Are you missing out on free money?

There’s no such thing as free money, right? Well actually there is and it turns out that many of us are completely missing out on it. So what do I mean when I say free money?

It has been highlighted today by the Financial Conduct Authority or (FCA) that many savers are missing out on the best returns on their savings all because they are failing to switch to savings accounts that are offering higher rates of interest. To many it may seem that the small percentage difference being offered on these accounts means that it just isn’t worth the hassle, but is that really a good attitude to have? Let’s think about a few different things that we could all easily switch that could add up to big savings over the long term. If you think about it, it’s the closest thing to free money that any of us are ever likely to see.


So we’ve just mentioned savings but it should really be on our list too. Interest rates may be extremely low at the minute and you could be forgiven for feeling a little apathetic about the difference in return you might see between 0.5% and 1.5% of annual interest. Remember though, however little the extra return might be it is still money that you are missing out on if you fail to switch to an account with a better rate. Even if the extra interest only pays for a family trip out once during the year then it’s still better than nothing, right? Of course there may be other ways to more effectively invest your cash and grow your money but for those who are just looking to save their cash in a standard ISA it is worth making sure that you are getting the best returns available.

Switching Utility Suppliers

Switching energy suppliers is something that seems to come up again and again on personal finance sites but that is only because it is such an easy way to save a decent amount of cash each year, often up into the £100’s. Perhaps you switched supplier last year and have now reverted back to a less favourable tariff. If this is the case then be sure to look at switching again. We’re all busy people but by not switching suppliers we are in effect refusing the opportunity to have some free money handed back to us each and every year.


Mortgages are another area where taking the time to look at what rates other mortgage providers are offering could prove to be worthwhile. If you don’t have the time to look at the websites of each and every bank then a quick look on price comparison sites could give you a good idea of what’s available right now. Not so great with the maths? In this case a quick chat with a mortgage broker could make the process even simpler as they will often quickly be able to determine whether there is a better deal available for you, one that again might save you £100’s or perhaps even £1000’s of pounds in interest each year. Of course, it will be handy to find out your credit score first so you’ll have a better idea of what options might realistically be available in this area.

Mobile Phone Contracts

Are you now out of contract on your mobile phone but are still paying the monthly bill? Perhaps your mobile phone provider has even increased your tariff but you just haven’t had the time to think about switching providers or trying to negotiate a lower tariff. Again, not taking time to try and save money on your mobile phone bill or even perhaps finding a better deal on your mobile phone insurance is kind of like throwing away free money for the foreseeable future. Perhaps your circumstances have now changed and you feel you could save money by switching to a pay-as-you-go or sim only deal. If someone handed you a £50 note there is not a chance that you would refuse it, throw it on the floor or view it as of little value, is there? So let’s not do just that by failing to find the best and cheapest mobile phone deal for our needs.

TV, Phone and Broadband

I won’t go into too much detail with this one as the principle is pretty much the same as we’ve already discussed. Not picking up the phone or opening up your laptop or iPad at the end of your contract period to try and find or negotiate a better deal is almost the same as throwing your money away. It really doesn’t take much time to find the best deal and it could again run into a three figure saving over the course of a year.

Have you switched any of these services recently? How much did you save or gain?

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12 Responses to Are you missing out on free money?

  1. Ricky Willis says:

    Great article! I regularly switch suppliers to get a better deal. Whether it’s a couple of quid or a larger amount, it’s still a saving.

    As the consumer we are in control of our decisions and with so much choice and competition out there from different service providers, we should always push for a better deal.
    Ricky Willis recently posted..Budget Recipe: Chicken FajitasMy Profile

  2. weenie says:

    ‘Free money’ is also missed out on if someone doesn’t join their company pension scheme if there is one available and the company matches (or matches up to a certain percent) any payments their employee makes. I don’t understand why anyone would pass up this chance, yet many do.

    In line with hunting out the best deals for utility bills, anyone living in a house where the number of bedrooms is equal to or the same as the occupants should consider getting a water meter fitted (for free). I did this and cut my bill by over 50%. Water meters charge for the amount of water you use, whereas on a standard bill, you will pay a fixed amount based on the size of your property, regardless of the water you use. For a working couple, who obviously don’t use any water at home during the day (except in the mornings), this surely makes a lot of sense.

    Meters are also good because they make you think about not wasting water at home, eg leaving taps running needlessly etc.

    If the meter doesn’t work out, I believe you can get it removed (again for free) so there’s no harm/risk in seeing how much money you can save.
    weenie recently posted..Etiquette about Financial PlanningMy Profile

    • Adam Buller says:

      Great additions Weenie. I’ve heard conflicting stories over the years about how easy it is to get a water meter removed so I’ll do a little more research on that and maybe even post about it as I guess it affects a lot of people.

  3. My wife hasn’t had a contract on her cell for years but pays the lowest price she can with our provider. I’m pretty sure she would have to go pay as you go to get the lowest of the low price but that’s not something she’s interested in here as it’s different from the UK. She’s thinking about getting a contract now but hopefully not until her phone no longer is in use lol.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Achieving goals ahead of schedule: June 2014 Net Worth Update (+1.31%)My Profile

    • Adam Buller says:

      Yeah I always get a shock at how different – and more expensive – mobile phone contracts are in Canada Mr.CBB. I’m sure you’ll get the best deal available though :-)

  4. I just ended my cell phone contract with one company and didn’t renew it. For me, I can save more if I’m using a prepaid card. I don’t usually make a phone calls and there are lots of ongoing promos for call and text which are very cheap.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted..Don’t Short When it Comes to Secular InvestingMy Profile

    • Adam Buller says:

      I think a lot of people just have contracts these days because they’ve just gotten used to it over the years. When you’re young and using your phone ALL of the time then I found that a contract deal worked out much cheaper. I’m not so sure I need a contract now though so I’ll do the math next time mine comes up for renewal and make the call then. Sorry for the unintended pun! :-)

  5. About a year ago, our waste management company sent us a contract, promising not to raise our rates if we signed a contract to stay with them for two years. We signed it…..about a week later a new garbage company came knocking at our door with rates about 30% cheaper. Always shop around, never sign long contracts with service companies! I lost out on the free money on that one.
    brock recently posted..Ways My Wife Saves Us Money: Hotel Room With A View EditionMy Profile

    • Adam Buller says:

      I hate long contracts Brock and it does annoy me that most mobile phone service providers in the UK seem to only offer 24 month contracts these days. I suppose the phones have become a lot more expensive but 24 months is just too long in my eyes. Like you say, long contracts can ended up costing you a lot of cash if you miss out on another deal because of them.

  6. Ricky Willis says:

    Hi there, I just wanted to let you know I’ve made this post one of my top 5 from the last week. I really is a great article. Thanks for sharing

    – Ricky
    Ricky Willis recently posted..Getting Up Early and the Reason Behind ItMy Profile

  7. I know you are correct, but the difference between .5% and 1.5% in actual terms is so little money that I just can’t get motivated to move my money. I think the move might add up to $100 or $200 over a lifetime.
    Brad @ How to Save Money recently posted..Using Deals to Save MoneyMy Profile

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