There are two main ways to cut the cost of utility bills 1. switch providers and 2. cut consumption.

Use a comparison website such as uswitch.com or moneysupermarket.com to search for the cheapest provider in your area. Do this after all the big companies have increased their prices otherwise you could find your provider increasing prices shortly after you have switched. Its now January 2014 and I will be re-checking my personal situation at the end of the month when I am sure all price hikes are finished with, after British Gas was the first to increase back in November, gas by 8%, electricity by 10%.

Cut consumption with these easy tricks and tips:-

1. Only use energy saving light bulbs.

2. If you don’t have one, buy a lamp for the sitting room and bedroom. Using one bulb to light the room whilst you watch TV or read will save you using an 8 bulb chandelier or similar all evening.

3. Don’t leave lights on in rooms you are not using and make sure everybody in the house switches off as they leave a room (even my husband is really bad at this but is the first one to moan about costs).

4. Turn all appliances off at the plug socket where possible. Don’t leave TV”s on sleep mode when you go out or go to sleep.

5. Once your mobile phone has charged, switch the plug off. Don’t just remove your phone from the charger and leave the electricity switched on as this still uses power even with no phone on the end to charge!   Charging phones over night is not the best idea, a phone that takes 2 hours to fully charge doesn’t need to be switched on for the 8 hours you might be asleep.  Far better to charge when you get home from work or at some point during the evening or morning depending on your daily schedule.

6. Only switch the heating on when you are feeling really chilly. Try an extra layer first,  socks and slippers really help.

7. Turn the thermostat down by a few degrees on your boiler – the water will still be hot but even this little change can have an impact on your bills.

8. Only use the washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher etc when you have a full load.  If you have an economy 7 tarrif  (check with your provider) where electricity is cheaper at night, switch appliances on when you go to bed.

9. If you have children/teenagers who have TV’s, games consoles and phone chargers in their bedrooms, get them into the habit of switching everything off or check their rooms every morning once they have gone to school.

Key Meters

The most expensive way to pay for your gas or electricity which seems a little unfair as the majority of people choosing this method are those on lower incomes but it is one of the only ways to really keep in control of what you spend.  After an £800 gas bill one January a few  years ago, I opted to have key meters installed and the lack of worry over massive bills, for me is well worth it.  Direct Debit payments for utilities can take a huge chunk out of your monthly budget as both gas and electricity prices have increased massively in recent months. You can check your consumption daily if you wish, I like to keep in control, so this way of paying suits me just fine. I am organised and never have to worry about running out (there is emergency back up if you do) I am also constantly aware of how much I use on a daily basis, at the moment I use approx £3 a day in electricity and having a big family this means that the washing machine and tumble is used on a daily basis and of course it is currently winter so lights are going on late afternoon as it is dark at around 4pm, so this will decrease as the evenings get lighter and washing can once again be dried outside.

Water Rates

Sadly not so easy to change providers so the only way to keep costs down is to be careful with consumption.

1. Take Showers instead of baths if possible and more importantly get out once you are washed and rinsed!

2. Washing machines and dishwashers use water so only put on once you have a full load.

3. Get any dripping taps or leaks sorted.

4. Invest in a water butt and watering can to water plants in spring and summer.

5. Use buckets of water to wash the car – avoid hose pipes for anything!

6. Only fill the kettle with as much water as you are going to need (cuts electricity costs too).

7. Deal with drafts and gaps around doors and windows so that you don’t lose heat unnecessarily. Door stops, draft excluder or

8. Putting tin foil behind radiators is a tried and tested method of throwing the heat back into the room.

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