It’s always the same old story! You get paid at the end of the month and think you’re rich, the bills come rolling in, and then you’re poor again. What on earth is the deal here?! If you’re wanting to save some cash along the way, there’s one surefire way to do it. Here’s how you can cut back on your household bills once and for all.
1. Switch to online bills + Direct Debits
Do you even open the bills that you get in the mail? Most of the time, we know how much we will owe on a month by month basis. That means that the bills we get in hard copy form just go right into the bin. Not only is that a waste of paper and terrible for the environment, but it’s also costing you more money than you know right now.
If you opt to take your bills online, you could find that you save yourself a whole load of money. It’s worth checking out what each company offers for this small change. Much of the time, you will find that they knock some of the cash off the total of the bill. (Or you may even find that they have been charging you a couple of quid all along for the pleasure of sending you a paper bill. Crazy!) It will take you a few minutes to quit and could save you loads each year. Those pounds add up.
Fixed monthly direct debits should also get you a discount or around 2-10%
Potential savings: 10% for online bills and as much as 10% for direct debits
2. Take shorter showers
The feeling you get when you step into a beautifully warm shower is like no other. It’s warm, cosy, and just about the best place in the world to hide out and be alone. Still, there’s one thing that you may be overlooking here — it’s also an expensive place to be. If you are taking long showers each and every day, you could quite literally be throwing your hard earned money straight down the drain. Yikes.
It may take some time to get used to taking shorter showers on a daily basis. One of the ways that you can monitor this is by setting a timer. Or, if the very idea of that sends shivers down your spine, you could always play a song. When the song gets to its end, you will know that it’s time to get out of the shower! Easy.
3. Install dimmer switches
If you like to have lights on all of the time, the last thing you want to do is have them on full power the whole time. Many people don’t think about this little fact but installing dimmer switches means that you can save cash and add a little ‘atmosphere’ to any space. You can pick up these fixtures from local home stores (i.e. B&Q or the like!), and so you should have no problem getting one for yourself. Once you’ve invested in a switch, you will see that your electricity bill way cheaper than before.
4. Turn off all your electrical items
This next one is about getting into a proper routine. When you head off to the land of nod (when you go to bed!), make sure that every switch in your home is turned off. Most people tend to leave things like their TV, computer, and oven switched on at the mains. You might think that, in doing so, you’re not wasting any electricity since you’re not actually using the items. Well, you’re wrong.
When you leave electrical items plugged in and switched on at the mains, there is still an electric current going to them. That means that you are wasting electricity for no reason whatsoever. Sure, it may seem like a pain to go around switching everything off but a) it’s safer and b) it will save you cash. Bonus.
Buy: Smart home plugs
5. Put your water heater on a timer
Do you have your water heater on a timer? If the answer is no, something is going terribly wrong inside your home. Heating up water all of the time, when you’re not even using it, is a real waste of power. Of course, you need to have hot running water when you have a shower or bath, though. That’s why the timer solution works so very well, when you think about it.
So, what should you do? Well, you first need to think about when you use hot water. If you’re the type of person who showers at night, you should put a timer to heat up the water just before then. If, on the other hand, you tend to shower in the morning, put the timer on for 30 minutes before you wake up. You will end up cutting down your gas or electricity bills (depending on which you have) and it won’t make any huge difference to your life.
6. Get eco light bulbs
Again, having the lights on all the time can be a real issue — for your finances and the environment overall. So, what should you do? Well, eco light bulbs are a good start. Getting some of these means that you won’t be paying over the odds simply for the cost of keeping your home light and bright. If you don’t already have some of these things in your home, it’s time to make a positive change. The sooner you do so, the better.
One thing that you’re certain to notice when you first get these energy saving bulbs is that they will be a little dimmer than perhaps you’re used to. Don’t worry. When you first switch these on, they will take a while to reach their full brightness levels. Give it about ten minutes and you will see that they appear just as bright as regular light bulbs. Simple!
7. Price-check your bills + keep on top of meter readings
Of course, we all need things like WiFi, phone lines, and entertainment (i.e. Netflix, Sky, Now TV.. you get the point). These bills tend to have a fixed rate that you pay each and every month. How often do you actually consider how much you’re paying for these things? Most of us go with the old fail-safe notion of ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. But wait just a minute here, could you end up saving yourself a whole load of money by just shopping around?
Price-checking your bills is an excellent way to ensure that you end up saving cash here, there, and everywhere. So, where should you start? Well, there are actually websites that will do all of the hard work for you. Pages such as uSwitch will compare all the prices for in an instant. All you need to do is enter your postcode, the type of bill you want to compare, and your contact details. The site will then help you to find the cheapest possible deals in your area. Nothing could be easier.
Checking your meter and upload these meter readings to your energy providers account will help to ensure you don’t get a nasty surprise at the end of the year.
8. Insulate your home
Winter is coming… which means that you’re going to end up spending more and more on keeping your home warm. It’s a real nightmare. If you find that your heating bills go through the roof every single time that the weather drops, you need to do something about the problem. One of the easiest things that you can do is insulate your home. In doing so, you will find that you spend less on keeping it warm, since it will naturally start to retain heat. It just makes so much sense.
Oh, and it’s not merely about insulating your walls either. There are actually a whole array of ways in which you can ensure that your home is better insulated. From your flooring to your pipes, there are loads of things that you need to look into. Luckily, the Energy Saving Trust has a handy guide on just this topic.
Read: Home Insulation Guide | Buy insulation rolls or see if you can get them for free below | Buy and install insulation foil around loft doors/outside sheds etc
Some energy providers offer free/discounted insulation:
- E.on. Apply via E.on’s site or call 0330 400 1183. See its eligibility criteria.
- EDF. Call 0800 404 9084 or check EDF’s site. Unlike other providers, you need to be an EDF customer to be eligible.
- Npower. Check you’re eligible on Npower’s site or call 0800 107 9630.
- SSE. Call 0345 078 3248 or fill out an online enquiry form. See its eligibility criteria.
9. Avoid using your dryer
One of the biggest drains on your finances is the dryer. If you tend to dry your clothes rather than hanging them out, you are wasting more money than you could possibly know. Hanging your clothes out on the line (or on a clothes horse if you live in a flat) may take longer than giving them a quick spin, but it will save you cash along the way. So long as you’re organised and get into a routine of washing your clothes at the start of each week, this should prove to be no problem at all.
10. Get double glazing
Finally, if you don’t have double glazing at home just yet, it may well be time to get it. Single-glazed windows let out so much heat that you end up using loads of electricity or gas trying to keep the place warm. Sure, the initial cost of getting your windows replaces is huge and, frankly, annoying to have to pay. Still, you need to keep the positives in mind here. At least, you will end up making your money back in time.
Making these small changes to your home or lifestyle will be the best thing that you ever do. Once you start saving money everywhere you can, you will find that it becomes sort of addictive. So, how much can you save then?