A recent study held by market researchers HPI has found that 25 to 34 year-olds are the most likely age group to turn down their radiators, even more so than pensioners. The study also found that 32 percent will ‘definitely’ turn down the heating or turns lights off in a bid to save money. With the recent price hike in winter energy prices, families and students alike are feeling the pinch this December and are worried about cover costs for the Christmas period; not mentioning the costs of running Christmas lights! Fortunately there are plenty of tips and tricks to ensure that your money goes the distance and keeps your family cosy this winter.
We spoke to a number of experts and got their energy and money saving top tips for around the home. Many thanks to all the experts for their contributions.
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Q: What are your top tips for homeowners wanting to save energy and money around the home this winter?
1. Invest in double-glazed windows. Approximately 20% of heat in your home is lost through windows and doors. Not only do double-glazed windows provide extra security and added value to your property, they can cut heat loss by half. A rough guide for pricing sets double-glazed windows at about £300-400 per window, but it’s always worth getting multiple quotes.
2. Install radiator reflectors. Placing laminated foil behind radiators on external walls will reflect heat normally lost through the wall back into your home. £30-40 will give you enough laminated foil to fit up to 10 radiators.
3. Insulate your hot water tank & pipes. Hot water tank insulation should be 75mm thick for optimum energy saving. Fitting a British Standard jacket around your cylinder will cost you a mere £15 and will cut heat loss by over 75%, saving you around £45 a year.
4. Integrate a water meter. If you don’t have a water meter installed by your supplier then your bills are most likely estimated according to the size of your house. While this may be on point in many cases, you may be overpaying. Switching to a meter also gives you the ability to keep an eye on your own usage.
5. Minimise the impact of hard-water. Lime scale builds up in the pipes of homes located in hard-water areas, resulting in higher fuel and maintenance costs. A simple device can be purchased, which wraps around the main incoming water pipe of a property and emits an electric signal that stops new scale forming and gradually removes existing scale, saving you up to £200 a year on energy.
6. Make the most of Government-subsidised insulation. The Government’s Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme allows energy suppliers to offer many households free loft or wall insulation. Eligibility is based on postcode, household benefits received and the type of house, but if approved it can save you up to £140 per year on heating bills. You can contact any of the major suppliers to find out if your household is eligible.
Q: With the increase in energy prices, how can homeowners ensure that they are getting the best energy deal possible? There’s no substitute for smart research when it comes to finding the best deal on your energy. Start with a visit to GoCompare.com or Which.co.uk and get an idea for the average pricing in your area for energy bills. Once you’ve picked the best of the bunch, start calling around and play the suppliers off against each other – they will generally change their tariff pricing in order to receive your custom.
The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation which offers free, unbiased money advice online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk, over the phone and face-to-face right across the UK. Here are some top money saving tips for students from Michael Royce at the Money Advice Service
1. Max your money – make sure you claim all you can to help with your living costs. Check with your nation’s student finance agency or with an adviser where you study to assess how much in maintenance grants, bursaries or other support you can claim. This will reduce your reliance on maintenance loans and other borrowing.
2. Pack it in – having fewer drinks or takeaways over a week will save a lot of money – maybe £5 a day, which is £35 a week, that’s £1,820 a year! Transfer the daily cash saved in a savings account so you don’t have to borrow or beg from parents or friends when you want to go to that concert or on that trip or festival. Compare savings accounts
3. Bulk up – Look for multi-buy deals in the supermarket and split the cost with housemates if you share accommodation. Make meals go further – and feed more mates – with high nutrition but cheap food like lentils, beans, potatoes and pasta. But only bulk buy what you know you will eat and not waste!
4. Be a discount diva – always use your NUS card discount and make the most of online voucher sites when you buy goods and services you need. But don’t get swayed by “great offers” for non-essentials.
5. Break down your budget – work out your monthly budget with for regular “essential” payments – your living costs. Ring-fence this as soon as you receive your student loans, grants or wages. Split any money left over for “spending” or “saving” into your student current account or a savings account, such as a cash ISA.
6. Check the running costs – if you’re living outside of halls, before you decide to move into accommodation, get a sense of the running costs. Ask the letting agent, landlord or previous tenant to provide estimates for the rent plus essential bills – e.g. gas and electricity bills, water bills, service charges etc. This will help with your budget.
UK Mums provide an online community website for mums across the UK who are first for parenting advice and reviews.
How can mums get their kids involved with energy saving around the home? We have to be water and energy efficient, so teaching our children how to not waste either is key to teaching them about becoming green savvy. You can teach your children about turning lights out when leaving bedrooms, which will not only help save energy around the home but teach them about being energy conscious too. Many of our UKMums.tv readers complain about their children keeping the taps on whilst brushing their teeth, by teaching them to turn off taps when they are not in use will also keep your energy bills down, but will keep those bad habits at bay.
What are your top money saving tips for mums this winter? As we are all aware, energy bills have risen and this winter is expected to be an expensive one. First and foremost, if you don’t have insulation then there are many affordable ways to achieve this, which will beneficially keep those bills from being sky high as your heating won’t have to be on half as much. Turning the electricity off for at least one hour a day will also help and keep children from getting square eyed. Electricity is not the be all in life, so taking children out for a walk and reading to them will not only let them explore nature, but will keep your bills from being explosive this year.
Need help with your Christmas budget? Try this Christmas budget calculator from the Money Advice Service, complete with a handy countdown to the big day!
Other helpful budgeting or money saving ideas: