Cutting back household expenditure can seem like a daunting challenge but we have come up with ten simple tips to help you save money.
1. According to the Energy Saving Trust, lighting is the second biggest contributor to household energy consumption. Energy-saving LED bulbs are far more efficient than halogen or incandescent bulbs and last far longer. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones in order to reduce the amount of money you spend on lighting your home. Panasonic has a saving calculator so you can work out just how much you could save simply by changing the light bulbs in your house. To find out just how much you could save, head to www.panasonic-led.co.uk.
2. Turn off electrical appliances rather than leaving them on standby when you leave the house. For example, turning off your computer when it is not in use could save you around £30 a year, according to energy experts uSwitch.
3. DIY specialist, B&Q has noted that a home can lose up to 25% of its heat through an uninsulated roof, and a further third through uninsulated cavity walls. Insulating and draught-proofing your home will not only keep you warmer but save you money.
4. Kitchen appliances are the number one contributor to energy costs in the home so making small changes, such as only boiling the amount of water you actually need, will help you reduce costs.
5. Washing your clothes at 30°C rather than 40°C can reduce the amount of energy used by 40% according to laundry experts Ariel. There are many specialist detergents available on the market that are designed to work at lower temperatures. Once your clothes are clean, drying them using an airer rather than a tumble drier will save energy and in turn, money. Place your airer in a well-ventilated or warm room to dry clothes quickly.
6. Installing a water meter could reduce the amount you pay for your water bill as a meter will ensure that you only pay for the water you actually use, rather than a flat rate. As a general rule, if there are more bedrooms in your house than people it could be worth installing a meter. There are other simple ways you can save water, for example, turning off the bathroom tap when shaving or brushing your teeth.
7. Take part in Money Saving Expert's Downshift Challenge, which can be found on their website. Take a look in your fridge and cupboards and see how many supermarket premium or big brands there are. Next time you go on your weekly shop, replace these brands with a supermarket's own brand. The company offers a tool you can use online to calculate just how much you could save.
8. The cost of energy has been steadily rising so scout around to check if you are getting the best deal from your provider. Using price comparison sites, see if you can find a better deal from a different supplier or switch tariffs. Money Supermarket and uSwitch both offer a price comparison service on their website.
9. Checking you are in the right Council Tax bracket could reduce the amount you have to pay and, if you have been over-paying, could see you receive a rebate. Money Saving Expert has some handy tips on how to establish whether you are in the wrong band.
10. Sit down and evaluate your finances. There are many different expenditure calculators available online which will allow you to see just how much you are spending each month and work out where you can cut back. The Money Advice Service and Money Saving Expert both offer services to help you take control of your finances.