Households are facing some of the most crippling bills in years, including mounting mortgage payments, increasing food prices and record petrol costs.
But there are steps that you can take to reduce your outgoings and enjoy some savings, without making too much of a dramatic cut back in your daily lifestyle.
Perhaps one of the most straightforward and overlooked savings that you can make is to switch your gas and electricity provider.
Anyone who has never switched before and is sitting on an uncompetitive standard plan has the most to gain and should consider switching immediately. However, even those who have switched supplier several times before can still make savings.
Begin by visiting a comparison website which will help you work out how much you can save by switching providers. With the help of their cost calculators, type in your postcode, how much your gas and electricity bills currently cost and you will be provided with a list of cheaper alternatives.
Choose which supplier you would like to move to and all you need to do is simply sign a form from the new supplier which will then sort out everything on your behalf.
On the day that you actual switch your provider, it is advisable to take your own meter reading just in case you do not agree with the final bill provided by your previous supplier.
However, customers should make sure that all bills with their old supplier are fully paid up or they could be prevented from switching.
The rules on switching state that any money a customer has not paid to a supplier becomes a debt after 31 days. Suppliers are then allowed to stop their customers changing to another company until that debt is repaid.
Of course, there is also the danger that the supplier will cut the supply of the energy to the property if this debt is not paid or an arrangement is not put in place to pay it off.
Anyone who prefers not to use the internet can always switch supplier over the telephone. However, online plans tend to be cheaper than standard tariffs because providers limit their costs by keeping the paperwork down.
Customers can also save money by changing how they pay from quarterly to monthly direct debits. And it is worth considering dual-fuel price plans which typically include discounts or reduced prices. Such plans can also be more convenient because you only have to contact one company if you have any queries.
In addition to switching your energy provider, you can also make savings by using the energy you already have more efficiently. For example, you can trim your energy bills by not leaving your electrical devices on standby mode.
Energy saving devices – such as Bye Bye Standby, a kit that includes three smart sockets that can control up to four electrical devices each – help by remotely cutting power to such appliances such as televisions and computers.
By Myra Butterworth