How much do you spend a month on your energy bills? It’s perhaps no surprise that mine are quite low. Whereas I pay £50 a month for both my gas and electricity, it’s not unusual for a household to pay three times that. As energy firms are putting prices up this April, I’ve got 10 ways you can save hundreds over the year:
1. A new boiler, improved insulation or double glazing will make a huge difference to your bills and more people than ever will qualify for the Green Homes Grant because of Coronavirus. Even if you’re not on benefits, you can still get up to £5,000 per household to cover two thirds of the cost.
2. You may still also be able to claim the £140 Warm Homes Discount this winter if you act quickly.
The individual energy companies set their own rules on who qualifies and, although you have until March 31 to claim the discount, these companies have a limit on how many payouts they make in one year, so you have a better chance if you get in early. Contact your energy provider to find out and if you are too late, you’ll be in plenty of time for next year.
3. Switching energy suppliers is the easiest way to save money but please pop in your usage when doing a comparison. All too often I hear about people being promised lower bills, only to receive a shocking bill at the end of the year.
4. Opt for a smart meter if you need to watch your usage. I have one but don’t watch it like a hawk as I’m frugal enough but it can be a lifesaver for households looking to make savings by showing them how much it costs to boil a kettle, or put the tumble dryer on.
5. Turn the thermostat down a degree or two and encourage kids to layer up. I’ve invested in a bioethenal fire for my living room (which also doubles up as my office) so this means on really cold days I can heat one room knowing that I won’t be hit with a massive gas bill.
6. Dryers and dishwashers are the biggest users of energy so if you can avoid them or use them as little as possible. Wait until you have a full load before switching on your washing machine and try washing clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40. Newer machines are much more efficient and I have an option to do a mixed wash at 20 degrees which gets everything clean and saves money because I can put lights in with colours.
7. Claim for added expenses. You can claim £6 a week for added expenses due to working from home but you’ll need evidence of your costs. If you’re self-employed include them on your self-assessment tax return under ‘using your home as an office’. If you’re employed contact your HR deptartment for more details.
8. Switching everything off at the plug could save you £140 a year – which combined with the other savings you can make, soon adds up. Also switch down the brightness on your TV and laptop and don’t leave your devices charging for longer than they need to.
9. Did you know that switching to energy saving lightbulbs could save you hundreds of pounds per year? It’s well worth making the switch.
10. Heat one room in the house when you’re working from home. A couple of years ago I invested in a biotehenal fire for my living room which doubles as an office and this means I don’t whack the heating on until Little Miss Diva comes home from school. This is how I manage to pay just £50 a month for gas and electricity. More from Broke in Bristol (& beyond)