s an energy bill, I see how my usage compares to the past and make sure it makes sense to me. And I always look for more opportunities to save.
Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…8 Simple Ways to Save Money
I open my bills but I rarely analyze what it is telling me. I just look at the amount of the bill, that’s it. I never read other details. I’d definitely try to read the information indicated the next time I get my bills.
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…The great housing ripoff
Most of mine are online and automatic pay, but if I see something going up I dig in to find out why. I do admit thought that I’ll get some random stuff from companies that I do tend to ignore and probably shouldn’t. There either could be great deals or something about a warning that some kind of fee will change or something will go up.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…I May Not Have Everything I Want…
Always, always, always. I don’t set up auto pay because there are simply too many mistakes. It is my money and I can take the time to make sure it stays with me. I just have a reminder each month for paying the bills. Never missed one in 17 years so it’s a system that works for me. My wife caught lots of mistakes on medical bills and so it’s worth the time and effort.
Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income recently posted…The Best and Most Boring Wedding Present Ever?
I need to start doing this more. I have an unopened credit card bill sitting on my kitchen table as I’m typing this. Those are especially important to monitor. I usually open my utility bills but only to look at the price. I never look through the charges and my usage. You make a great point here and I definitely need to start doing that.
Chonce recently posted…Is Couponing Really Worth It?
I make a habit every month. I try as much as possible to make it a habit and never miss paying bills on time, A reminder always keep my payments organised.
Amos @ Modest Money recently posted…Retirement – What Happens When You Get There?
Most of my bills are automatic or online. I pretty much never get anything in the mail anymore. I’ve opted out of getting paper bills to help the environment as well. I was never reading most of the things that came in anyway.
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