Homes Devour Your Cash – Put it on a Crash Diet Now!
It may seem obvious but your home is the biggest drain on your finances – not just on mortgage or rent, but on utliities, food and general living too! With a few simple changes you could starting saving yourself a little each month though:
1) Turn off the electrical sockets before you go to bed each night as electrical items will continue to use up electricity even if they are switched off. Everything from the DVD player to the microwave. Tip: for a computer and printer, or TV with a DVD/games console, put the plugs into a multi-plug adaptor so you can turn everything off with just the one switch rather than going to each plug socket separately.
2) Turn the TV off standby whenever you are finished with it. Standby still uses 5-10% of the full charge used when it is on and if you have that on every night or all day then you will quickly rack up some unnecessary extra charges.
3) If you leave the kettle boiling to the end then you are using up extra energy. As soon as you hear it bubbling, switch it off and you will save yourself a little extra each time – this is especially good if you are a big tea or coffee drinker and frequently boil the kettle.
4) Try to hang your washing out to dry when you can, or on a clothes horse in the bathroom for when the weather isn’t on your side. Dyers can use up a huge amount of energy so this could really save you some money – especially if you have a big family with a lot of washing.
5) When it comes to heating, UK weather can be all over the place so instead of keeping it on a timer, simply switch the thermostat on as and when you need to. In the winter it may be easier to keep it on a timer as we tend to want it on all the time, but it is not necessary to have the heating on when you are going out so even in winter this simple tip could be a saving. Just make sure you remember to turn it off again! Even better, in the winter just put on some extra layers and turn the heating as low as you can, or off even!
6) When cooking, unless you are making a roast, it is rare you will need to fill up the whole oven, which is a shame as the more in there, the less energy it needs to get to the required heat. So if you are cooking on one shelf, load the other shelf up with some empty cooking implements such as baking trays or roasting dishes. The heat they give off will help the oven to get hotter quicker meaning it takes less energy to get to the right temperature. Since we generally tend to cook every day, this could really add up over the course of a year.
7) If you use the extractor hood whilst cooking, only turn it on for the least time possible as it wastes a huge amount of energy with each use. Equally, when using pots and pans, put the lids on as the food as it will help it cook faster meaning the hob needs to be on for less time.
8) Grow your own fruit and vegetables. We waste so much food week in-week out, and especially on fresh food which goes off so quickly. For the sake of popping a few seeds in the ground or in a pot and watering them occasionally, you could save a fortune as the vegetables will last far longer on their plant than once they are picked and put in your fridge or fruit bowl. It’s an easy and considerable weekly saving.
9) Before you go for a shop, use up everything you possibly can in your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Once you have a clean slate and no wasted food, then start again. You could eke out two, maybe three, nights worth of dinners just by taking a look at what’s in the back of your freezer! Why spend more money when you have perfectly good food already in your house?
10) It is a little known fact that you don’t need to use as much washing product as directed on the packaging so next time you are putting on a wash, half the amount of softener and detergent and see the results for yourself. Your products will last twice as long and your washing machine is less likely to get blocked up with excess product.
11) Get black out curtains, or black out lining for your current curtains. The original purpose of these curtains was to block out light from homes during the wars, but now they are an excellent way to keep the heat in and the cold out at winter meaning you don’t need to use as much energy to heat your home and keep it cosy. Equally, in the summer they keep the heat out and the cool in! Even just using one or two of these simple tips could help to make a dent in those huge outgoings and allow you to live more frugally.