Money Management

How to Keep the Cost of Watching TV down

Watching television can be a really good past time for many people. It can keep us company, entertain us, get us together as a family and even teach us things. However, it can be costly to do so but there are ways that you can keep those costs down.

TV licence

If you want to watch live terrestrial television then you will need a television licence. This will cost a monthly amount of around £12 although it is cheaper if you have a black and white television or are visually impaired. You can watch some programs for free online after they have been broadcast but you still need a licence to watch anything that was broadcast by the BBC. If you watch the television using freeview, freesat, cable or satellite you will need to have a television licence.

Cable television

Some of the UK has access to television by cable. This means that you will be able to pay the company that provides the cable to view different channels. There are usually more channels available than on the free services but you may have to pay extra for them. They may have options where you can choose different channels for different prices. As you will have to pay for the TV licence as well, any costs you pay for the cable television will be extra to this.

Satellite television

Satellite television will also need a television licence and will enable you access to more channels. You will need to live in an area that can receive it and have a dish installed on your home which may not be allowed if you live in a listed building. You may also have a choice of paying more money for extra channels.

Online subscriptions

There is a growing trend of people getting online subscriptions for companies that will provide boxsets of programs as well as films to watch. These do not include normal terrestrial channels and so there is no need to have a TV licence to watch them. They are often cheaper than a TV licence as well.

It is important, once you are aware of your options, to think about what you want to do. You might be paying for lots of different channels and it is wise to think about whether you really need to be paying as much as you are. You need to think about how much you can afford to start with and then you will be able to work out whether you can afford several of these options or just the one. It can be tempting to watch all of the things that your friends and family watch so that you can chat to them about it. This is where you can end up spending more money than you can afford. It is not worth struggling with money or even getting a loan from somewhere like just so that you can watch a few programs on the television. Some will come onto other channels eventually anyway and with others you will probably not miss out that much if you have not watched them. You may even find that you are not a big fan once you watch the program anyway.

It can be easy to be tempted by offers though. You might be given a television package offer in with broadband and landline phone, for example and that could mean that you will be tempted to spend a bit more because those are cheaper. You might also be offered some free months or cheaper deals and it can be tempting to do it. The problem is that once you sign up to these channels you can get hooked to the programs that are on them. Then you will want to keep viewing and therefore you will need to keep paying out the money. You may also find pressure from other family members who might be in the same situation and want to watch things that will cost you more money. You may have to ask that they provide money towards the cost (particularly if they are older) if it is becoming a strain on the household budget. Otherwise you might have to suggest that they go without or watch them with friends and family instead of having it themselves.

You may think that you are not really paying out that much, but it is well worth investigating this. You might find that you are paying out a lot more money than you realise. If you add up the licence fee and the various subscriptions, you could be shocked by quite how much you are paying out. It could certainly be wise to make sure that you are aware and that you check to see whether you budget will allow this spending to continue. If not, you will have to prioritise which services you keep and which you get rid of.


How to Find the Best Utility Supplier

We all pay utility bills but they can seem to really expensive at times Just when we feel we have got on top of them the price can go up again. It can feel like it is never ending. You might feel that you need to take a loan just to cover the cost at times, but you might be staying with your regular supplier as you are worried about what to expect from any others, which is understandable. However, it is really sensible to have a think about your supplier and whether you really should be staying with them. There are steps that you should take so that you can find the best possible supplier for you.

Identify what you want

It is really important to start by identifying what you want form a utility supplier. We will often stay with the one we are with because they have everything that we want or almost everything. List down those things that you really like. There might also be things that you dislike as well. Perhaps you like the price but you do not like the customer service or you like being able to pay online but not that you cannot pay monthly. You should be able to come up with a list of what you like and dislike about them and this will enable you to be able to look at what is on offer and choose a suitable supplier. It can be daunting as there are so many and some are not well known, but you could save yourself some money and get a better service if you swap so it is worth thinking carefully about.

Compare prices

It is worth starting off by comparing prices. Although there will be other features which are also important to you, you need to think about the cost as well. There are unlikely to be any people who do not care how much it costs, although many will be happy to pay a bit more if they get the features that they are looking for. So, it is a good place to start, to look at how prices compare. By using a comparison website you will get a good idea of which companies are offering utilities and how they compare price wise. There are likely to be companies that you have never heard of as well as the more well-known ones. It is worth knowing that some will not appear on comparison sites and it is possible that those that do not appear will actually be cheaper, so you might find that you should consider searching for others as well. You might be able to find them if you search in a search engine or if you look on a website or blog which reviews them. By looking at price you might be able to narrow down your search.  

Compare other features

Once you have a short list you are in an easier position to compare the companies based on other features. You should have an idea of what you are looking for and therefore you should be able to cut down the list even more. Some people might want a bank they have heard of, one that as a good reputation, one that their family recommend or one that has a high street branch. There are all sorts of factors that might be important and it is worth trying to find one that matches your requirements the closest. Some factors can be easy to find out, such as whether you have a local branch or if you have heard of them. However, other things can be trickier, such as finding out how good their customer services are or whether you family recommend them. However, these things are possible but will just take a little time, so you need to find the time to do it. It can make a big difference and it could mean that you will be paying significantly less as a result or getting a better service for the money that you are paying.

It might seem like a lot to think about when you can just stick with the company that you are with already. However, once you have established what you want form a utility company and researched the different companies it will be easier next time. So, if you do this review each year, it will get easier and easier and you could end up saving a significant amount of money as each saving will add up. If you would prefer to leave it to others then you may be able to find a broker that will compare everything for you and do the work instead of you. There are limits with this as they will not look at every supplier and they might be biased by the fact that they get paid commission so might pick the one that pays them the most. However, it might still mean that you end up with a better utility supplier than you are currently with.