So it’s nearing the end of February and with the January financial hangover behind us, we can realistically start budgeting and making plans for the rest of the year. When it comes to household bills there are expenses we can’t change (such as rent and council tax) but for other essentials (like fuel and food) there are things we can do to cut the cost, and for some families making these changes can help balance access to all these essentials necessary for a healthy family life. Here is Your Debt Expert's advice when it comes to making some savings:
- Switch Suppliers. Have a look online at comparison sites to see if you are receiving the cheapest energy price and if not – switch.
- If you need to buy a new electrical appliance such as a TV, look for the EU energy efficiency rating on the label. The ratings are most efficient A+++ (green) to least efficient D (red) and must be displayed by law for many household products.
- Switch off appliances when they are not being used and don’t leave on standby.
- Turning down your thermostat by 1 degree has been reported to reduce heating bills by 10% a year.
- Wear more clothes indoors, it sound simple but it works, investing in a couple of jumpers to wear around the house can make a massive difference to how often you switch on the heating.
- Have showers instead of baths to use up less hot water.
- Give a meter reading regularly to your energy company to avoid paying more in estimate bills.
- Ensured windows and doors are sealed thoroughly, use draft excluders (or rolled up sheets) and invest in heavy lined curtains for winter. Most heat in a room is lost through the windows and according to research by the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust; curtains can be as effective as double glazing.
- Use a clothes horse to dry clothes. Washing left on a radiator to dry will drain heat from the room.
- Don’t charge your mobile phone for longer than it needs to be and unplug when finished. The same applies to laptops and cameras etc.
- Write a shopping list and stick to it, this will stop you being seduced by the supermarket offers. Each week plan your meals for the following days to give yourself variety.
- Bulk buy long life basics such as pasta and rice. Ingredients like this can be used as a basis for many meals which means your average weekly spend will be less.
- Buy frozen bags of vegetables, they are cheaper, equally healthy, and will last much longer.
- Don’t buy snacks and drinks, buy a pack of fruit for the week or have a look and see what chocolate is on offer at the supermarket and buy a pack of bars which is much cheaper than buying them individually.
- Buy Supermarkets own value items, as for most products (such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals) there is no difference other than they are low priority in the factories they are produced in. This also applies to non-food items which are always in included in the weekly shop such as cleaning products and toiletries.
- Cancel your contract when it is finished and either switch or re-join the provider as a new customer as you may get a better offer as a “new” customer for the same product as before.
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