Beat rising prices on energy, mortgages, food and more

Beat rising prices on energy, mortgages and food

Household costs are expected to soar over the next few weeks and months and it's not all down to Brexit.

Here's what you need to watch out for and what you can do now to guard yourself against the hikes.

Electricity and gas prices

Electricity prices are expected to rise by up to 10% by January.

The Daily Mail reports sources at the Big Six energy companies saying that prices will have to go up to cover the green energy taxes imposed by the Government.

The hikes are expected to add £51 to the average £510 annual electricity bill.

A source told the Daily Mail: "We'll have to put between 6% and 10% on electricity bills in January — and that's all down to Government taxes."

The Government's environmental and social policies include investment in renewable energy like solar panels and making homes more energy efficient.

Heating bills are also expected to soar following a rise in the price companies have to pay for gas.

In September Co-operative Energy hiked standard variable prices by 3% and GB Energy Supply hit customers with a 30% hike on its standard tariff in October.

You should consider locking into cheaper prices now with a fixed rate tariff.

See if you can switch and save on your energy tariff

Fixed-rate mortgages

Mortgage rates have fallen to record lows thanks the Bank of England Base Rate being cut to 0.25% in August.

Moneyfacts reports that the average five-year fixed rate mortgage has fallen below 3% and rates on shorter fixes and variable mortgages have also dropped as providers compete in a race to the bottom.

However, experts are warning mortgage rates are set to rise thanks to the shock result of the US presidential election last week.

Donald Trump's victory has led to a jump in the long-term interest rates banks use to decide the price of fixed rate mortgages.

Since the surprise result these 'swap rates' have spiked and are rising on a daily basis, with five-year rates at around 1% up from 0.9% at the beginning of November.

Mortgage broker John Charcol predicts that five-year and 10-year fixed rates will be the first products to see a hike, reversing the trend of cheap mortgages.

You should act now to take out a new mortgage or remortgage onto a better deal, before the best rates start to disappear.

Looking for a mortgage? Compare rates and fees at a glance

Rail fares

Rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales are set to rise by up to 1.9% from January 2017.

The hike will apply to regulated tickets like season tickets, day single and return tickets around major cities and long distance off-peak return tickets.

Unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets and first class tickets, are set by the train companies, not the Government.

The hike means a £2,500 season ticket will cost £48 more from January 2017. So if you need to renew your season ticket it's best to act this year if you can.

Food

More and more food suppliers are announcing price rises thanks to the UK's decision to Brexit.

The drop in the value of the pound against the euro and the dollar has hit suppliers with increased import costs. More than half of the UK's food is sourced from abroad, according to one study.

Last week US company PepsiCo asked retailers to hike the cost of Walkers crisps by 10%. A standard price 32g bag has gone up from 50p to 55p in most supermarkets, while a larger 'grab bag' has increased from 75p to 80p.

While Walkers uses British potatoes it imports a number of other ingredients like oil and seasonings as well as packaging materials to produce a finished packet.

Birds Eye, Unilever products like Marmite and Typhoo tea have also instructed supermarkets to hike prices in the last couple of weeks.

While there's not much that can be done about food price rises, you may want to stockpile some of your favourite items at today's prices to guard against increased costs later on.

6 PHOTOS
Most outrageous bill mistakes
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Most outrageous bill mistakes
Carol Sandford, 72, called 118 118 from her mobile phone unaware of the charges involved. Calls to the number cost £1.88 per call and there is also a £2.57 per minute charge from landlines. TalkTalk raises this to £5.68 for the first minute and £3.28 per minute after that. TalkTalk told Carol the charge £81.12 charge was correct but luckily 118 118 were kinder, offering to repay the charge in full. Read the full story here.
One Londoner was more than a little confused when his debit card was declined while he was trying to buy just six bottles of American craft beers. But he quickly realised that instead of the £22.30 he owed, he had been charged £223,000! It's thought he punched in the PIN number before the machine was ready and it added the numbers to the total. Luckily the 28-year-old saw the funny side and laughed the incident off. Read more on the story here.

Early Lewis from Detroit was amazed to find his water bill was almost 100 times as much as he was expecting. The bill claimed that Lewis had used 3,740 gallons of water in just one hour. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Water and Sewage Department admitted it was a mistake and subsequently charged Lewis the $36 he should have been charged initially. Read more on this story here

George MacIntosh, 73, was charged a staggering £200 for premium-rate gambling texts he didn't intend to sign up for. Unfortunately this wasn't a scam but a legal service from a company called Zamano. It seems the retired vicar had accidentally signed up after responding to an initial text from the company. Read the full story here.
Philip Groves was amazed to receive a £1,411 bill from Vodafone last year for his 10-year-old daughter Trinity's phone. It turns out Trinity had watched 28 hours of instructional loom band videos on YouTube, assuming her phone was using wifi. But the wifi had cut out, leaving her phone using the data allowance at it's highest rate. Vodafone refused to cancel the bill and threatened legal action. Read more here
Daniel Pontin was in for quite a shock after opening a gas bill charging him £31,000 for a year's worth of gas in a one-bedroom home. Pontin claimed his meter was broken when he moved in and was initially charged £35 a month for six months before he stopped receiving bills. When the huge £31,000 estimated bill arrived Npower told Pontin to ignore it while they investigated. Read the full story here
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