Retired couple Joy and John Taylor have always been careful spenders and savers.
But since lockdown began, the pair have used their time at home to give their finances a thorough review, saving themselves close to £800 over the next year.
Their biggest victory was almost halving their monthly TV, phone and broadband bill without having to change provider.
GoCompare also says it has seen a 20 per cent rise in the number of customers comparing deals in the past four weeks compared with the same period last year
They have also reduced their energy bill and pocketed a £175 switching bonus by moving their main current account to a different bank.
And the couple are not the only ones to use lockdown as an opportunity to give themselves a money makeover.
The number of people switching energy supplier using Comparethemarket.com soared 183 per cent earlier this month compared with before the virus hit.
And broadband switches were up 30 per cent in March compared to the month before.
GoCompare also says it has seen a 20 per cent rise in the number of customers comparing deals in the past four weeks compared with the same period last year.
Home management site Hoppy saw energy switches almost double in April compared with March, while 66 per cent of broadband switches in March occurred after lockdown.
Joy and John, from Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, had tried in the past to negotiate a better deal for their TV, broadband and phone bill with provider, Virgin Media, with no success.
Home management site Hoppy saw energy switches almost double in April compared with March, while 66 per cent of broadband switches in March occurred after lockdown
At £73 a month, they knew they were paying too much. So when a leaflet advertising a similar deal and costing just £36 with rival firm Sky came through their door, they decided to haggle down the price.
Joy, 61, says: ‘We told Virgin we were thinking about moving to Sky. The threat worked and Virgin immediately offered us a number of cheaper packages.’
The couple also realised they had been paying for TV channels they didn’t need and could make a further saving by opting for a slightly slower broadband speed.
At the end of just a ten-minute phone call they had shaved £30 off their monthly bill — saving £360 a year.
Then it was on to energy. The Taylors, who have two children, have been with Npower since they got married in 1984.
John, 64, used to work for the company, and the pair stuck with the firm out of loyalty. Now, however, they were keen to move to a greener supplier.
These deals can often be more expensive, but after searching on comparison sites Moneysupermarket and Comparethe- market, the couple found a renewable tariff with Pure Planet that was £10 a month cheaper — a saving of £120 a year.
The only compromise is they must manage their account via a smartphone app.
Joy, a former civil servant, then spotted that NatWest was offering a £175 switching bonus for moving her current account from Yorkshire Bank.
She applied online and the account was up and running within seven days. The cash will be paid in June. The bank’s offer has since been withdrawn.
Joy has also cancelled her £144-a-year gym membership after taking up running during lockdown.
Mother-of-three Victoria Tagg, 38, has saved more than £800 a year on her household bills, too.
Broadband switches were up 30 per cent in March compared to the month before, according to Comparethemarket.com
Using comparison website GoCompare, she discovered she could reduce her monthly energy bill by nearly £48 a month if she switched from Npower to Orbit — a £574 a year saving.
She then found a new internet deal with a faster connection for £20 less a month, moving from Sky to Plusnet — a £240 a year saving.
Victoria, from Neath, Port Talbot, is also making savings at the supermarket by swapping branded goods to own-label, which cuts her shopping bill by around £15 to £20 each time.
‘Finances are a concern for a lot of people at the moment, so I wanted to make sure we were in the best position we could be,’ she says.
Both Victoria and the Taylors have home insurance that is not yet up for renewal, but they intend to switch when the time comes.
Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at A.J. Bell, says: ‘With so many people seeing their income cut, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re not overpaying for your bills.
‘Even a small reduction in the cost of your bills each month can help compensate for any income you’ve lost.
‘If you have more spare time during lockdown it can be a lucrative switch.’
How to get started cutting your bills
Comparison sites such as GoCompare, Uswitch and Comparethemarket are useful for finding out if you are paying too much on your household bills.
To get an accurate quote for a new energy tariff, dig out your annual statement. This will tell you the average amount of power you use in kilowatt hours (kWh). If you cannot find this figure, the site can estimate how much you use based on the number of bedrooms and how many people live in your home.
Once you’ve entered this information, a list of the cheapest suitable tariffs will pop up. Select which you want and enter your details.
The switching process should take around 17 days and your new supplier should do all the work.
If you are on a fixed energy deal, you can switch penalty-free up to 49 days before your tariff ends.
For broadband deals, comparison sites will ask for your postcode. Some allow you to check what speeds are available in your area.
Once you’ve chosen the provider, click through to its website and sign up. It will handle the rest — unless you are a Virgin Media customer. This firm requires you to inform it you are leaving.
Always check your contract as you may face penalty fees if your current deal has not ended, unless you are not getting the speed promised.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.