Imagine that smug feeling you get when you know you are paying less than anyone else; now imagine that feeling without having to do any of the hard work to get it.
Most of us don’t have the time to spend hours researching online, switching deals or haggling for a better price.
But a handful of companies now claim to skip all that hard work for you, landing you straight at the good part – the cheaper prices.
Here are five top tools that have caught our eye, promising everything from automatic energy switching when a better deal comes up to getting retailers to bid to offer you a cheaper price.
Priceometer: Ismybillfair.com compares your bill to others getting the same service
Is my bill fair
Ismybillfair is a website that compares your bill to others getting the same service.
And the best bit, if you are paying more it will do something about it for you, either negotiating with your current provider if you don’t want to switch, or finding you a new deal elsewhere.
It covers broadband, phone and TV, Sim-only mobile contracts, energy, car-breakdown cover and boiler and plumbing cover.
How does it work? By asking a few basic about your providers, what you pay, what your contract limits are or how much energy you use, it pulls together information using a special algorithm comparing your bills with those getting the same service as you, using its existing data from other users.
It then puts you on its Priceometer, showing where your monthly bill sits.
You are then offered a choice – stay with your existing provider but ask for a better deal, or switch to get a better deal. Remember if you switch before the end of your contract it usually means exit penalties, but even those in the middle of their current deal can try to negotiate a better deal with their provider.
There is no obligation to do either, and you don’t need to sign up with an email address of phone number to use the tool.
If you do choose the first option, it contacts your existing provider to negotiate a cheaper price for you which it says usually takes about three days.
Alternatively if you want to switch, you are shown you the best options for you, or a list of all the available deals.
What does it cost? The tool is completely free to use. The company makes its money by referring you on to suppliers or supplying your provider with your details if you want to stick with it.
The rationale behind this is that it costs suppliers less to offer you a cheaper deal and pay the site a small fee than to lose you as a customer completely.
Retriever: The Labrador tool plugs into your broadband router to collect smart meter readings
If you are one of the millions of households who have let inertia get the better of you and haven’t switched your energy tariff recently, then a tool like Labrador could be the answer.
Labrador and its Retriever tool use your energy use stats to move you to a cheaper energy deal if one comes up, with average annual savings of £300 a year.
How does it work? Its smart tool, sent for free in the post when you sign up, plugs in to your broadband router to wirelessly connect to your smart meter.
It works with comparison site, Energyhelpline, and has affiliate relationships with a list of 47 energy suppliers.
It constantly tracks your energy use in real time and runs a search once a month to see if you could be paying less elsewhere.
Labrador won’t move your supply unless you can save at least £80 per year (taking into account any exit fees) which it says is likely to happen once or twice a year.
You can set up switching preferences such as a minimum savings trigger, a required customer rating and choose whether you want a fixed or variable deal. You can also decided whether to be moved automatically or if you would prefer an alert before a switch.
In both cases all aspects of setting up your new account is handled by Labrador, there is no need for final meter readings or setting up a direct debit.
Unfortunately if you don’t have a smart meter already or you don’t want one you can’t use the tool, however Labrador’s website says it will be launching an exclusive offer soon.
However, Labrador hopes to be more accurate as using a smart meter means your bills are never estimated.
What does it cost? The service is completely free to customers. Labrador makes its money from suppliers, getting a commission when you switch.
Daily Mail and General Trust, This is Money’s parent company, has recently invested in energy company Labrador. However it has been included in this round up purely for its money-saving credentials.
Clean up: Customers can save up to 28 per cent on a Dyson vacuum cleaner using Peddler
Peddler calls itself a social marketplace and effectively offers group-buying discounts, using people power to encourage sellers to give you a better deal.
The deal you get depends on how popular the item you want is with others, but it could save you a bundle.
How does it work? When you find something you want to buy online you simply copy the link and post it on the Peddler site.
People power: The more people interested, the cheaper the price
Other users then click on the post if they want to register their interest for the same product. Peddler then gets in touch with retailers offering that product to get them to offer a group-buying discount.
According to the number of people that register their interest, the price will fall into different tiers (see right).
The more people who do this, the more attractive it is for merchants to cut the price and the better the deal everyone gets.
When This is Money looked for examples, there were entries on anything from a Dyson Cordless Handstick hoover with a 28 per cent discount to New Balance trainers with a 21 per cent discount or an Egg stroller with 13 per cent off.
There are two ways to actually buy, either Buy it Now when you see a good offer or Hold and Wait until the lowest price is ‘unlocked’ because enough people have signed up to it. If it doesn’t reach this price, you don’t have to buy.
What does it cost? The site is free for customers to sign up. It makes its money by charging the merchants fees to sign up.
Echo Dot: Timing your purchase right using CamelCamelCamel would have saved up to £15
The name might be a mouthful but if you frequently shop at Amazon, CamelCamelCamel will make sure you always get the best price with handy price tracking.
How does it work? You can see the cheapest and most expensive prices products have sold for and set email alerts to trigger when it reaches a desired price meaning you never pay top-whack for whatever it is you have your eye in.
For example, when This is Money checked the price of an Echo Dot, CamelCamelCamel showed a maximum cost of £49.99 on February 14 this year, compared to a cheapest deal of £34.99 on December 11 2017.
It also shows the prices via third party sellers on Amazon.
When we checked the price of a Samsung Smart TV the difference between the most expensive deal (offered by Amazon directly) and the cheapest deal (from a third party seller) was a bumper £241.10.
What does it cost? There is no fee for using the tool, all you need is your email address to sign up to alerts, you don’t need to sign up to view historic pricing however.
Sales alerts: Receive notifications when items on your wish list drop in price
There is nothing worse than paying full price for something only to see a sale sign the next week. LoveSales could help you avoid buying at the wrong time, with wishlist tools and sales alerts.
How does it work? You can sign up for an account online and add your favourite brands to receive alerts when they have a sale.
It also lists the dates of future sales for each retailer. Likely the most useful feature however, similar to that of CamelCamelCamel, is the wishlist.
You can set savings targets, for example at 10 or 20 per cent, or set your own optimum price on particular products using a link.
You do this by sharing a link by email if you are on mobile or adding its tool to your favourites bar on your PC.
The most frustrating thing about tools like this is the constant emails, but LoveSales does let you choose between daily or weekly updates or to receive no emails at all.
When This is Money looked, there were were around 245 brands to pick from, including the likes of Halfords, Dreams, House of Fraser, Charles Tyrwhitt and even expensive brands such as Net-a-porter and Mulberry.
What does it cost? Nothing, but you do need to sign up using an email address.
Bean looks at your spending to pinpoint areas you are paying more than you need to
Bean looks at your spending to pinpoint areas you are paying more than you need to. It recommends cheaper deals and then handles the switching for you.
How does it work? When you open an account with Bean, you provide your online banking login details.
This gives Bean read-only access to your information, in a similar way to the likes of popular budgeting tools MoneyDashboard and OnTrees.
It has bank-level security to protect your data and it won’t be able to make any transactions from your accounts.
Watch out: Make sure to check your bank’s terms and conditions as some may see you giving your details to third party aggregator services such as Bean as being careless with your security details which can affect your rights.
If you could save money by switching your energy provider or broadband network Bean will let you know.
You can either use this to prompt you to switch yourself or it will recommend a cheaper deal and through partnerships with energyhelpline and broadbandchoices will give customers the option of hassle-free switching, organised for you.
Another feature – it will spot regular payments for memberships and subscriptions and if you want, cancel them for you.
This could be anything from a gym membership you never use to a credit reporting service or Spotify or Amazon Prime membership you forgot you had.
Finally it also offers real-life advice, telling users when they could save by moving a credit card balance to an interest-free deal or by taking out insurance.
You can currently only use the tool online, but it will soon release a mobile app.
What does it cost?
It is completely free for customers, Bean relies on commission from recommending cheaper products.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST SAVINGS DEALS