Bills are the bain of everyone’s lives, but, sadly, there’s just no getting round them - there are ways to reduce them though.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to stop watching TV and start eating cold tins of tuna forevermore. But, if you follow these 12 small tips, hopefully, you’ll see big differences in your overall bills.
1. Unplug unused devices
iPhone, tablet or laptop chargers are the most common culprits for this one, but, did you know, they can be drawing a small amount of electricity even when your device isn’t charging? It’s what some call phantom charge.
It might not be much for just one device, but when you count up how many are in your house and then multiply that by how many hours they’re plugged in for (which, for a lot of people, is 24/7) it can soon add up.
2. Use power timers
If you’re not confident you’ll remember to unplug your devices and you use power strips, another option could be a power timer. Basically, this just automatically turns your power strip off and blocks the phantom charge from whichever device(s) it’s connected to.
3. Switch your lightbulbs
When’s the last time the lightbulbs were updated in your home? Generally speaking, older bulbs are less efficient and use up more energy, so doing something as simple as switching to an energy-efficient alternative could see your bills go down.
4. Change providers
Whether it’s for gas, electricity, broadband or water, don’t get complacent; your current provider isn’t necessarily the best or cheapest. Shop around, compare quotes and see if there’s a better deal to be had elsewhere.
Don’t be put off by the smaller suppliers either. Despite being cheaper (sometimes) a lot of people are put off for fear of them going bust, but here’s why that shouldn’t be a worry: in the event of this, Ofgem (the energy market regulator), has a protocol whereby customers are transferred to another company and they guarantee no loss of gas or electricity.
Tip: when you’re shopping around remember to use comparison sites and go directly to providers.
5. Invest in a programmable thermostat
With winter around the corner you’re probably already thinking about cranking the temperature up a notch or two, right? Well, make sure you’re not paying for heat you don’t need with a programmable thermostat that automatically changes the temperature when you’re out and about, at home or asleep.
6. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater
Hot water heaters soak up a lot of energy in most people’s homes, but there are ways you can reduce the damage to your bills. Here’s the problem:
1. Most people keep their water hotter than they need to
2. That heat’s continually being lost to the environment
3. You then have to spend more money maintaining the temperature.
There’s an easy solution though: reduce your temperature and fork out for a water heater blanket. Yes, there’ll be an initial cost involved, but the long-term savings more than make up for it.
7. Wash your clothes at a cooler temperature
Did you know, washing your clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40 can save you up to £52 a year? It might not sound like a groundbreaking amount, but when you combine it with all the other savings you could’ve made so far it soon adds up.
8. Change the way you pay
9. Plan your meals in advance
So you can defrost anything you need overnight or during the day. This can half your cooking time, eliminate the need to defrost it in the microwave and save a whole load of money.
10. Use the right tools for the job
First things first, use the right size pan for whatever you’re cooking - if you’re frying a single egg, odds are, you don’t need a big stirfry pan, this will save energy being wasted heating up a surface area you’re barely using.
Then, make sure you use the right size hob for your pan. The bigger the hob the more gas or electricity is used to heat up your pan and the more energy you’re chucking down the proverbial drain. Small pan-small hob, everyone’s a winner.
11. Get dimmer switches
They let you set how bright you want your lighting and cut the amount of electricity used. For example, if you’re eating your dinner on the sofa you probably want the lighting on full pelt so you can see your food, but if you’re winding down to a film you might only need it on quite dim.
12. Use a microwave
If you’re reheating yesterday’s leftovers or indulging in some melted chocolate, whack it in the microwave instead of on the stove. It usually heats food up much quicker and consumes less energy.
If you want to get noticeable results from this one though, remember to turn to your microwave as much as possible - one leftover here and chocolate bar there’s unlikely to make much difference to your bills.
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