It’s ‘Big Energy Saving Week’ this week, so here is a timely blog article on saving money by saving energy.
Energy prices have been rising and rising and utility bills now take up a big chunk of household budgets, so it makes sense to check whether you could save money on your energy bills.
There are two main ways you can do this.
1. Check that you are paying the best prices for your gas and electricity. There are many different suppliers and dozens of different ‘tariffs’ you could be on (your tariff is your price plan).
If you know your usage for the last year or six months, log on to a comparison website and fill in your details. The website then looks your details up against all the different tariffs out there, and works out what you would pay with other suppliers. Sometimes people find themselves saving hundreds of pounds a year!
Some things to think about:
- Sometimes it is cheaper to get both gas and electricity from the same supplier – this is called ‘duel fuel’. Sometimes it isn’t cheaper – make sure you check both options.
- You can often get discounts if you sign up to pay by monthly direct debit. This is an advantage of having a bank account that has a direct debit facility. Sometimes you can also save money by signing up for ‘paperless billing’ where you manage your account on the internet. Make sure that if you choose this option you still log on and check your bills rather than just forgetting about them!! This will help you avoid nasty surprises.
- Think carefully about signing up to fixed tariffs that ‘lock’ you in – you are signing up to them for a set amount of time and some of them charge you a fee to leave them. Some don’t so it pays to check.
- Some comparison and switching websites offer incentives if you switch with them – some offer cash, or vouchers, or gifts like bottles of wine. When Kate from the Mind Your Money team switched lately, she got a cheque for £30! Shop around for the offers if you know you are definitely switching.
There are quite a few energy comparison websites, you could try some of the ones below (there are more, these are just a selection)
There is also loads and loads of useful information on the Money Saving Expert website – and they also have a cheap energy club that helps you switch. Read more here.
2. The other big way you can save money on gas and electricity is by changing your habits and taking energy saving measures. All energy costs money, so saving even the tiniest bits of energy can all add up to some serious savings.
Try little things like
- Stop leaving appliances on standby – they are still using electricity when on standby. This all adds up. This also applies to leaving chargers plugged in.
- Use only what you need – for example, boiling only the water that you need in the kettle rather than a full kettle can soon save you money.
- Keep lids on pans. This helps things cook quicker and you’re not losing heat out the open top of the pan.
- Try air drying clothes rather than tumble drying them (though make sure you have enough ventilation so you don’t get damp in your house).
- Turn your thermostat down – even turning it down by a degree can save tens of pounds over a year.
- Use the timer on your heating to its maximum potential – heat the house when you need it and set it to off when you’ll be out for long periods.
With all these little things, they might seem insignificant on their own, but if you add them all together, and work it out over a year, you can save loads of money. You get the added bonus of being environmentally friendly! There are loads of energy saving tips on the internet – we find good ones on the Energy Saving Trust website. On our ‘utilities’ page we have examples of the actual money saving from a few of these tips.
If you are still having trouble paying your energy bills, there is some useful information here - http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/campaigns/current_campaigns/besw/bigenergysavingweek/besw_financial_help.htm