Whilst you're all busy trying to stick to those New Year resolutions, how about saving some pennies online with a little help from Plusnet? Just keep reading on for our top tips on how save some extra brass in 2012 by making the web work for you and your finances. The web's not just great for gaming and getting your news fix straight from the blog-o-sphere - it's also chock-full or resources like price-checkers, budget tools and apps that'll help you save more brass for your back pocket. And you don't even have to slog to find them, as we've rolled up our sleeves and found some for you, so you can save on more than just your broadband. This New Year, use the web to …
1. Balance your books
Start spring-cleaning early this year, by giving your budget the once over. With online banking, you can keep on track with your finances day or night, so take some time to assess your financial situation and make any alterations necessary. You can use t'internet to find free online money management and budgeting tools, so you can calculate your monthly incomings and outgoings, and see where you can cut back if you need to. If you're self-employed, make sure you complete your tax return on time and pay the taxman any money you owe him too. The deadline for completing your 2010 – 2011 tax return and paying up is 31 January 2012 if you're completing it online – so get started on it now, as submitting it late will cost you at least £100 extra. One of the best places to start is the Money Advice Service. They’ve got tools and planners that can help you with everything - from how to stretch out a tight budget, compare different financial products, prepare for budgeting if you're about to welcome a baby. They even offer a 'Health Check' which will give you a personalised money-saving action and goals you can work towards, if you complete a quick survey.
2. Switch and save
If you're looking for a simple way to cut costs, use the web to shop around – and not just for cheap clothes or DVDs. Review the costs of your utilities and insurance policies regularly and see if you can get a better deal elsewhere. There are loads of comparison websites out there that'll do the hard work for you. And, if you're thinking about switching your phone and broadband, it's worth knowing Plusnet won four of price comparison site Uswitch's 11 awards in 2011 - 'Best Customer Service", ''Most Likely To Be Recommended'', ''Best Quality of Connection'' and ''Best Overall Customer Satisfaction''.
3. Find discount codes and deals
Use your Plusnet broadband to get searching for discount codes and deals online, and you could be saving on everything from your weekly grocery shop to little luxuries like meals out and holidays. Check out sites like My Voucher Codes to grab the latest discount codes and special offers, or sign up to a rewards site like Quidco to get cash back when you spend online. You could even earn loyalty points for your Boots Advantage Card or Sainsbury's Nectar card when you log into your online loyalty account and shop online with their partners and affiliates.
4. Have fun for free
Slash your entertainment budget without missing out on family fun, by using your internet to watch movies and catch up on the latest TV for free. Sites to visit for some on-screen treats include BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and 4OD, while you can stream a selection movies for free using sites like Blinkbox and LOVEFILM. You can also use the web to get free games and e-books, so you'll find plenty to keep you occupied on the long winter evenings, without having to raid your bank account.
5. Drive down your travel costs
Don't let rising fuel costs stop you from getting out and about – you can use the web to find cheap train tickets and holidays online, and you can even download petrol price checking apps for your smartphone - like the AA's iPhone app or Whatgas.com's Android app - that'll help you find cheaper fuel near you, so you can avoid the priciest pumps. And, you can save with Plusnet too, by …
6. Sticking with us for cheap broadband
Not only are our broadband packages cheap, they also provide great value for money. And you don't need to take our word for it - we've won awards from Which?, uSwitch and other top-notch money-saving watchdogs. If you've only got broadband with us, you could save even more by switching to one of our broadband and phone packages instead. Just check our add-ons and offers to see if you could save. You can also use comparison sites like uSwitch to check you're getting the best deal before you sign-up too.
7. Getting straight-talking service for less
With Plusnet, you get honest, reliable service – there's 24/7 help over the phone if you need us, and we've also put together lots of support and tutorial information to help you save time. And time, after all, is money. Contacting us isn't expensive either - just use our Freephone number, 0800 432 0200 to call from any UK landline for now't. If you're on the go, you can use our 0345 number - 0345 140 0200 - to call from a mobile. The minutes you spend nattering with us will usually be deducted direct from your call plan, just like they would be with a call to an 01 or 02 number.
8. Adding Plusnet Pro to your broadband
If you work from home, making sure your broadband is working as efficiently as possible can help you to polish your profits. And you can do just that by signing up for our Plusnet Pro add-on. Plusnet Pro prioritises your broadband activities are over lower-priority web traffic, so you can work from home faster. Oh, and it's designed for gamers too – so you can game faster whether you're having a go at lunch-time or when you're off the clock.
9. Downloading Plusnet Assist
With Plusnet, you don't have to waste time and money trying to sort out any email or broadband connectivity issues that might arise. Just download Plusnet Assist instead. This fantastic tool will watch for any problems and then automatically fix them – and it's free to download too.
10. Telling your friends about our good, honest broadband
You could save even more this year, by recommending Plusnet to your friends. If you're happy with our good honest broadband, just tell your friends and family over a cuppa and we'll give you a monthly discount for every person that joins us on your recommendation. The more people you tell about us, the more you could save. And, if you recommend enough people to us, you could even find that we're paying you - nice one, eh? Have you got any web-based money saving tips to share? Just let us know by leaving a comment below …