There’s no denying that the cost of living crisis is not going away any time soon. Prices in the shops, the utilities and at the petrol pumps are staying stubbornly high, making life difficult for all of us. So, with this being the time of year when the festive season looms large, and the heating has to be switched on even earlier, what can we do to save cash this winter?
Turn the heating down
It’s the small things which, when taken together, can make a big difference to your outgoings. A 2022 study by UCL found that each 1°C reduction in thermostat temperature (between 22°C and 18°C) could save the average household around £130 over a year. At the same time, turn down the flow temperature on your boiler to adjust the water and heating temperatures. The Energy Saving Trust has good advice on how to do this for different kinds of boilers.
Go back to basics
Fitting a heavy door curtain at your front door and draught excluders on doors will keep the worst winter draughts out, while simply closing the curtains when it gets dark will also help.
Check that your home insulation is up to scratch and that you plug any draughts coming up through the floorboards if you have stripped floorboards. These can be plugged in using a proprietary filler from your local DIY store or simply by using shredded newspapers under carpets and rugs.
Look at where you can replace traditional light bulbs with energy-saving LEDs which are brighter and longer-lasting.
Renegotiate your bills – and your mortgage
Most experts are saying that it’s still pointless shopping around for cheaper energy, but you can potentially save money by haggling over your broadband, mobile phone and TV subscriptions, especially if you are coming to the end of a contract period. Which magazine, in their survey of 5000 readers, found that around half of these were able to save an average of £85 annually on their broadband and mobile phone bills or were able to extend a cheap introductory offer. Check for unused subscriptions that you’re still paying for and get rid of them.
If you’re struggling with the mortgage, talk to your lender as soon as possible to see if you can either extend the loan period or switch from a repayment mortgage to interest only for a short period of time, bearing in mind that switching to interest only will only pay off the interest and not the capital.
Shop around for insurance
Loyalty to a company no longer pays so hit the comparison sites to find cheaper quotes for house and motor insurance.
Do a benefits check
Check to see if you can get help from the government, whether that’s in the form of benefit payments or grants for loft insulation and energy bills. Citizen’s Advice or Turn2us have a wealth of advice on how to do this.
Finally, consider how much food your household may be throwing away and avoid this by planning your meals and sticking to a shopping list when you shop. And instead of the big name retailers, try the budget supermarkets for bargains.