The things you forget about that are costing you money

The things you forget about that are costing you money

The worst thing you can do when signing up to any form of long-term financial commitment, whether it's a mobile phone contract or a mortgage, is to stick the documents at the back of the drawer and forget about them. In fact it can end up costing you far more.

Mobile phones

Research from Which? found that we waste £355 million a year on phone handsets that we've already paid for.

Some networks combine the cost of the tariff and the handset over the minimum term, so contract holders won't know how the cost of the contract and phone are split.

O2, Virgin Media, Tesco Mobile and Utility Warehouse have tariffs where the different costs are displayed, while Vodafone, EE and Three still have a bundled price.

Take a look at how two tariffs compare for an iPhone 6 16GB on O2 and Vodafone.
iPhone 6 16GB
24 month contract
Unlimited calls and text
5GB data
iPhone 6 16GB
24 month contract
Unlimited calls and text
4GB data
Handset: £25 a month
Airtime: £24 a month
Total: £49
£48.50 a month

So at the end of the 24 months, the handset is fully paid off with O2. As a result you won't pay another penny towards the handset, so your monthly bill will drop to £24. However, with providers like Vodafone, the size of your bill won't change.

Find the right mobile contract for you with Recombu

Energy tariffs

A smart way to keep your energy bills low is to sign up for a cheap fixed energy tariff. However, when the fixed period comes to an end, you'll be moved onto the standard tariff, which will almost certainly cost you more.

Make sure you don't get caught out by reviewing your energy tariffs regularly, and keeping an eye on those bills.

For more, read Energy tariffs ending in April: switch now.

Get a better deal on your gas and electricity

Savings accounts

There are plenty of savings accounts which offer a bonus to your rate for 12 months or so. After that, the rate on offer will drop significantly. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that - we'd rather get a good rate for 12 months than not at all - but it does mean you need to make a note of exactly when the bonus will end so you can move your money to a new home.

Compare savings accounts

Current accounts

It's not just savings accounts that only offer a top rate for a certain period of time; some current accounts do it too.

For example, the Nationwide FlexDirect Account pays a market-leading 5% on balances up to £2,500, but that's only for the first 12 months. After that it drops down to just 1%. So you'll need to move your money after a year to keep getting a good return.

Switch to a better current account

Auto-renewal insurance

The biggest insurance trap is auto-renewal. It's a sneaky way for insurers to make a few extra quid out of you. Of course you're covered for another year, but at a significantly inflated price.

If you are on an auto-renewal policy, make shop around for a new deal a good month before your renewal date to give you time to find a better deal. It could save you hundreds of pounds.

Compare car insurance deals


Many broadband deals charge a much smaller monthly rate for the first few months. In fact, some even go so far as to claim the broadband is 'free'. Again, make a note of when that promotional period comes to an end so you don't get a nasty shock when suddenly the size of your bill increases.

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When your initial fixed or tracker mortgage rate comes to an end, you'll move onto your lender's Standard Variable rate (SVR). These are almost always far more expensive than the deal you have just left. They can also be further increased at any time, irrespective of what's happening with Bank Base Rate.

Again, don't just sit and let this happen. Shop around for a new deal. You can see which deals you qualify for in our mortgage centre.

Gym memberships

According to Bespoke Offers, people in the UK waste an average of £65.60 a month on gym memberships that they never use. That works out as a whopping £787 a year

Cancelling a gym contract can be pretty tricky. You'll generally be tied to a minimum term contract and there are often insane cancellation fees to take into consideration. Make sure the read the small print first, and pay particular attention to the rights to cancel agreement.

Gym memberships are another area where you can fall foul of auto-renewal, so make a note of your renewal date and get it cancelled well in advance.

If you want the option of going to the gym, but don't want to risk signing up to a lengthy contract that you won't make the most of, it might be worth trying a service like PayAsUGym, which allow you to buy daily passes for gyms.


Many of us shell out on subscriptions for services we don't really use, whether it's digital TV, streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, magazines or even dating sites.

It may be that you are tempted in with a free trial period, but don't remember to cancel once that initial free trial has finished.

Old addresses

Millions of us are registered at more than one address, and as a result are missing out on all sorts of important post, incurring fines and missing out on rebates and gifts. We are also increasing the risk of identity theft.

Find out more in The cost of being registered at multiple addresses.

Read more on AOL Money

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The things you forget about that are costing you money

This website brings travellers together with people offering a huge variety of places to stay in 190 countries. The spaces range from an air bed in someone's lounge, to a luxury holiday home, so you can search for something to suit your needs and price range.

Before you travel, you need to sign up, search the site for accommodation, contact the host, and if they approve you can book their space. It means, for example, you can book a two bedroom flat in London for £80 a night - which is cheaper per person than a hostel - and much more pleasant.

This service connects people looking for a lift with drivers offering them. In the UK it is only operating in London at the moment - but it is expanding.

The service works through a smartphone app. When you're out and about you can use the app to find a driver in your area, hail them at the push of a button, and track their progress in reaching you.

The rates start at £3 plus 32p per minute for travel under 11mph and £1.75 per mile if you're driving faster. The flat fares include Heathrow to West London for £30 - which is significantly cheaper than a traditional taxi. The service was seen as such a dangerous competitor to London's black cabs that they staged a protest in June.

This is a free shopping app, which lets you scan barcodes when you're shopping, and the app will do a price comparison for the same products in local shops and on websites. You can even buy it online through the app.

It will also let you scan products you have at home and find the cheapest local (or online) stockist.

This started life as a flight search website, and has expanded to include car hire and hotels too. It draws together the advertised flight prices from over 1,000 airlines and travel agents and displays them in one place to save you the legwork.

It isn't perfect, because it relies on the information provided by the agents, so if the agent is tweaking the headline rate and then reverts to a higher price when you enquire, you'll waste a bit of time with the agents. It's therefore worth checking reviews on the cheapest agents that come up before you go any further. The prices drawn direct from the airlines, meanwhile, tend to be accurate.

This is a clever site which is designed to help you get a cheap deal on It has a few features, which you can use together to make sure you always get a good deal from the site.

The first is the price history charts, which show how the price has changed over time, and how the current price compares. If the price is comparatively low you can just buy at that price. Alternatively, if it has risen recently, you can set a price alert, where you input a price you would be happy to pay, and you will receive an alert when the price drops to this level.

If you use a lot of data on your smartphone, onavo extend will help you dramatically cut the data you get through.

It is a compression app, which works in the background on services like sending and receiving emails, checking maps and browsing the web, and ensures it all uses less data (although it doesn't work on things like Skype or streaming video). It works by ensuring that before any data is sent to your device, it goes through the company's servers and is compressed.

It can cut the amount of data you use by up to 50%, which can help you keep within data limits and save you a fortune. It will also monitor how much data you actually use which will help you pick the most cost-effective plan.

When you call 0800 numbers from your mobile it's not free, and it's usually not counted as part of your monthly inclusive minutes, so you'll be charged extra for the call.

If you install the free 0800 Wizard app, you type in the 0800 number, and it will automatically re-route your call to an 01, 02 or 03 number instead. These cost the same as a standard local call, so will be part of your monthly package. If you don't have any minutes left it will be charged as a standard geographic number.

This website is designed to let you shop around without leaving your home. You can use it in whatever way suits you best. For the dedicated bargain-hunter, you can input everything you want to buy, find the supermarket where each item is cheapest, and spend the absolute minimum.

For those who need a bit more convenience, you can fill your trolley as normal through the site (and use the swap and save button to see if you can save by buying a different size or brand). A basket icon on the right hand side of the screen will show you the cost of the same shop at alternative supermarkets, so you can switch the whole lot over at the click of a button. And there's even a vouchers button you can use before you checkout to see if you can save more. The site claims that you'll save an average of £17 every time you shop using the site.

There are lots of voucher apps and websites out there, but one which is worth a look is vouchercloud. Whether you're shopping, eating out, going to the cinema or going for a drink with friends, you can use the location function of this app to find the best deals on offer near to where you are. 
This site has been around for a while, but remains a vital tool. You can search for the cheapest petrol in your area - or the area you are visiting - so you can pay less for your fuel without going out of your way. It's free to sign up and you get 20 free searches a week. There's also a PetrolPrices Pro app, so you can check prices when you're on the road.

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