Running a family budget has just got a lot more difficult. There has been a rise in petrol costs, and the staples, including food and clothes, have also risen dramatically. On April 1st, the price cap on energy suppliers was increased dramatically. There are genuine fears across the UK that individuals and families will not be able to afford to use the energy supply in their homes.
With such a strain on our family finances, any hints and tips that reduce costs are welcome. Here we offer some simple but effective ways to manage the cost of your energy and keep the bill within the margins of manageable.
Train everyone to flick the switch
It is surprising how quickly we can all fall into bad habits of leaving lights on in uninhabited rooms and equipment sitting on standby. A significant proportion of electricity use could be reduced with disciplined habits around switching items off at the wall. The red light on a monitor or television costs money to maintain, as is a mobile phone left to charge overnight.
Bringing the kids in on cost saving and holding each other accountable is great. It is possible to turn it into a game, with points awarded for those that remember to flick the switch. Encouraging a savings mindset in young people will help them later when managing a home of their own.
Beware phantom energy suckers!
While this might sound like a horror movie, it is more an extension of this idea of switching items off at the wall. There are appliances that you leave plugged in, with the switch flicked to on, even when the appliance is not being used. The energy vampires continue to suck energy even when not being used at all. Your toaster is an excellent example of a piece of equipment that continually sucks a significant amount of energy even when not being used.
Green Energy UK estimates that you can save £80 a year by addressing the energy suckers in your home, and other sources put this at 20% of your monthly electricity bill.
Invest in smart technology
While technology cannot save us from everything, it can lower our energy bills. You will need to invest in the devices at first, which come at no small cost, but they offer a powerful return on the investment through your utility bills.
One example of a smart device is the smart socket. If training the family to switch off at the wall sends shivers through you, then you can invest in these sockets that allow you to control plugs from your phone or smart speaker. You can also time when things come on and off, which is useful for the television and your satellite or digital television boxes.
Another handy smart device is the smart thermostat. A standard thermostat allows us to set a crude temperature for the whole of the house, and we control each room at the radiator. A smart thermostat allows you to heat only the house’s parts in use and heat different rooms at different temperatures. Likely, the heat required to make the top floor of a house warm differs from the downstairs rooms.
One degree makes a massive difference
By increasing your heating by one degree, you add 3% to the cost of heating your house. For each degree you reduce the heating around the home, this is also proportional to what you save.
Turning the dial down is made easier with improved insulation in your home. Your roof and windows leach a lot of heat, so blocking air coming in and out of these areas will allow you to bring the temperature on the thermostat right down.
If any of these tips feel unrealistic, you can make an immediate impact by changing your light bulbs. LED lighting is much more energy-efficient than standard bulbs, and they last up to three times longer. While each bulb will save £10 on your bill over a year, imagine what all your bulbs would then add up to.
Chip away at the costs
As with anything that feels monumental and difficult, the route to addressing concerns is with lots of small efforts that add up. There is no single big solution to increasing costs, but there are a lot of tiny steps we can take that help. Sometimes even checking with our supplier to ask about a discount, or comparing energy deals to find something newer or cheaper, can be a quick and simple way to cut back on your bills.