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Do you need to switch for Christmas?

Do you need to switch for Christmas?

The festive season is a time of joy and glad tidings, but for millions of Britons it’s also a time of debt and mounting bills. 

And it’s not just food and gifts. The cost of energy consumption over the Christmas period is also a growing concern for UK households. So is it worth making the switch in time for Christmas?

Peter Earl
From the Energy team
minute read
posted 13 JULY 2020

Rising debts

Although Christmas spending fell by 1.5% in December 2017, debt advice charity National Debtline revealed around 7.9 million Britons overspent last Christmas, and found themselves falling into debt after the festive season.  

The charity also found that 37% of Britons bought Christmas presents on credit, which could mean that some are still paying off the last Christmas as the next one approaches. 

Rising energy prices

A report from Citizens Advice in August 2018 shows it’s not just Christmas spending that’s causing financial woes. UK households owe almost £19 billion in essential bills, with almost £1.1 billion owed to gas and electricity suppliers.

Despite the government promise to cap energy tariffs by Christmas 2018, energy prices continue to rise. Three of the Big Six suppliers – British Gas, EDF and E.ON – raised their prices twice during 2018.  

With increasing wholesale prices to blame, it’s expected that energy bills could rise a further 5% by April 2019. That’s an average extra cost of £60 more a year for households.

Top tips for an energy-efficient Christmas

The festive season uses up a whole lot of energy: electronic gadgets, Christmas lights, cooking and central heating all add up to a hefty post-Christmas energy bill.  

According to The Energy Trust, we Brits collectively spend £1 million on Christmas Day alone, just by watching TV!

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways to help reduce energy usage and costs during the Christmas period and over the course of the year:

  • Turning down your thermostat by one degree could save you around £90 a year
  • Turning off TVs, games consoles and other tech devices rather than leaving them in standby mode could save you an extra £30 a year
  • Invest in LED, fibre-optic Christmas lights, which are 90% more energy efficient
  • Put your Christmas lights on a timer so they turn on when it grows dark and off when you go to bed
  • Consider installing a smart meter so you can accurately monitor your energy usage at Christmas and throughout the year. Just bear in mind that if you do decide to switch your supplier, you might need to get a new smart meter.

How to save money this Christmas

  • Spread your present-buying costs over the year and take advantage of high-street and online sales as well as Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts.
  • Switching your annual car insurance on renewal could potentially save you up to £289** on average, while you could save up to £103*** by switching your home insurance. 
  • If you’re on a low income, contact your energy supplier to find out if you qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
  • If you’re coming to the end of your fixed energy tariff contract, shop around and compare other energy deals. Quoting with us could be the ideal way to find a cheaper tariff in time for Christmas or the New Year.

And if you're not organised for this Christmas, make sure you’re ready for the next. Why not save regularly every month, so you've got a Christmas fund and avoid getting into debt. Get the highest rate of interest with the kind of access to your money you need by comparing savings accounts.

**Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2020 50% of customers could save up to £289.85 on their car insurance premium.

***Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2020 50% of customers could save up to £103.62 on their home insurance premium.

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