Homes cost £11,300 a year to run

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New research from Sainsbury's home insurance estimates that the average cost of running a home is now £11,360.70. By far the biggest cost is the mortgage, which comes in at just over £6,000 - followed by work around the home which costs just over £1,100.

So what are the other major costs, and what can we do about them?

The costs

The good news is that the mortgage - the biggest cost - has actually become cheaper since 2010, and now costs £6,493.84 a year (down 4.5%). This means that overall, the cost of running a home is roughly the same as this time in 2010.

However, this is the only price drop. The cost of alternations and improvements to the home - partly thanks to a rise in VAT - has gone up 8.2% to £1,108.40 a year.

Next in line is council tax at £1,439, followed by electricity at £590 (up 16.8% in two years) and gas at £785 (an increase of 18% in just two years). Meanwhile water and sewerage comes in at £356 and buildings and contents insurance at £211.49.

Cutting costs

The researchers also found that we are looking to cut our costs. Worryingly insurance was one target, and apparently 1.47 million people have cancelled their buildings cover or plan to do so.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury's home insurance said: "The rising cost of living means that many people are looking to cut back on their home insurance. We spend thousands of pounds each year running our homes and have often invested even more money furnishing them. Yet, so many people have been putting this investment at risk by cutting back on their home insurance."

Shop around

This is clearly an extremely risky solution. By far the best first step for all of these costs is to shop around. Tyte continued: "Many people wrongly assume they won't be able to beat their renewal quote, but home insurance is a very competitive market and with discounts and rewards like ours, all homeowners should shop around to ensure that they have competitive premiums."

He is flogging the fact that Sainsbury's has a new deal. Sainsbury's shoppers with a Nectar card will receive a discount of up to 15% on their premiums. In addition, those customers taking out Sainsbury's Premier Cover Home Insurance will earn double Nectar points on their Sainsbury's shopping for two years – the equivalent of up to 2% off their bills.

But while he has a vested interest, he also has a very good point. At the moment utility bills are creeping downwards, with small shifts in pricing from all the major players, which could make switching very rewarding.

Insurance is also a prime candidate for switching. Providers routinely attract new customers with great deals, and then gradually hike prices for every year you renew. The aim, therefore, is to keep switching providers so that you are one of these new customers with a great deal every year.

Other measures

Switching isn't the only option. It may be worth checking you are in the right council tax banding, whether you could save from having a water meter installed, and whether you are on the best tariff for your utilities. Then there are energy efficiency measures which could make a striking difference to your monthly outgoings.

Because while the average home costs over £11,000 to run, the average homeowner could save more than 20% on their bills. And who can honestly say that they don't have time to save £2,200 a year?

Costs

Mortgage (capital & interest payments) £6,493.84
Alterations & improvements £1,108.40
Council tax £1,439
Electricity £590
Gas £785
Maintenance and repairs £377
Water and sewerage £339
Combined buildings and contents home insurance £11,360.70
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