Saving money on energy

4th October 2022

Bloomberg have run a story on how to save money this winter with the rising cost of electric and gas. The story contains this excellent infographic which shows the current estimated costs for running each appliance:

You can also look at the useful GoCompare calculator to analyse prices.

We have courses coming to help people budget and stay warm over winter but wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a few simple things you can do which are good for your back pocket but also good for the environment. There are several key areas we want to look at and they fall into the categories of staying warm, cooking food and then everything else:

Staying Warm

For many of us the cost of heating our houses this winter is going to be a real shock on top of already very high energy costs. As you can see from the diagram we could be paying somewhere between £5-10 every day on heating alone, whether that is central heating or heating each room separately with electric heaters.

No central heating – Choose oil filled heaters over electric. If you have standalone electric heaters or need to buy some, consider choosing an oil filled radiator instead. The price to purchase isn’t very different but they are more efficient and will save you money. They also typically have a built-in thermostat so can maintain a nice comfortable temperature in a bedroom overnight.

Central Heating – So, if you have a boiler and central heating, what are your options? Well, the first thing is to turn down your heating by at least one degree to what you have it on normally. With prices as they are that’s likely to save you hundreds of pounds. Now, so we don’t feel cold we can look at things like:

Heated Blanks – Heated blankets can cost as little as a few pence to warm your bed up. A cooler room and a warm bed are strong factors in getting a good nights sleep (with a recommendation of the room being 18C). Turn down your heating , save money and sleep better.

Hot Water bottles or microwaveable heat pads are the even cheaper solution to have a little bit more warmth at night.

Cooking on a budget

There are a few useful kitchen gadgets to look at to save money here, so let’s take a look at them one at a time:

Slow cookerSlow cookers are the best! I wouldn’t be without mine. A slow cooker is really simple and easy to use. There are masses of great recipes and it’s a great way to prepare tasty healthy meals without a lot of fuss. Cooking a Sunday joint in the slow cooker can be several pounds cheaper than using the oven. Just chuck a joint of meat and some stock in the pot in the morning and leave on low all day (or prepare the night before and use a timer). Your dinner will be perfectly cooked when you want it.

Air Fryer – Air Fryers aren’t very cheap but can still be a good money saver. If you’re using a slow cooker you don’t really want to be using your oven just to make some chips or roast potatoes. Conventional ovens are much dearer, as you are heating up that huge volume of air, sometimes just to cook one thing. An air fryer can make cook healthy food quickly at a relatively good price. They only do small amounts though so they are best to use with other items on this list. If you live alone though and only need small meals; using an air fryer can save you quite a lot of money

Kettle vs Hob – If you are boiling water on your hob to cook rice or potatoes etc. Stop! Consider heating the water in your kettle instead. A kettle will typically be more efficient than a regular electric hob or gas. That means you can cook faster and cheaper by boiling the water in the kettle.

Microwave – You probably already have a microwave, as you can see above, it’s pretty cheap to run. They aren’t just for re-heating and ready meals; they are great for making healthy steam vegetables and baking light and fluffy sponges.

Go veggie a few times a week – You don’t need to be a Vegan to save money and enjoy the health benefits of diet that’s better for our planet. There are masses of great recipes out there that are better for your health and your back pocket. A good lentil chilli con carne takes minutes to assemble, cooks easily in the slow cooker and is just as filling and tasty as the meat version. Just add some rice.

Everything else

Always give Money Saving Expert a look for up to date advice on making your money go further.

Lightbulbs – LED lightbulbs are very affordable now, if you have lights that are on a lot (kitchen and lounge for example) consider upgrading to energy efficient bulbs.

Turn things off – Some items of technology are a pain to turn off at the wall (WiFi routers, TV boxes etc.) and can miss recordings etc. However most items can be flicked off or put into eco modes for easy savings. A product like a remote controlled socket can allow you to easily switch off your games console, TV and DVD player at night without having to rummage with all those cables!