Let me just start this whole thing about how to save money on utility bills by saying that I actually don’t so all of these things, purely because I naturally live a pretty frugal lifestyle and I tend to take pleasure in things that up my utility bill – like having 20-minute showers. You may prefer to spend money on, for example, having take-out once a week. I almost never have take-out because I don’t particularly like it, just like you might only have three minute showers.
In a nutshell, I’m not expecting anyone to implement all of these tips and practically live like a cave man.
Heating your home
Think outside the box when it comes to heating your home:
- Don’t even THINK about putting the heating on before you’ve exhausted the possibilities of keeping warm using clothing/blankets.
- Use psychological tricks to keep warm – soft lighting, light candles. Whilst these won’t actually warm you up, you’ll warm up more quickly if you feel cosy.
- Close the curtains at night to keep the heat in, open them in the morning to let the sunlight in
- If you tend to reside in one room (such as the living room) it might be cheaper to use one portable electric heater rather than put the central heating on OR off the radiators in rooms you never use, such as the spare room, and keep the door closed.
- If you’ve had the oven on, open the door once you’ve turned it off – you may as well let it heat the kitchen.
- In general keep doors closed BUT if you have a wood burning stove/open fire, open all the doors (except for outside ones obvs ;)) to let the whole house heat up.
- Make sure your house is draught free and well insulated. Check out these tips from moneysavingexpert.com for any additional tips.
- Shorter showers. If you want. Tbh, I freaking love a good long shower. I would, however, happily live without putting the central heating on for any more than two hours a day, and even then that’s only in the dead of winter.
- Make good use of the oven. If you’re only using one shelf, maybe make some granola, or do some meal prep, such as roasting some butternut squash or broccoli. Basically, try to only use your oven if you can fill it up. Don’t just cook stuff for the sake of it, though. This requires more thought that I care to put in, so I usually stick to the afore-mentioned granola, or just use the hob. I don’t actually have a microwave since my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp.
- Standby. Ooo be careful here. It’s generally better to keep things off rather than on standby but there are exceptions, for example, our SkyPlus box is more efficient on standby than if we were forever turning it off and on. Unplugging your chargers won’t save you money on your leccy bill, but it will prolong the life of your charger, plus I think it’s safer to unplug things that aren’t in use.
- Fill up the fridge and freezer. Don’t buy a humongous chest freezer if you can’t fill it. If you already have one, fill it with ice. They operate most efficiently when full. Washing machines and dishwashers are the same.
- Check your bills, and make sure meter readings are accurate.
- Put lids on saucepans when you’re cooking and turn the hob down.
- Shorter showers. Writing this post is really making me feel guilty…The whole bath vs. shower debate really depends on how long your showers are, so unless you’re having super quick showers, don’t feel guilty about having a good long soak. Or get a water saving showerhead like this one. That’s really something I need to pick up actually. Why the hell have I not thought of that before? Silly girl.
- Share bath water. My friend’s husband always uses her bathwater after her. She’d rather eat her own mother than go in after him, but men are unfussed about that (and, she added sexistly, men are dirtier than women). Also women like water so scaldingly hot that we emerge, goddess-like, twenty minutes after submersion looking like lobsters. Tis sexy. Men like cooler water, so everyone’s a winner.
- Turn off the taps. Don’t let them drip. Fill the sink to wash up rather than letting the tap run. I feel these are all kind of obvious.
The thing is, all of these tips are kind of obvious when you think about them, and won’t save you much money on their own. You need to make these things habit. If a pan boils over, turn down the hob, rather than just taking the lid off. Only pre-rinse if you definitely need to. Let your clothes, hair and dishes air-dry (air is free).
As I mentioned before, I’m not the best at implementing all of these things, and there are some tips I’m actually sceptical about. For example, I’m loath to turn the temperature on my washing machine down. I mean, 30 degrees just doesn’t seem hot enough, and my mum says it can make your clothes and washing machine mouldy. I appreciate that my mum isn’t the most compelling expert out there to anyone other than me, but I believe her and my washing machine remains at 40.
The great thing about saving money on utilities is that once you get into the swing of it, you don’t need to think about it. Every now and again you realise that something you stopped doing is netting you a tidy sum – switching from a 500l to a 170l tropical fish tank springs to mind. I’m in the process of switching from three (I used to work split shifts in a restaurant and trust me, it was required and no, they weren’t all twenty minutes long) to 1 or 2 showers a day, and I think that should have an impact on the electric bill. The way it works with our supplier is that they have a fixed price monthly bill, but if you use less that they predicted you get cash back at the end of the year. Last year we got back about £65 if I remember correctly. Noice.
I’m going to end with a little techy wondering I have: does anyone use both Boardbooster and the premium version of Tailwind? I love Boardbooster for looping and currently use it for scheduling as well, but I prefer the scheduling of Tailwind purely because it’s easier. I don’t really want to spend the money on Tailwind if it won’t make too much difference. Let me know your thoughts!
Have fun and be good