My friends at uSwitch recently got in touch with me and told me something I couldn't believe. Around 60% of the UK are on expensive 'Standard Variable Tariffs' from their energy suppliers. If you're unsure what a standard variable tariff is, or don't know what tariff you're on, it's more than likely you are on one of these. By sticking on these, households could collectively be giving up £3.5 billion in potential savings. That's insane!
uSwitch have asked maths wizard, and uSwitch Ambassador Rachel Riley to crunch the numbers, and it's revealed that the average household could save £290 a year on their energy bills. Some families could save up to £491 by switching energy providers. In these times where we're all feeling the pinch, it would be crazy not to spend 10 minutes on uSwitch seeing how much we could save. To really get this message through, uSwitch are running a competition. Each week, two lucky people will win £290 in vouchers for a meal out, holiday, Virgin Media experience or many other exciting options. One winner will be drawn at random and one prize will go to the person who refers the most people to visit the web page by sharing their unique URL!
Quite simply, there are more important things in life than bills, don't spend any more money on them than you need to! In just 10 minutes with a copy of a recent bill you can get yourself a better deal. It's really straight forward, they do all the hard work for you! Once you've signed up for a new tariff you can also get uSwitch to remind you when your contract is up, and you'll be able to shop around again for a new deal.
Rachel actually visited Winkleigh in Devon which has one of the lowest switching rates in the UK. Just 6.5% of households there have switched in the last three years! There's a video of it below -
With all this mention of essentially earning yourself around £290 in ten minutes (that's probably the kind of cash footballers earn!) I've pondered what I might spend £290 on. I've thought sensible, and fun too.
If I was going to be REALLY boring, I'd probably spend it on a thorough service of my car. It's running absolutely fine, and there aren't any issues. Generally though with cars if you look after them, they'll look after you. The last full service it had was just under a year ago and was £250 (give or take a few pence). So I could probably pay for another service and get some fancy shampoo and cleaning products for it too. It's no good having a nicely running ride if it's like a shed on wheels!
If I were being LESS sensible I could spend £290 on a Premium Merlin Pass (£229) and walk into any Merlin attraction like I own the place for a whole year. Annual Passes are great because you save money on food, drink and gift purchases too. I'd get discounts on overnight stays and discounted entry for friends and family. Plus going Premium gives me free parking at all the attractions too! If I did buy one of these, the leftover money would just about fill my car with petrol for the long drive to Alton Towers.
It would probably be a bit mean just spending all that money on a pass for JUST me. I suppose I could get an Annual Pass for just ONE attraction (Around £49-55 depending on which one!), but I'd be able to get a pass for Mrs H and the kids too. That's probably the fairest option. Plus there would be some money left over for all the ice cream and merchandise!
Something I've always fancied is an afternoon tea at The Ritz. If you're going to 'all in' which £290 would allow you to do, you can have a 'Celebration Afternoon Tea'. This includes the full afternoon tea, a Celebration Cake and a glass of Reserve Ritz Champagne - it's £87 per person. So that could pay for me and Mrs H to go, and perhaps a fancy UberLux car to take us there from Liverpool Street Station. I don't imagine I'd get much change out of £290. However what a wonderful, decadent treat that would be.
Heck £290 would get you an incredible meal, and several beverages at somewhere like Galvin at Windows. That's where Fred from First Dates actually works as a maître d'. I've often looked at their website, picked what I wanted for dinner, and what I'd like to drink. Then done a massive sigh, and closed the browser windows! It would be nice to have a bit of extra cash and live a little, or indeed a lot!
Sensible Kip is never far away though. £290 is a lot of money. If I were feeling a little philanthropic, I could make a nice donation to a charity. I'm a sucker for good cause, or someone pushing themselves to do something for charity.
There is the option of spending it on something a little dull, and boring, but ultimately very useful. You see I would really like a pair of wireless lavalier microphones for my vlogging. I've lusted over a particular setup for AGES, and it would really boost the sound quality of my vlogs. I've occasionally sat editing a video, wishing the sound was a little better, or clearer. It's so boring though, and I feel like a massive geek for suggesting it. However I would LOVE something like that. It would genuinely make me smile.
I suppose that's what having a bit of extra cash can help you do. You get the things you really want, and not worrying about what you need!
This post has been written in partnership with uSwitch.com.