Business plan: Outgoings (& a bit about hot chocolate)

I really love Tesco’s own-brand Hot Chocolate. It isn’t a low fat version or anything like that but I do find that it is satisfying enough to stop me from running out to the shop and buying chocolate when the craving strikes (so cheaper than buying chocolate and surely less calories than a dessert?!). It is only £1.45 for a jar and it lasts me ages.

Anyway, on to business. The next stage of running my personal and home finances like a business has been looking at our outgoings. There are quite a few elements to this so I decided to start by looking at all of the direct debits and standing orders on our joint account (which pays for all of our household bills). It turns out we’re doing pretty well. The fixed rate on our mortgage finished last year and out mortgage payment actually dropped because interest rates are so rubbish. Since we’re hoping to move at some point (though it feels like it is never, ever going to happen) and the monthly payment is lower than it has been in years there is no point chasing another deal (particularly as they like to add on ‘administration’ charges just for taking out mortgages these days). Most of our other bills seem to be at good rates too. I couldn’t find a comparable phone package with anyone else (we pay £24.99 a month for our line rental, unlimited broadband and free landline calls at any time of day. They give us a discount on calls abroad and we try to use the free minutes on our mobiles to call other mobiles to not add to the phone bill). However, there are a couple of things that can be improved. The first is our gas and electric bill. I know this really needs to be looked at properly so I’m going to deal with this another day when I can give it my full attention. That leaves our RAC cover.

Husband took the cover out six years ago. I’d argue that we don’t really need it but Husband wants us to keep it up, particularly now we have Baby. Fair enough. Our payments have recently increased to just over £10 a month. Having looked at both RAC and AA websites this is far too much. I contacted RAC to see if they could reduce our payments to the amount shown on their website. A very sarcastic ‘customer services’ lady told me that ‘everyone knows’ companies offer better deals to new customers and if we felt that as ‘loyal’ customers we should be given a better rate we should have brought it up when the policy was automatically renewed. Apparently it can’t be changed until the next time the policy is up for renewal. Clearly in these tough times RAC can afford to lose customers. AA are offering cover for a year for around £62. It can be paid monthly but it works out to be about £1 more a month. I’m going to see if we can scurry up the cash to pay it in one go and take advantage of the saving. This would take it to the equivalent of just over £5 a month – half what we are paying now for exactly the same thing! As soon as I can confirm there are no penalties for cancelling the RAC policy (and that we’ve got the £62 for the new one) I’m making the switch. And that’s about it. Until I face up to trying to figure out how to compare energy tariffs that is…

Have you saved money by switching companies recently?

Categories: Home Economics, Money Management | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Business plan: Outgoings (& a bit about hot chocolate)

  1. Alison B43

    How about house insurance? When we moved our buildings insurance was provided by a company linked to the mortgage, and whilst far from cheap was extremely good. We had a major water leak under the house which would have been very expensive to fix (being very difficult to access) but the contractors who re-routed the water supply said that most insurers would not have covered it. So we stayed with them for the next few years, but eventually realised how much extra it was costing. I had regularly researched and changed insurers for contents policy, but when I got quotes for a combined policy I found we would get both for nearly the same amount as I had been paying just for the buildings insurance. Unfortunatley, whilst it is a bit time consuming, it is worth shopping around.
    As an aside, I too always buy the Tesco hot chocolate (even though now I do not have a Tesco locally). I have tried others, but always come back to this one, and I do think they do a lower fat version too.

    • shoestringalley

      Their hot chocolate is really good, isn’t it?!

      As for the house insurance – it is covered in the monthly maintenance charge. Which it ought to at the amount we have to pay! Grrr. I can’t wait until we can move. We’ve been here 11 years today!

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