WITH the looming prospect of another hike in gas and electricity prices from October now is a good time to think about reducing your monthly outgoings.

Two popular issues are mobile phone charges and gym memberships – which I’ll look at in a moment – but you might want to do a general audit of things you don’t really use or need each month.

For some things you might be able to cancel immediately, others there may be a minimum notice period, so check with your supplier; they will have this information under “FAQs” or “how to cancel” sections on their website.

If you have a TV or broadband package, find out when it’s due to end, as you may have to give notice to terminate, or be rolled over. The same applies for most insurance policies.

Clearly, you’ll need insurance cover, TV and broadband services, but if you know when these are due for renewal you can replace them with more affordable deals.

There are various online comparison sites to help you shop around.

Mobile phone companies like to talk about when you’re eligible for a new “phone upgrade”.

It isn’t an upgrade at all – it’s a brand-new contract, usually for two years, where you buy a very expensive smart phone for the best part of £1000 – plus tie yourself to monthly phone and data charges over 12 or 24 months.

If you have a 12 or 24-month mobile phone contract, check when the contract is due to end because invariably, you’ll need to give one month’s notice before that date to cancel it.

You might have to call your provider to do that – they don’t make it simple for obvious reasons.

You can save a small fortune by opting for a SIM only deal. To give some illustrations.

To buy an iPhone 13 on a two-year contract will cost around £42 per month with an overall cost of £1027. A Galaxy 21 on a two-year contract comes in at around £27 per month with a total cost of £648.

Most of the big mobile phone providers will offer SIM only deals but often these are tied to a 12-month contract. For example, EE does a SIM only deal of 40GB and unlimited calls and texts for £25 on a 12-month contract; or £30 per month with no contract.

Compare that to giffgaff, which will give you unlimited minutes and texts plus 30GB for £15 per month with no contract. Smarty will give you 60GB and unlimited calls and minutes for £10 per month with no contract – or unlimited everything for £16 per month.

You can sign up online and your SIM will be posted out in a couple of days.

You can retain your existing mobile number for no charge. Compare this to buying a new smart phone – a good SIM-only deal will save you almost £800 over 24 months.

If you need a new phone a cheaper option is to buy a reconditioned one online from a reputable seller.

BACK in January you might have made a New Year’s resolution to join a private gym with all good intentions. Hopefully you signed up to a no-contract deal, which you can get out of anytime.

If you don’t use the gym a lot, consider ending your contract and using a less costly membership or pay as you go in a local authority sports centre.

If you entered into a 12-month gym contract and can’t afford it anymore there may be scope to get out of it. In the English High Court case of OFT v Ashbourne Management Services Ltd [2011] EWHC 1237 (Ch), minimum gym memberships were held to be unfair in law under certain circumstances.

The court said: “It was not possible for a gym member to anticipate all events which might render continued use of a gym impractical or unaffordable and X’s agreements did not address the tendency of the average consumer to overestimate the use he would make of gym facilities and, indeed, that he was likely not to attend at all after two or three months.

“X’s business policy, in advising clubs to adopt agreements with minimum membership periods, was designed and calculated to take advantage of the naivety and inexperience of the average consumer using gym clubs and the agreements contained a trap into which the average consumer was likely to fall.”

If your circumstances have changed – you’ve fallen ill, lost your job or can no longer afford monthly fees – write to your club and ask them to allow you to end your membership early on the grounds of fairness given your change in circumstances.

If they refuse you may be able to use the 2015 Consumer Rights Act – see debtnavigator.scot on how to do this.