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A WOMAN has shared how she saved nearly £600 a year on her broadband bills thanks to little known deals that millions of others could be eligible for.
Social tariffs are designed to help hard-up household on benefits reduce the cost of the essential service.
It's estimated that around four million homes are missing out on these cheaper tariffs offered by broadband firms, and savings of around £250 a year on average.
Special tariffs for low income households could make bills more affordable – but many don't know about them.
One savvy saver managed to cut her bill with the offer, and is encouraging others to do the same with a simple switch.
Sharing her savings on the Facebook group Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK, she said she managed to reduce her bill for TV, phone and internet from Sky from £69.50.
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After switching to a Freesat box for TV, they moved to BT on its Essentials tariff for phone and broadband, costing her just £15 a month.
That's a saving of £49.50 a month, or a whopping £594 a year.
A one-off cost of a freeview box could reduce that slightly, though the switcher did not say how much they spent.
You can pick up one of the devices for as little as £35, or you could even see if you can get one secondhand for cheaper or free on sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
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It's worth noting that this can have fewer channels though, depending on the TV package you pay for.
She also made a saving of around £60 a year by shopping around for a cheaper social tariff, rather than switching to the one offered by her current provider.
She said: "I phoned Sky to cancel the TV package and asked for a better deal on my phone and broadband, they said that they could do it for £22 a month and there would be a £10 admin fee.
"My good friend, Richard then tells me that BT do a deal for £15 a month phone and broadband for people receiving benefits so I phoned sky today to cancel and have gone with BT."
Not all broadband providers offer these special tariffs, but BT and Sky are among those that do.
Cheap deals on benefits
You'll usually qualify for these cheap deals if you're claiming benefits but the exact eligibility will depend on the provider.
What you get and the price can vary too.
For instance, BT's Home Essentials costs £15 a month for broadband and phone with average speeds of up to 67Mb.
You can get it if you're in receipt of Universal Credit or Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support.
Meanwhile, Sky's Sky Broadband Basics is for existing Sky customers who are getting Universal Credit or Pension Credit
For £20 a month they get 36M/bs broadband for 18 months, instead of the usual cost of £25. Now TV customers can also get a similar deal.
Many of these deals also let you leave mid-contract without a fee.
But if you;re switching over from a normal deal to these cheaper tariffs, check if there's an exit fee first so you're not stung with an unexpected bill.
The exact amount you could save depends on the contract you're on now and the one you switch to.
You can check out the full list of social tariffs available in our guide.
How to save money on your broadband bill
Using a comparison site helps you check all the deals available in one place.
MSE has a broadband comparison tool and there's also sites like Uswitch, Broadbandchoices and ComparetheMarket.
When comparing what's on offer check it's the right speeds for your needs.
Companies often do introductory offers for new customers too and that could lower the price even further.
You can also try haggling with your current provider to match the cheaper deal you have found elsewhere.
Martin Lewis has previously advised those haggling should be polite and charming to boost your chances of getting your bills lowered.
A Virgin Media customer recently got £264 a year knocked off their bill just by asking for a discount.
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They don't have to match it but it's worth a try, and if they don't you can always switch to the better deal.
But note that moving when you're still in a contract can cost you money in exit fees, so check first.
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