How can small changes lead to big savings? Top tips on how you could save yourself money and be more environmentally friendly.
Most of us are constantly trying to save money where we can, whether it’s skipping that takeaway coffee in the morning or limiting how many items of clothing you’ll buy in a month. While we may have to make a conscious effort in order to save those extra few pennies, you’ll be surprised to see how small changes to your home can make big changes to your bank account.
The Solar Centre has shared its top tips on how to save yourself money on bills. As well as the added bonus of saving money, most of these tips will also help the environment too, so it’s a win-win situation for consumers all round.
Check your boiler and thermostat
You could save as much as £240 a year by installing a more efficient boiler. While the initial cost of a new boiler may seem daunting, it'll work out as more cost efficient over the years.
While you don't need to change your boiler unless it's necessary, it'll almost certainly be more efficient if you replace it.
In addition, installing a programmable thermostat will ensure the heating is controlled automatically when you may not need it (e.g. when you're out or asleep). Having set times will reduce your heating bills significantly.
Heating water in your home uses a considerable amount of energy, around 17 percent of a home’s energy usage. In addition, the water is often kept at a higher temperature than is actually needed, so drop the temperature slightly to save those extra pounds. Installing a water heater blanket and insulating any exposed hot water pipes will help you to save too.
Block your chimney
You spend time and money double glazing and insulating your home. However, what many people do not think of is blocking their chimneys. A high-quality block could save you over £200 a year.
Fix dripping taps
Dripping taps typically waste 5,500 litres of water a year. There are essentially two types of tap: traditional taps and monobloc lever taps that control flow and temperature with a single handle. Traditional taps drip because an internal rubber seal, or washer, has perished and needs replacing. Monobloc level taps have ceramic cartridges that occasionally need to be replaced.
Save this water by tightening all taps with a spanner, or ask a plumber to do it if you're unsure.
Invest in solar
While there's a huge initial cost to install solar panels, you can save about £800 a year once installation has been completed.
As well as saving money by using your own generated energy, you can also get a tax-free return from the subsidies the government pays for solar panels.
One way to reduce bills is to switch to solar lighting for your outdoor lights. This is a cost-effective way of introducing solar, saving you money and being environmentally friendly.
Regularly read your meter
Estimated bills should be avoided whenever possible as you may well be paying too much for your bills. Check your meter readings every three months and report these back to your supplier.
If your provider becomes a bit difficult when you ask for money back, remind them that credits must be refunded.
Review your policies and contracts
Over time your needs may change, so ensure your policies change with them. Be realistic about what you think you'll actually do and only pay for policies that are still relevant to you.
Review your contracts and decide whether you need all the extras you pay for. Using programmes such as Skype can be great for making free phone calls, so you could reduce the amount of minutes you pay for on your phone contract.
Getting multiple quotes from providers to see what they can offer to meet your needs will be beneficial in not only finding the best deal financially, but ensuring there is no wastage on what is provided.
Loyalty is often not rewarded with providers, and we usually only stick with them because it's the easy option. Experts suggest that you should switch provider every year to secure the best offers.
Take advantage of free insulation deals
The government have set strict efficiency targets for energy suppliers, so ensure you check what could be freely available to you. For example: British Gas offer free insulation worth up to £1,000 per household.
Turn off appliances and lights when not in use
You can save approximately £30 a year by turning all appliances off standby mode when they're not in use. Make sure you unplug them too, as they can still use energy when switched off but are plugged in.
Every time you leave the house double check that you've not only switched off appliances but also unplugged them. Turning off lights when you leave the house, or are not using a room will also save you a lot of money throughout the year, particularly in the winter months.
Wash laundry in cold water
Almost 90 percent of the energy used by your washing machine is to heat the water. Use cold water on a shorter cycle for any clothes that don't need particular attention to reduce your energy consumption.
Even if you don't want to wash laundry in cold water, you'd still save a lot of money turning your machine down to 30 degrees.
Save money on your food shopping
Are you a slave to brands? Does it have to be Heinz or Hovis? Well, you could be spending thousands of extra pounds a year, which could be better spent elsewhere. Using tools such as MySupermarket can help you compare deals and prices at 15 top supermarkets to ensure you are getting the best value, and the best deals
Be clever with your credit card
Switch to a zero percent credit card and reap the rewards of paying your balance in full each month. Most cards will offer cashback or other rewards which will save you money.
Shop around to see which credit cards offer what, as some of their rewards may be more relevant to you than others.