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Share your top tips on staying on top of the family’s bills with EE – HTC One Mini (worth £365) to be won NOW CLOSED

(83 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Dec-13 12:45:28

EE want to know what tips Mumsnetters have for staying on top of their family’s bills.

Here’s what EE have to say, “We're the UK's biggest mobile network and we've just created Shared 4GEE Plans. Based on the idea that you share your data allowance across multiple devices (phones, laptops, tablets) you can save money. You can sign up with up to four other people (friends, your partner, your mum and dad) and together you can get up to 50GB data for everyone to play with, as well as unlimited calls and texts for all the phones – all on one simple bill.”

So, what tips do you have for keeping on top of your family’s bills and making sure you stay within budget? Do you revise your bills thoroughly each month? Do you make sure you only run the dishwasher and washing machine overnight? Perhaps you Skype rather than phone call any friends or relatives living or travelling overseas? Whatever it is we’d love to hear about it.

Everyone who adds their comments to the thread will be entered into a prize draw to win an HTC One Mini. For full T&Cs please terms and conditions click here

Please note your comments may be used (anonymously of course) on EE's pages on MN, social media channels and possibly elsewhere.

Thanks and good luck,


momb Wed 11-Dec-13 15:53:05

The shared allowances sound great but with our Dds pulling so many megs of absolute tosh on their phones/tablets/ipods I really couldn't risk them using the up the joint allowance and then being high and dry myself. By having them on capped allowances they are responsible for their own viewing limits I DP and I still get to stream the occasional movie!
Fow other bills it's a matter of budgetting and staying within budget. Showing restraint, showing control. As in life really..

NotCitrus Wed 11-Dec-13 18:18:31

We sit down and budget every few months, checking bills aren't changing (utilities 'regular direct debits' are anything but, automatically changing every 3 months from under £100 to near £200 a month and back...), and see how much we have to play with and where we might be able to cut back (never let MrNC go to the supermarket as he gets seduced by special offers that are more expensive than we usually pay, and brings back lots of 'helpful' ready meals).

sharond101 Wed 11-Dec-13 22:17:15

We do an Excel spreadsheet of outgoings and incomings which we can look at to predict what we can spend and save.
We never buy anything we don't have the cash to pay for (except our home).
We shop around for everything we buy and are (I like to think) thrifty with our money.

CMOTDibbler Wed 11-Dec-13 22:23:18

We review our suppliers regularly, and look at resources such as MSE to see if theres a better deal that might not be easily apparent

HootyMcOwlface Thu 12-Dec-13 07:24:05

I also keep track on an excel spreadsheet.
Pay car insurance/tv license as one lump sum rather than monthly. Pay utilities by direct debit as its slightly cheaper.
Switch lights off when leaving rooms. Boil only the amount you need in the kettle and use all the water while its hot.
Shop around for car and home insurance, and mobile phone contracts. I have a cashback credit card and put the cashback each year towards household expenses. We also put a little more than needed into the joint account to help with large household expenses that crop up.

IncaAztec Thu 12-Dec-13 09:47:49

So, what tips do you have for keeping on top of your family’s bills and making sure you stay within budget? Make a list before you go food shopping and stick to discount places if you can get away with it. Check out prices online for bigger items before you go shopping. Try not to take the kids if you can get away with it!

Do you revise your bills thoroughly each month? I check direct debits online each month and make sure that things remain the same.

Do you make sure you only run the dishwasher and washing machine overnight? No point in this, we don't have Economy 7 so its no cheaper!

Perhaps you Skype rather than phone call any friends or relatives living or travelling overseas? We use skype quite a bit, its easy to end up paying a lot to ring relatives overseas otherwise.

Maiyakat Thu 12-Dec-13 13:13:34

Have bills going out by direct debit each month (soon after payday) so you know how much disposable income you have each month.

Save for unexpected bills such as car breakdown

Use price comparison websites for insurance etc

Use pay as you go mobile, my monthly spend has more than halved

LifeofPo Thu 12-Dec-13 13:24:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CheeseTMouse Thu 12-Dec-13 15:37:15

I always negotiate. I got my car breakdown cover at £50 off because I researched comparable deals and asked them to match it. I've also done this with my broadband and phone bills.

The other thing to watch is when contracts come up for renewal and don't delay renegotiating at that point - otherwise you may be paying more than you need to.

manfalou Thu 12-Dec-13 21:26:33

We try to only switch the heating on twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening (easier said than done when its freezing and you're in the house all day) Layering up helps and ensuring everyone owns and wears a pair of slippers!

We have a credit card but never buy things on it. We buy within our means.

Online shopping.. for EVERYTHING. For groceries its easier to budget as you can see your receipt as you go. For everything else (item wise) you can go through quidco/topcashback and/or use voucher codes. 95% of the time you can claw something back, even if its only a few pence.

Shop around for insurance...and go through quidco. I got £70 cash back last year.

We are on a PAYG tarrif with O2. We pay £10 and for the next month get 500mb of data and 200 texts. After a month our 'freebies' run out and we use the £10 (or what ever is left after making calls which aren't included in our deal) until it runs out. Then top up £10 again. £10 lasts us 6 weeks. Much cheaper than a contract and getting much more for our money.

Doing the washing machine overnight doesn't make any difference to the bills... or at least it doesn't to ours.

daisyjoy Fri 13-Dec-13 14:03:04

I sign up for all the marketing emails from companies I regularly buy from, then when they send me a discount I stock up on things we need and will get through - saves lots of money in the long run!

Letitsnow9 Fri 13-Dec-13 22:53:09

Check all bills and statements frequently so you know exactly how much money you have and how much you have to spend/cover bills

Theimpossiblegirl Fri 13-Dec-13 22:57:59

I'm not very good at this to be honest, but am reading the thread with interest in preparation for my new year new start financial tidy up. So far I am planning on checking all statements more thoroughly, writing down what I spend, comparing energy, tv, phone and broadband suppliers and making any changes necessary.

I have capped mine and DDs phones so we can't go over our allowance, that was a weight off my mind.

ataraxia Sun 15-Dec-13 10:43:34

Buy reduced food that can be frozen
Unplug/turn off as much as possible
Cook breakfast and lunch at work
Shop around, including looking for online cashback

ThePortlyPinUp Sun 15-Dec-13 10:46:03

Lots of people who are on benefits don't realise that you can have your utility bills deducted from your benefits before you receive them, we do this and it guarantees that it's always paid and you don't miss what you haven't had.

DeathByLaundry Sun 15-Dec-13 12:55:35

We review everything annually and often save money that way.

I never run laundry or drying overnight, it's a fire risk, but I do dry as much as possible on aiders rather than tumble dry.

I used free minutes on my mobile rather than the landline.

I keep my freezer filled with bread and milk to make it more efficient and to avoid trips to the shop between grocery deliveries.

addictedtosugar Sun 15-Dec-13 16:00:18

Know what needs to go out of your bank account each month - and ideally shift all bills to be paid a couple of days after pay day (assuming monthly bills and monthly pay!).
Then whats left is what you have to spend before next pay day.
Don't have something big due to come out just before pay day.

bellsringingoutforMadHairDay Sun 15-Dec-13 16:49:07

oops ds decided to put the hamster on the keyboard and he managed to post grin

---not only that but the coverage is now crap and I can't get reception in loads of places I used to so it's no use to me anymore.

bellsringingoutforMadHairDay Sun 15-Dec-13 16:51:07

NOw the whole thing has disappeared fconfused

was basically saying we shop online for groceries which saves a lot of money. We meal plan and keep an eye on outgoings. With phone contracts I will be leaving orange for giffgaff when contract up soon as they put my monthly price up and reception has got much worse since ee took over.

BiscuitsAreMyDownfall Sun 15-Dec-13 20:42:06

We have all our bills written on the calendar and highlighted in a different colour depending which account its coming out of so we can see at a glance which bills are to be paid that week.

If we have a bit more disposable cash one week I will use it to stock up on things that are on offer that week in the supermarket so if there is a tight week then at least the weekly shop will (hopefully) be lower.

HappySunflower Mon 16-Dec-13 00:08:07

I review bills a few times a year. I have reflective panels behind my radiators and use draught excluders to keep the heat in.

I run appliances at the most economical time of day and took care to buy B rated items.

CrewElla Mon 16-Dec-13 06:02:23

I think the most obvious answer is to budget, know how much is coming in and how much is going out and adjust from there. It's easy to forget about a paper or e-mail based bill so set-up direct debits where you can and you'll be less likely to spend money you don't really have.

MollyBerry Mon 16-Dec-13 11:25:04

I'm pretty bad at budgeting but I do keep my heating off as much as possible so that I don't have to think abotu budgeting as much!

mjmooseface Mon 16-Dec-13 12:13:03

Every month I make a check list of all the bills to come out, what date they need to be paid and what amount it is. Every time husband gets paid, we put some of his wages into a savings account for the month's bills. We've made sure we are at least a month ahead with regards to savings for bills so if something were to happen, we're covered for at least a month. I make a note on this checklist of when we have that bill's money in the savings account and then I tick when it's been paid. We always make sure we have the money for bills before we share the money between us on any treats or anything else.

We don't have a mortgage or a car so don't have debts like that and we never use any loans. Husband has an overdraft with his bank that he'll be paying off this month so that's one less bill a month.

We only have appliances switched on at the plug when we are using them and switch lights off when no one's in the room. If a night is quite warm compared to the norm for winter, we'll shorten the time the heating is on or switch it off. We have to use the pay as you go for our energy so we always know when it needs to be topped up and we don't run into the emergency energy. I wait until I have a full load of washing before I use the washing machine and I am the dish washer! ;) Husband uses phone apps like KiK messenger and his xbox to talk to friends overseas. We also use skype for business calls overseas.

When food shopping, we look out for deals and stock up and just buy what we need for the week. I always look everywhere when buying something already pricey to make sure I get the cheapest/best deal. And I am thorough recycler and re-user of just about everything!!

DinoSnores Mon 16-Dec-13 13:49:58

We use Skype/Facetime a lot even for UK calls.

I do a lot of meal planning and then do online grocery shopping.

We've only got one car now as we can cycle or walk. Petrol is so expensive now, so we try to limit our car use as much as possible.

We get all our bills online and so can keep a good track of them. We've got an energy monitor so can see (it is quite fascinating in a geeky sort of way) how much energy we are using at any one time and the difference it makes to turn a few things off.

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