Money Week blog of the day – save on the boring stuff (like utility bills)
There are lots of ways that you can reduce your electricity, gas and water bills. Here are some top tips on how you can do this. There’s also lots of information out there about ways you can save energy – pretty much all energy companies have information on their websites, and you can also check out sites like:
The Energy Saving Trust – www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
Save Water Save Money – www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk
1 Understand your bill and how it’s calculated. You should always check if a bill is estimated or not, to make sure you’re not paying more for your energy consumption than you’re actually using – it’s usually straightforward to read your gas or electricity meter and send in your reading to your energy supplier (although be mindful of your safety if your meter’s in an awkward place!).
2 Turn electrical appliances off at the plug rather than leave them on standby when you’re not using them – this can save an ‘average’ household about £30 a year.
3 Be careful in your kitchen – an ‘average’ household can save nearly £50 a year just by using kitchen appliances more carefully – for example:
- Use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and save £30 a year in energy bills.
- Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and save around £7 a year.
- Reduce your washing machine use by just one cycle per week and save £5 a year on energy, and a further £7 a year on metered water bills.
- Get your landlord/letting agent to fix any dripping taps – dripping taps can cost you more than you might think …
- Cook with care – Use the right sized pan for the food and the hob; keep saucepan lids on to keep in the heat; make toast in the toaster, not under the grill.
4 Get a water efficient shower head – If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler (rather than an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head. This will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
A water efficient shower head could save a four person household around £80 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £120 on water bills if you have a water meter. A typical water efficient shower head can cost about £20.
5 Spend less time in the shower – Spending one minute less in the shower each day will save around £8 off your energy bills each year, per person. With a water meter this could save a further £12 off annual water and sewerage bills. If everyone in a four person household did this it could lead to a total saving of £80 a year.
6 Take control of your heating – More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. Using your room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves efficiently could save you between £75 and £155 a year. If you already have a full set of controls, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save between £80 and £85 a year.
7 Use smart controls – Smart heating controls are the latest innovation to help you control your heating and understand your energy use.
They allow you to control your heating remotely via a mobile app, meaning that you can manage the temperature of your home from wherever you are, at whatever time of day. There are lots of different products out there, and can cost from about £100 to £300 + (often including installation, if needed) – ask your letting agent or landlord if they would agree to providing these controls.
8 Switch to LEDs and energy efficient lightbulbs – You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogen bulbs, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.
9 Turn off lights when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light. This can save you around £13 on your annual energy bills.
10 Check if you can get any energy saving freebies – alas the days of the government distributing free energy saving lightbulbs are gone, but some energy companies work with SaveWaterSaveMoney, to provide their customers with free or reduced cost energy saving products.
For example, if you are a Southern Water customer you can get a free save-a-flush bag (a bag you put in your toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water you use when you flush your toilet. Who knew?! You can apply for save-a-flush bag here: https://www.southernwater.co.uk/save-a-flush-form or better still, just pop an empty jam jar in the cistern to save water at every flush!
(Thanks to the Energy Saving Trust for most of these top tips!)
11 Hang out in the library more – but maybe don’t knock up a fry-up in the lecture hall as the picture suggests!!!
Student Advice Service