10 hacks to lower your bills during lockdown
With millions more people working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many will be worried that the cost of their household bills will escalate. And rightly so – if you don't take steps you could find yourself hundreds of pounds a year worse off. Don't despair – do these 10 things today to bring your bills down..
1. Check draughts around the house to see if they can be covered and turn down the temperature on your thermostat by one degree – this alone can save you £100 a year. Also bleeding radiators regularly can save you money. I've invested in a standalone biothenal fire for my living room as it makes sense to leave the heating off and just heat one room. I couldn't tell you how much I've saved doing it this way, but my gas bill is only £30 a month.
2. Don't boil more water than you need! If you've got a smart meter you'll know that making a cup of tea doesn't come cheap! You can save money by filling it with just enough for a cup or two. If you haven't got a smart meter, find out how you can get paid £50 to have one installed by emailing email@example.com.
3. Switching everything off at the plug could save you £140 a year – which combined with the other savings you can make, soon adds up. Also switch down the brightness on your TV and laptop and don't leave your devices charging for longer than they need to.
4. If you need to save money and you haven't switched energy suppliers, then please don't leave it another day. You could save hundreds of pounds per year and it's so easy to switch. Try a comparison website but do be aware that the companies featured pay to advertise so it's not a reflection of the entire market. If you're one of the two thirds of the UK population that don't like switching (and why should you have to?) then email firstname.lastname@example.org with your usage figures as I may have another option for you.
5. Did you know that switching to energy saving lightbulbs could save you hundreds of pounds per year? There's also a way to get them for free, email me at email@example.com for more information.
6. I never thought about this tip from thisismoney.co.uk – how about turning your oven off a few minutes before the timer? I'm not sure how much this will save you but it all helps. I like to leave the oven door open afterwards as it warms up my tiny kitchen without me having to put the heating on! If you're working from home, a slow cooker is also a good option and will save you money too.
7. Dryers and dishwashers are the biggest users of energy so if you can avoid them or use them as little as possible. Wait until you have a full load before switching on your washing machine and try washing clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40.
8. Check whether you could get a Green Homes Grant worth £5,000 which could be used to pay for loft, floor and wall insulation or double glazing. The government scheme was launched this September and it takes just a couple of minutes to see if you qualify for a free grant or help towards the costs.
9. Claim for added expenses. You can claim £6 a week for added expenses due to working from home but you'll need evidence of your costs. If you're self-employed include them on your self-assessment tax return under 'using your home as an office'. If you're employed contact your HR deptartment for more details.
10. Apply for the Warm Homes Discount Scheme. It doesn't open til October 12 but you'll need to get in early as although most companies offer this discount to their customers on low incomes there is a limit to how many times they'll pay out. If you've been given the discount in the past and haven't switched providers, it will be paid automatically. However, if you've switched suppliers or your circumstances have changed since last year it might be an idea to find out if your current provider is taking part.
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