There has been much talk this week of British Gas cutting prices by 10% after many of its customers were encouraged to lock in to Fixed Rates a few months back. This brought about a discussion with my dear friend S who informed me that she pays roughly £300 a month by direct debit to her dual fuel supplier! I was astounded, as although she has a large property, she is paying in one month almost what I pay per quarter during slightly warmer months!
This is where your comparison websites come in and I logged onto www.uswitch.com to do a comparison for her. You have to enter your postcode so that it knows which suppliers are in your area and on the particular search I did, there were 45 results of cheaper quotes. Savings started at just over £300 per year at the top of the page and ended up at a whopping saving of over £2,000 per year! Just think what you could buy with that £2,000 saving! It could pay for a holiday you didn't think you could afford, a Chanel 2.55 bag (and still have change!) or pay off some debts if you have any!
Once you have done your comparision and chosen a cheaper supplier there are many other practical ways to cut back on gas and electricity usage and don't forget by doing this you are are also doing your bit for the environment!
1. Check to see if your electricity supplier operates an economy 7 tariff where electricity is cheaper after a certain time at night. If it does, then take advantage of this by putting the washing machine on before you go to bed.
2. Ask your electricity supplier if they can provide you with some free energy efficient light bulbs if you haven't already received them. British Gas and Southern Electric, to name a few, recently sent out packs to their customers (certainly in my area).
3. In rooms that are little or not used, turn the radiators right down low and keep the doors shut.
4. Only put the washing machine on when you have a full load and wash at 30 degrees or lower where possible. Don't forget if you tumble dry, this will kill any unwanted nasties on bedding, towels etc so don't think by washing at a lower temperature you are not killing bacteria.
5. Invest in a clothes airer and put near a radiator in an upstairs room out of the way. Mens work shirts and childrens school shirts dry quickly indoors when put on a hanger. I just hang mine on an upstairs door, out of the way and find this also helps to cut down on ironing of the garment.
6. Don't leave anything on standby! I am constantly walking round the house switching off mobile phone chargers with no phones attached to the end, portable t.v.s, games consoles and laptops. Also microwaves etc etc. Turn the Sky+ box off you haven't got it set to record anything after you have gone to bed.
7. Only fill the kettle up with as much water as you are going to use.
8. Take Showers instead of baths. If you don't have a shower then share a bath but make sure you don't shave your legs in it before someone else gets in!
9. We have all heard the old story about tin foil down the back of radiators - but this does work by reflecting the heat back into the room.
10. Personally I keep the heating and the hot water set to constant as it is not always convenient to have it set to come on at certain times of day but I set the heating thermostat at 15 degrees - that way as soon as the temperature drops below that level the heating will automatically come on and then once the house has reached a certain temperature, it just goes off. You will need to find out what works best for you, if you are out at work all day then you may want to set your heating to come on before you get up, go off after you have left for work and then back on again just before you get in from work.
11. A washing machine with limescale on the element takes longer to heat the water and is not energy efficient. Every two months, run an empty 60 degree cycle with 200ml of white vinegar to clean the limescale off.
More money saving ideas:-
1. You will save money on utility bills if you have both your gas and electric with the same supplier (usually 10%)
2. If you pay bills by Direct Debit most suppliers offer a discount (again usually 10%).
3. For paper bills, some suppliers offer a prompt payment discount, I am with Southern Electric and the discount is 4.3% if I pay within 8 days which then comes off my next bill.
If you have any more energy saving tips then please comment.
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