Reduce your energy bills
Consider switching energy suppliers
Ofgem estimates that the average household could save £300 per year by switching energy supplier
You can compare your options using Uswitch, Simply Switch or Money Supermarket, who are all signed up to the Confidence Code with Ofgem.
Pay with the right method
If you currently pay using cash or cheque you may be able to save money by switching to a Direct Debit, online payment or prepayment.
Current Ofgem regulations limit cash bonuses to Direct Debit and online payments.
Manage your heating more efficiently
During the lockdown most of us will be at home much more than ever before and while some of us may have taken the step already to turn the heating off, others may need to keep it running.
If you need to keep your heating on, we’ve got some tips to help:
- It is most efficient to only heat your home when you need it! If you are currently heating your home all day and night, you can make significant savings by stopping this.
- Consider when the key times for you may be. Is it when you are getting out of bed? Is it in the early evening? Is it in the late evening, before bed?
- Make sure to place the thermostat in your most used room
If you are struggling to adjust your thermostat settings correctly, Which? have put together a guide here to help.
- The Energy Saving Trust says that every degree you turn your thermostat down will save you around £80 per year
- If you’re heating is still on you should keep all windows shut to stop that energy being wasted.
- If you only want to heat a single room, you should consider using an electric space heater as this may be more cost effective. However, this is dependent on the heater’s efficiency and how much you pay for your units of electricity.
Small changes which could add up to big savings.
In a recent study, The Energy Saving Trust found that:
- Spending one minute less in the shower could save a family of four around £75 per year on energy and water
- Making sure to turn off all lights when you are not in a room could save around £14 per year on energy
- Using a bowl to wash up, reducing washing machine use by one cycle a week and only filling the kettle with the amount of water you need could save around £36 per year
- Turning off appliances when they are not in use, instead of leaving them on standby, could save around £30 per year
- Switching from standard bulbs to LED bulbs could save around £35 per year
If you’re going to have trouble paying your gas or electricity bills due to the effects of Coronavirus you can find help and advice from the Money Advice Service, here.
Cancel any subscriptions you don’t need
A very quick an easy way to save money is to cancel any direct debits and subscriptions you no longer use. Sky and Virgin have offered customers the option to pause subscriptions and some Gyms and cinemas have announce credit plans or frozen payments.
If you have any subscriptions you do wish to cancel you must check with the companies before cancelling any direct debits or missed payments may affect your credit score.
Rethink your grocery shopping
It is very easy to spend significant amounts of money on food, drink and other supermarket products if you only shop when you think you need something. In order to reduce costs and waste there are a number of changes you can make.
- Plan your meals each week and cook them in batches.
To calculate how much food you need for each member of your family and therefore how much to buy you can use this great portion planner from Love Food hate waste.
- Meat is one of the most costly food staples so why not introduce meat-free days to save money
- Use up toiletries before buying new ones
- Use a bar of soap instead of gels, as they last longer
- Use only the advised amount of toothpaste and shampoo
- Buy generic instead of big brands
Spread the cost of big purchases
If you’ve got any big purchases soon but you are worried about being able to afford them, you may be able to spread the cost using a 0% interest purchase card.
To see if you are eligible, you can check your credit rating and eligible credit cards at Experian and ClearScore.
For information on the T&Cs of credit cards and what to look out for, ClearScore have a really useful guide.
Make a budget
By budgeting properly for the essentials, you will be able to see how much money you have left to play with. You could choose to put these into savings or into “luxuries” you wish to buy.
The Money Advice Service have built a budget planner tool to help.
For more help and advice on managing your finances, see our Reduced Income Guide.
References – OVO Energy, Good housekeeping, Ofgem, The Energy Saving Trust, Clearscore, Which?, the Money Advice Service