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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,


CheeseTMouse Tue 24-Dec-13 23:33:22

Many thanks Mumsnet and to EE. What a nice surprise on Christmas eve!

MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Dec-13 14:11:33

This thread has now closed, thank you to everyone who has added their comments. Congratulations to CheeseTMouse who won the prize draw for an HTC One Mini handset. We'll be in touch soon! fsmile

beatricequimby Sat 21-Dec-13 22:59:40

Meal planning.

Changed supermarkets saving about ten pounds a week.

Negotiating on car break down cover and car insurance. Was really suprised at how much my existing providers were prepared to drop their prices to get me to stay with them.

I limit the use of the car.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 21-Dec-13 18:38:24

Don't buy Apple products. Plenty of other options out there which are cheaper, better and don't sting you with expensive extras because nothing else is compatible.

woodchuck Sat 21-Dec-13 18:29:46

I also have a spreadsheet but like to keep a written record of income and expenditure, bills due etc. I lkke to pay things by monthly dd if possible, as we get paid monthly. I also use a cash back credit card for spending on petrol and food shopping, so I can treat these as one monthly payment lik another bill. This helps me keep on top of my money.

WowOoo Sat 21-Dec-13 16:22:02

Bills both go out of the joint account that we both pay into. They are arranged to be paid after we've been paid.

I check things like insurance and shop around for renewal. I can't believe people still just renew without checking if they could save first.

For friends and family abroad we use FaceTime. It's a godsend. Skype tried to charge me, so I haven't used it since.

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Sat 21-Dec-13 14:54:46

I think the key to it is being totally aware of what is being spent and on what. It can be a bit tedious and time consuming but ultimately if you don't know what you're spending you cannot address any possible wastage/overspends etc.

A good way to budget for, say, groceries is to use cash rather than cards. That way you see the cash physically dwindling and it's quite an eye opener to be in the middle of the month having nearly spent the whole budget already.
Avoid top up shops wherever possible, freeze milk and bread to avoid running out. Once you're in the shop it's so easy to pick up this that and the other.
Use money off coupons/vouchers but ONLY if they are items you will need. Some items can work out free (for example there was a money off coupon in a previous edition of a supermarket magazine for 50p off tinned tomatoes...these tomatoes were reduced in store to 50p, therefore FREE! I still have a large stock of these smile.
Meal plan, stick to it and only buy what you need for the plan.
Check out the reduced counters, sometimes there can be great bargains to be had - find out what time your local supermarket makes their final reductions and have a look. Again though, only buy if it's something you need.
Batch cook, and freeze left over portions to save cooking later in the week/month. Don't waste leftovers. Curry, spag bol, chilli, stews, pies, rice, pasta, mashed potato all freeze brilliantly, and can be heated up in the microwave saving time and energy especially when you come home from work hungry and can't face the idea of cooking so just reach for the takeaway menu instead!
Open the oven door once you've finished cooking, it warms the kitchen up a treat.

Wear extra layers to keep warm instead of turning the heating up too high. Use blankets and throws on the sofa. Eliminate draughts as far as possible - line curtains, use door curtains, draught excluders and close internal doors.

Avoid using tumble driers, they drink electricity.

Transfer any credit card debts onto interest free cards if possible, there are some long term 0% balance transfer offers available at the moment. Do not be tempted to use these cards, in fact it's a good idea to cut them up once the balance has been transferred.

If you smoke, try and give up. The money saved can be phenomenal. And obviously your health will benefit too wink

Look at utility bills - can anything be saved by shopping around and transferring to another provider? Pay by DD if possible to get the discount offered. You don't always need to switch provider, they will often price match to keep your business.

Do not automatically renew car/life/house/whatever insurance. Use the comparison websites, check out the cash back websites to see if they are offering anything decent, put some time and effort into getting the best deal.

Walk wherever possible to avoid using the car on short journeys. Not always practical for everybody I realise, but if it's possible then it is worth it.

Quite often once these measures have been put in place, such as budgeting, meal planning etc then they almost become a way of life and don't feel so laborious.

RescueCack Sat 21-Dec-13 07:50:58

We use a software called YNAB ( You Need A Budget) and allocate all money for the month as soon as it comes in. DHs income can vary so it's important we do this. No two months are the same. That way on a good month we can out some away. The ultimate goal is to live entirely on the previous months income and be one month ahead, but it's a long way off.

We use a cash back bank account, and DD all bills so we never get behind on paying.

Cook everything from scratch and freeze leftovers

Live in a terraced house with great insulation front and back. We never have to put our heating on wink

Featherbag Sat 21-Dec-13 05:10:58

Don't know if this has been mentioned already but I read our gas and electric meters every month - usually on pay day so I don't forget! We were landed with a surprise massive bill last spring after having estimated bills for about 9 months, this way I always know how much we're using and can budget accordingly.

Nerfmother Fri 20-Dec-13 23:35:04

One supermarket loyalty card and all food shopping, credit card and other stuff threw it. Vouchers for christmas.
Excel spreadsheet, put balance in at start of month, auto deduct bills, get left over balance and allocate.

FestiveChopinLizt Fri 20-Dec-13 22:02:16

We keep the heating off or low, wear plenty cosy clothes, have blankets on the sofas. Buy led bulbs and AA aplliances. Otherwise we have different accounts for different budgets, eg supermarket/food is separate so that I can judge easily whether different money saving tactics work.

Also love moneysavingexpert.
Unsubscribe advert emails, avoid adverts generally, don't buy magazines and read minimalist blogs instead.

shoom Fri 20-Dec-13 21:45:05

Don't leave appliances on standby.
Shop around, think about whether you really need something before buying.
Keep a stash of gifts at home and top it up when you see bargains.
Go through your wardrobe at the start of a new season and remind yourself what you own, rather than buying it again because you've forgotten about it.

joanofarchitrave Fri 20-Dec-13 21:40:46

I try not to switch the oven on unless I can fill it - so, cooking at least 2 or 3 meals at a time. I also use the small oven more than I used to - according to my electricity monitor, it costs 15p an hour, as opposed to 25p an hour for the large oven.

SuzySheepSmellsNice Fri 20-Dec-13 21:26:03

Plus I rarely pay full price for clothes, shoes etc

SuzySheepSmellsNice Fri 20-Dec-13 21:24:52

Hot water bottle... smile

SaltySeaBird Fri 20-Dec-13 19:05:29

We manage our budget carefully.

I'm concious never to call mobiles if I can help it from our landlines and if I need to call DH I use my mobile as we are each others "magic numbers".

We only get takeaways and food treats when we have enough spare change saved up rather than going out and buying them consciously.

skyeskyeskye Fri 20-Dec-13 18:42:05

I pick up items for Christmas, school draw prizes etc when I see them cheap during the year so by the time Christmas is here I already have a lot of presents. Then I start in October when Boots starts its 3 for 2, so that the cost is spread over a few months.

I pay all bills by monthly direct debit, to spread the cost and to obtain any discounts for paying that way. Our local council offer the option to pay Council Tax over 12 months instead of 10, so that helps too.

Then I buy my DD's clothes when Sainsburys have a TU 25% off promotion, or in the sales.

I switch all electrical appliances off at the wall and only switch the oven, dishwasher, microwave etc on when it is actually required.

OhYouMerryLittleKitten Fri 20-Dec-13 17:49:01

We keep a spreadsheet of our energy use and its easy to spot if things are creeping up. Other than that its just asking the question always 'do we really need that or do we have something that will do the job?' and we have a piggybank for takeaways and if we find any stray pound coins they go in there.

frogger74 Fri 20-Dec-13 13:58:40

I have free spread sheet programs on my computer, A list of shops and there sale days, supermarket shopping 7pm for the reduced items,Luckily i live in walking distance to a large supermarket, So i can pop in daily for the offers and the reduced items, And its helpful when you get to know the staff. And I check out websites like "hotukdeals" and "MSE" For freebies and coupons and misspriced stuff. And for my television package I come out with the I WANT TO CANCEL ITS TO EXPENSIVE TRICK. LOL

MrsRedWhite214 Thu 19-Dec-13 10:13:07

Cashback sites for all big purchases really helps. We put aside the money needed for bills as soon as we get paid and keep a track of what's left for food shopping. I try to buy second hand clothes for my baby as he grows out of them so quickly. We document everything we spend so we always know exactly how much is left each month.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 19:36:20

I''m getting quite fed up with these threads which pretend to ask a genuine research question in order to mask their true objective- namely, to advertise a product or service

I think it's obvious what their real objective is, they're a for profit business so of course they'll use anything do advertise. Doesn't matter either way does it?

asuwere Wed 18-Dec-13 16:43:29

I keep a spreadsheet with all bills. I also make sure I transfer a set amount each month to a different account which covers annual bills (such as tv licence, car tax etc) - spreads the costs equally over the year.

I also go through my full bank statement each month and check everything is right and transfer any extra to a savings account. I regularly compare my energy supplier prices and switch whenever I can benefit.

Onefewernow Wed 18-Dec-13 14:58:05

I'm getting quite fed up with these threads which pretend to ask a genuine research question in order to mask their true objective- namely, to advertise a product or service.

It couldn't be more obvious that this thread is aimed at selling the "up to four people" contract.

LonelyShepherd Wed 18-Dec-13 09:41:00

We have a spreadsheet which records all direct debits and standing orders, and try to complete this every week (at least twice a month). All direct debits go out on the same day, just after payday, so that all the bills are paid before the rest (haha, if there is any!) gets spent. We're pretty good about turning elec items off to save a bit there, and always use Skype rather than mobiles.

MrsClauswearsspanx Wed 18-Dec-13 08:17:51

Hello EE! Here are my family budget top tips:

*Easy Savings*: I'm not talking about socking money away or opening an ISA and faithfully putting a percentage in every month. I'm talking about signing up to every top cash back website and reward card going, spend as normal but use these religiously, and forget about what you might be accumulating on them. Then, in 6 months or a year, you'll realise you've easily got a couple hundred to buy free groceries, presents, or take care of a few bills.

*Ebay Bundles*: my kids don't get new clothes, except where family nembers might buy them something for birthdays or Christmases. Instead I shop around for massive clothes bundles from pet/smoke free homes. I just think it's silly and wasteful to buy loads of new things that they grow out of in a year. Bundles I look for are always top quality names (Next, Boden, Gap, etc.) and usually hardly worn. I've had many compliments on my kids' clothes and no one is any the wiser that they've come second hand. Sometimes I've bought something like 5 outfits for as little as £1!

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