Finding the Best Value Broadband Package

Finding the Best Value Broadband Package

Getting a great value broadband package is one of the easiest ways you can save money on household bills, but what should you look for when comparing offers to ensure you have the best deal at the right price? Here we’ll show you a few ways you can save money on a broadband contract.

Contract lengths and cancellation fees

Before we delve into money-saving tips it’s important to note the potential expense involved in cancelling a broadband contract.

If you’re not yet out of the minimum contract term (or at least very close to the end of it) then cancelling can be costly. It is generally better to stick with the provider until the contract ends to avoid these fees.

To avoid this in the future always choose a broadband contract length that fits your living arrangements. If you have no immediate plans that may impact the broadband service, you’ll get the best value from a contract length of 12-24 months. But if you know you may have to cancel in less than a year it is worth looking at short term and rolling monthly deals. Students can also find student broadband deals with nine-month contracts.

Switch early, switch often

The best deals are often reserved for new customers, so a simple way of ensuring you’ve always got a good value broadband package is to switch to the latest deal as soon as your contract expires.

Check the small print though: some providers exclude previous customers from these offers.

But you don’t always need to go through with the switch to get a better deal. Calling your current ISP and telling them you want to leave may result in them offering you a new package. Just remember that this will mean signing up for another contract, so you are going to be locked in with them again for up to 24 months.

Choosing the right speed

Not everyone needs ultrafast fibre optic broadband. If your internet usage is mainly web browsing, email and social media then a cheap ADSL service is more than sufficient (and still perfectly capable of handling video streaming, online gaming, downloads and other demanding tasks).

On the other hand, there’s no sense in focusing on price alone and getting a service that’s not up to scratch. If the connection is serving multiple users in a family or shared home, or you’re someone who wants to download quickly and stream high def video, then it’s worth signing up for a faster fibre optic service. For more information, use Broadband Genie’s guide to fibre optic broadband.

On a related note, we would generally recommend avoiding packages with a monthly data usage limit. These can be suitable for one person with very simple requirements but it’s extremely easy nowadays to burn through a data cap in no time at all and find your speed restricted for the rest of the month or, even worse, paying out more due to the extra fees. Unlimited broadband is the best option for most of us.

Special offers and free gifts

The broadband market is competitive so there’s always a selection of special offers. Sometimes these are just a nice bonus, or they can add up to a significant cost saving.

Special offers can include:

  • Discounted monthly pricing
    It’s common for providers to offer a cheaper monthly rate for a set period, and the best deals will cut the price for the entire term of the contract. These can be really good value, but make sure it remains affordable after the discount ends.
  • Free setup
    Standard setup costs vary from around £10 up to £60, depending on the type of service and package, so a free setup offer is not necessarily going to save you a huge amount in the grand scheme of things. It’s also important to note that free setup will not apply if you require a new phone line installation.
  • Shopping vouchers
    Shopping vouchers are a popular free gift. Sometimes these will be for specific stores (M&S and Amazon are popular) or they may be valid at an array of high street outlets. Typically, you can find ISPs offering £25-£100 worth, and when this is taken off the total annual cost of the broadband it can be a big money saver.
  • Pre-paid credit cards
    Even better than shopping vouchers are credit cards pre-loaded with a cash limit that can be spent just about anywhere. The only catch may be that you don’t always receive an actual physical card, which limits their use to online stores.
  • Cashback
    Cashback deals come in the form of either a cheque or a bill credit. It’s a welcome saving, but the amounts tend to be smaller than voucher or credit card offers so these are not usually as enticing. Do read the small print so you know when and how the money should be reimbursed, and to see whether it requires you to fill out an application form.

 

Consumer tips for home cavity wall insulation

Consumer tips for home cavity wall insulation

Home insulation can dramatically reduce the cost of heating in the home by preventing warm air from escaping. It is a quick, cost-effective method of reducing energy bills by up to 40% every year. Types of home insulation include loft insulation and external wall insulation, but the type that we are going to take a closer look at today is cavity wall insulation. This has the potential to increase your home’s energy performance certificate rating and the value of your property. So, let’s begin by looking at what you first need to ask yourself…

Is cavity wall insulation right for your home?

Properties with solid walls are unable to have cavity wall insulation; properties built before the 1920’s tend to have solid walls. This means there are no cavity walls (space between the outer and inner brick) for the insulation to be inserted between. However, properties built after 2005 may already have cavity wall insulation included as part of their original construction, and you may just be none the wiser. Also, damp issues will need to be corrected and access to exterior walls ensured before the process can begin.

Understanding the installation process

The majority of homes have a space between the inner and outer brick, which is left empty to prevent damp issues. It is now possible to make use of this space by adding cavity wall insulation, the process being relatively simple and taking a professional installer around 2-3 hours. To begin with, a series of small holes will be drilled into the outer wall or your property and then the insulation will be inserted. The insulation material used will either be foam, beads or wool, but the aim remains the same; to stop heat from escaping and cooler air from passing through. Continue reading

Read the fine print when getting cell phone contracts

Read the fine print when getting cell phone contracts

The fine print is a part of life now. It is the reason why we must spend hours combing through every contract in which we participate, and why people with bad eyesight must never read print advertisements. It is legal up to a certain extent to have these on contracts, but this extent is loosely-defined enough that the various lawyers who write up these binding documents can put them around without a problem.

Cell phone contracts are not immune to fine print, and indeed they can dupe consumers into paying far more than they have to, or get them into agreements that they did not fully understand. As a rule, always read everything in a contract, but especially with something that causes you to regularly pay money over a certain period of time, like what postpaid plans require you to.

Without reading fine print, it becomes very easy to miss the fact that, for example, the trial period of a particular plan is 14 days instead of 30 days, with the latter being relatively standard and easy to assume. Continue reading

Deposit Protection Schemes and Alternative Dispute Resolution

After the launch of legislation in 2007, landlords have become used to protecting their tenants’ deposits as a matter of course. Landlords have the choice of three main schemes based on custodial and insurance models. The former requires the landlord to physically pay the deposit sum into a third party bank account; the latter requires insurance to be obtained for the amount of the deposit.

Whichever option is taken, the deposit protection scheme has brought added peace of mind to tenants that their deposit is in safe hands throughout the tenancy. For landlords, it has gone some way to reducing the negative stereotype, and ultimately made the process far clearer for all involved. Continue reading

Write a Will While You Can!

The certainty of death is the truest fact of life and yet one that we tend to live trying to ignore. One of the ways we push the inevitability of death to one side is by avoiding any talk of the subject. This is not a modern phenomenon but more and more of us are avoiding writing our wills or death testimonies now because of it. While it may seem premature, there is no better time to write a will than while you’re fit and healthy. Here is all you need to know.

What to Include

Your will must be set out to entail who you want to benefit from your will, who should take up guardian responsibility of any of your children under 18, who is going to carry out your death wishes, who is going to sort out your estate and what happens if the people included in your will die before you. Continue reading

How to live off-grid

The current financial state of the country has meant that it’s getting increasingly more difficult to just get by. That’s why more and more people appear to be turning to living off-grid and getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. In this article we’ll look into what it means to live off-grid, the best ways to get started and how it could save you money.

What It Means To Live Off-Grid

Wikipedia defines off-grid living as “not being connected to a grid, mainly used in terms of not being connected to the main or national transmission grid in electricity”. In its most basic form it simply means you’ll be living by your own means and making your own energy / heating. Continue reading

How To Improve Your Credit Rating

Do you feel as though your credit rating could do with a boost? You’re not alone! Credit reference agencies are showing record numbers of people ordering online credit reports in an effort to improve their scores. In this article we’ll aim to show you the top 3 ways to improve your credit rating, starting today.

1. Make Sure You’re On The Electoral Register

Huge amounts of credit applications will no doubt be rejected in the next 12 months because the applicants aren’t registered to vote. Whilst the connection between borrowing money and voting in national elections may not seem obvious at first when you think about trust and responsible behaviour it starts to become clear. It’s highly unlikely that fraudsters will register their personal details and address with the government before attempting to swindle credit agencies. So your first step is the most important, exercise your right to vote and get on that register! Continue reading

Energy Suppliers Urge Home Owners to Get Free Insulation.

Department of Energy and Climate ChangeThe main 6 British energy companies are preparing to make a final push in an attempt to meet their energy efficiency targets. They are doing this by urging people who own their homes to get free loft and cavity wall insulation worth £350 before the government backed scheme ends at the end of 2012.

The energy companies have to meet their carbon emissions reduction targets (Cert) which have been set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in a bid to make UK homes more energy efficient.

The companies have to of provided a target number of installations of the insulation by the end of the year. Most of the companies are believed to have reached their targets or be close to doing so. Continue reading