Attempt 2: Utility bill savings

Ok, so this sounds like the most boring title for a blog evaaa, I realise.

But money saving can’t always be mystery shopping like a super sleuth, or etsy-ing it up like Kirstie Allsop (more on that in future). And to be frank, sometimes the fastest money getters are earned by just not spending money you were going to spend. Or perhaps, spending less of it.

I should credit here my motivation for switching companies like a wanton hussy, which is money saving expert. I could have devoted a whole blog post to the folks at MSE, really. If you sign up, they send a weekly email full of tips on how to save cash – switching debt to low interest offers, offers on all sorts of things from hols to hairbrushes (maybe the latter is too specific, but a big Boots offer has been advertised of late so I’m not too far out!). For me, this email gives a Wed morn kick in the ‘nads to think about all things money. If you want to save some shekels – sign yourself up now – what are you waiting for?

On the website you can also do what MSE calls a ‘money makeover’ – takes a couple of hours of your life to investigate where you could be saving money on all your regular bills – gas, elec, telephone, broadband etc – and then maybe a couple of hours more on the blower to start / stop new contracts. I do that process each year or thereabouts, so generally speaking if I’m not on the best contract or have the savings account with the best rate, I’m on one that used to be! For the purposes of this blog, only savings that I make in 2017 count, so as I switched gas and elec and mobile providers last year, there are relatively slim pickings for me now!

So – raving about MSE over (if you’re still reading and haven’t signed up for that newsletter yet you’re daft – DO IT, NOW. You’re welcome.), onto today’s savings – telly, phone and broadband packages!

I have been a talk talk customer for YONKS. Minimum 3 years. I was on a package that combined all 3, for £37.70 a month for 24 months. I haggled that down in the latter part of last year – they were offering customers much better offers so I tried my luck and they reduced it to £24.50 for the last 6 months of my contract – helped that my service had been poor in the weeks running up to our negotiation. Then, for the last month since my contract ended just after Crimbo, it reverted to £40.45.

It had been on my mind to research and change provider all Jan, but MSE’s email today gave me a nudge. I did some investigating and WHAAA? Turns out talk talk’s tv box (love of my life* – lets you record, rewind and pause live telly) is now mine – that I paid for it upfront earlier in my contract and it’ll still work even if I leave them for another provider. Yep, I’ll still be able to record and rewind – all that good stuff!

So, as I don’t use any fancy channels, I now only need broadband and phone. (And let’s be honest, the latter mainly only so my Ma can call now and again, saying ‘oh hello’ when I pick up the phone like she’s surprised it’s me – when she called me?!) Comparison time (again, MSE get the credit for having all the best packages neatly laid out on their website) and BOOM…I’m heading over to plusnet for their special offer (ends last day of Jan) for a package that’s gonna be £155 for unlimited broadband and phone for a YEAR. Whop on the £7 for them to send me a router and total cost (which takes into account £55 cashback I should get in a couple of months, and me paying for line rental up front), and total cost is £162.

Back on the phone to talk talk (I was an idiot and renewed my contract with them earlier, thinking their £22.95 per month new deal was the best I could get – this was before I had the ‘the tv box is mine to KEEP?’ revelation – what price to pay for true love, after all?), and in particular their customer loyalty department.

Eesh – that was an hour of my life I’ll never get back. It basically consisted of me spilling the beans about my new deal, and the lady coming back with an offer that was nowhere near. And then trying again. And failing. And then aggressively telling me how the plusnet offer she was looking at on her screen was different to the one I was about to enter into. There were some deffo misleading bits, too – for example: ‘with us you’ll save £34 per year compared to plusnet’ even though it was being compared to a different offer, and ‘you’ve entered a new contract with us – you’ll need to pay an early termination fee’ even though I’m in the legally required cooling off period. I ended up needing to get quite grumpy with her…’Look – if you can beat £162 let’s talk. If not, I need to go elsewhere – I don’t want any further conversation about it’.


God I’m a badass.


Anyway – it’s done. I should be a plusnet customer any day now, making big savings and using their altogether friendlier customer service agents. Two caveats: 1) I know they pulled out the nice guys on me today when they were trying to get my business. But generally their customer service is rated well. 2) I’m not strictly speaking comparing like with like – the plusnet offer I’ve gone with has speeds of 4-8MB instead of the ‘up to 17’ promised by talk talk. But looking at the average speeds available in my area, I’m willing to try it more slowly and see what happens. I can always upgrade to fibre – plusnet do a good fibre deal, too so it wouldn’t require switching provider again if I did.

So onto the figures. I’m going to base savings across the whole year (so counting the 11 months Feb-Dec), and against what I would have paid if I’d taken no action whatsoever – i.e. if I’d stayed on my £40.45 contract.

Old spend: 11 x £40.45 = 444.95

New spend: 162/12 = 13.5, then 13.5 x 11 = £148.50



+ Big savings: done once and will hold for the rest of the year. Because I’ve paid line rental up front it also means I’m only paying £2.01 each month – happy days!

+ Easy to do: online comparison tools make life easy

– Need to do your homework first – they’ll bamboozle you on the cancellation lines with cost per month / set up fees etc so have a calculator handy to translate it so it compares to your price to beat. Plus don’t take any sh!t – if they say you’ll need to pay a fee to leave, ask why.

Just thought of another +…can do it from home in your pjs and no one need know (unless you then blog about it. Dammit.)


Running totals…

Attempt 1: £18.98

Attempt 2: £298.45

Grand total: £315.43

Keep tuned. Still to come are my attempts at becoming an etsy billionaire, a youtube sensation and the mother load…re-mortgaging!


* Please don’t tell my other half that the telly box has been described as the love of my life. I think he’s under the impression that it’s him…





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