Moving house can be stressful, but finding yourself without access to the internet for weeks could be a disaster. Some of us need to be connected so we can work from home or stay in touch with family and friends, but did you know that not being online could also leave you out of pocket? You could be missing out on the cheapest deals on everything from home insurance to energy bills.
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What’s more, you can either choose to buy online or over the phone. “Don’t leave it till the last minute to set up your new broadband,” said Sam Cooper of Simplify Digital, a broadband, phone and TV comparison service. “Get the ball rolling as soon as your move is confirmed so it doesn’t take weeks to get online once you’ve moved. If you need some more motivation to sort out your broadband, you could save hundreds of pounds a year by simply changing from your current supplier, whether you buy online or over the phone.”
Here are five reasons to sort out your online connection before you even get the keys.
1 Cheaper bills
Many providers offer discounts for buying online as their overheads are greatly reduced. Take home insurance for example – with one leading insurer, you can save up to 20% on a buildings and contents policy simply for buying online. Choose one of the online dual fuel products available, and you can save up to 10% on your annual spend.
2 The internet makes changing addresses easier
The internet makes it simpler than ever to change your billing address online. Do it within the first week of moving so you don’t forget.
Accounts to update include:
- Banks and building societies
- Credit/store card providers
- Online accounts such as PayPal, eBay and Amazon
- Magazine subscriptions
- Contact lens deliveries.
Don’t forget about customer rewards cards either – loyalty schemes such as Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury's Nectar or Boots Advantage Card often send out money off and extra points vouchers.
Updating your address will also reduce the risk of identity fraud when you move. Make sure all your mail is forwarded to your new address. Royal Mail's redirection service recommends that you direct your mail from your old address for at least one year to avoid falling victim to fraudsters. But it’s not cheap – the Royal Mail redirection service charges per person not per household, so a couple moving house would face two charges of £62.99 each for a 12-month period – or £125.98 a year.
Worth a look is iammoving.com, a free online change of address service that allows you to notify more than 1,500 organisations of your move. To get started, use the site as a checklist, building up your account. When you choose who to notify, it will be clear what information they require, such as an account or reference number. Some notifications need signatures, so a letter will be generated for you to print and post. Bear in mind that some companies need up to 30 days’ notice, so it may not be the quickest or simplest way to forward your mail, but it is the cheapest.
3 Make the most of freebies
Whether you’re furnishing your new place or trying to offload furniture when you downsize, being online can save you a fortune. Look at sites such as Freecycle, Freegle and Trash Nothing. These online communities match people who have items they want to get rid of with people who can use them. Not only is it kinder to the environment as it reduces landfill, but it’s also great for the pocket, too.
As one of the main rules of these online communities is a "pick up yourself" policy, your local group is a handy way of getting rid of large items you’d normally have to pay to have removed, such as wardrobes, garden furniture and even sheds.
4 Don’t forget the electoral roll
Bear in mind that when you move into a new property, you don’t automatically get registered to vote at the new address. It makes sense to be on the electoral roll whether or not elections are due, as failure to register can affect you financially – credit reference agencies use it to confirm your address so they can counteract fraud. You can register on the gov.uk site.
5 Do your homework to cut costs
Before you sign up for council tax, why not check you won’t be overcharged? Being online makes this easy with all the information you need at your fingertips. The first step is to compare your property’s banding with similar neighbouring properties by going through the council tax list at the Valuation Office Agency’s website on voa.gov.uk (if your home is in Scotland, try the Scottish Assessors Association on saa.gov.uk).
Just enter your postcode, select your house number and it will give you the banding. Then do the same with your neighbours’ numbers to see if they’re paying less than you. Or visit Zoopla.co.uk for a free search of the sale prices of the homes in your areas. This should help provide a reasonable idea of your property’s current value if you’re not sure. To find out what the property was worth in 1991, when the council tax bands were set, visit moneysavingexpert.com and scroll down to use the house price calculator. A word of warning though – when it comes to asking for a banding reassessment, you could find your council tax increases, so do your sums carefully first.
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