How to reduce your home bills to combat the rising cost of living
With the cost of living now rising so fast, here are 13 tips from Sustainable Housebuilder of the Year 2021, Barratt Homes, on how to quickly cut costs in and around the home to bring bills down throughout 2022.
1. Clothes do not need to be washed at a hot temperature
Stains, dirt, and marks can make us fall under the impression that the higher the temperature, the more chance there is of a stain being removed, but this is not always the case. Aim for a 30-degree wash if you can, as this can save up to 60% on your energy per cycle according to Ariel. Do not forget, washing tablets and washing conditioner are added extras, so opt for supermarket brands if you want to cut costs.
2. Opt for the eco-setting on your dishwasher
Opt for the eco-setting instead of a powerful wash. The eco mode is used for lower rinse temperatures and uses a lower temperature wash, which uses less energy, but still maintains a high standard of cleaning. According to a report, if a household uses their dishwasher daily, seven washes in that week will cost around £1.44 - which is around £74.88 a year.
3. Shower, not a bath
Unless you are sharing bathwater, a shower can save you money if you use the water responsibly. A shower will use less water and energy than a bath if it is a quick shower. By purchasing a water meter, you can also see how much you are spending, and you might find out if you are over showering. If you have a gym membership, try to use the showers there to cut costs. Or, if your workplace offers showers, you could always try there to keep costs down at home.
4. Make sure that windows are closed, and drafts are fixed
When we close windows but are still cold, we often think it is time to put the heating on. But you can add extra layers within the household, and make sure that all draughts are fixed within the home. Wind can get through little cracks bringing a chill, add curtains or a draft excluder instead of automatically switching the heating on.
5. Choose natural drying instead of using appliances
When we think about washing, it is not just about water consumption. Using hairdryers, straighteners, and curling irons, these too can also increase energy use in the household and add a significant increase to our energy bills. If you are looking at ways to save money and energy consumption, only use these appliances for a special occasion. Your hair will be thankful, too.
When it comes to clothes, hang them up around the house on hangers instead of using the tumble dryer. If you are not in a rush, you could save up to £60 in bills by air-drying clothes instead of drying them through a dryer.
6. Make sure your purchases are more energy-efficient
Whether you are due a new fridge or freezer, a new tumble dryer, or even a new gadget, make sure the next one you purchase is more energy efficient. Purchasing a smaller fridge freezer will cut your energy bills. Keep your fridge and freezer away from direct sunlight to stop it working harder. Do not forget to defrost your freezer at least once a year. Like a detox with humans, it is healthy if a freezer does this too.
7. Unplug rather than keep on standby
Many of us simply flick a switch to turn appliances off rather than pulling them out of the plug completely. You might think switching the TV off by the remote control is simply saving money, but it isn’t. Yes, the TV might not be on to the consumer, - but if you have the switches on, the lead plugged in, and the light on the TV, energy is still flowing through that lead, therefore wasting energy. A simple option? Take all plugs out of sockets when not in use.
8. Use public transport if you can, and opt to leave the car at home, or even better, get rid of it
The pandemic has changed the way we are working, so it is good to speak to your employer about this. If you can, get permission that you can work from home for the near future, helping you to save money on commuting., Or even get rid of the car completely. Not only are you saving money on fuel, but you will also be saving money on car insurance, MOT, and tax.
9. Change your brands whilst shopping
Each supermarket will have its own branded products which are always cheaper than external branded ones that are sold at a higher price. If you are out food shopping, opt for these instead of purchasing brand names that are significantly higher in price. If you are finding that your food shop is becoming a bit tight on the purse strings, opt for a cheaper supermarket.
10. Instead of purchasing new fashion, try the charity shop
Many of us are enticed by seasonal sales, free delivery, and/or extra products. In reality, we often spend far more than we had budgeted for. Instead of scrolling through pages and pages of fast fashion on your phone, use a local charity shop instead. Whether you are donating or purchasing, lower prices are better for everybody, and you will have more money to save if you are not breaking budgets.
11. Have a look at different bills
Whether that’s subscriptions, phone bills, or gym memberships, look at what you are getting for the money that you are spending. If you are working from home and your contract is up, see if you can take out a contract that will cost you less money for internet usage, or have a look at what deals match your current lifestyle. A £10 direct debit might be small to some, but if you have 5 £10 direct debits a month, that is £50. if you were to get rid of all 5 direct debits, you could end up saving £600 a year.
12. Change of lifestyle
This could be the year to give up smoking. Not only will this be a healthier option, but it will save a huge amount of money. Opting for doing free sports such as running or walking could also pull back average £40 gym membership. Being part of a subscription to food boxes might bring your costs down, and putting money away for a coffee subscription might help save you money rather than purchasing single coffees every morning.
13. Sell unused items
If you still have gifts lying around from Christmas, or you keep looking at a beauty gift set that has been on your shelf for too long, look at selling it and recoup the money. It does not have to give you a huge ROI, but unwanted items are better being sold helping generate extra income. That way, you can have a good clear-out whilst saving on the side.
If you’re a first-time buyer looking to buy a new build home in the UK, why not take advantage of the Help to Buy scheme? With just a 5% deposit, you could purchase a beautiful new home sooner than you think. We have new homes available in a wide variety of locations including Birmingham, Edinburgh and Milton Keynes.