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Money saving

Is your house costing you money?

Posted 09 December 2015 by Christine Walsh

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Do you know whether your house is costing you more than it should be? Our five tips could make your home super economical and make all the difference to your budget.

If you’re trying to find a bit of extra money, either to save or to pay off debts, there may be certain things that you know you have to cut back on. Now, it’s easy enough to identify areas to spend less on because you’re aware that you’re spending that money in the first place – but what about the spending you don’t see?

We thought that we’d put together a blog that looks at how your home can be costing you money and stopping you from saving everything that you could be. If you don’t think that any of these things apply to you then – great! But make sure you check, because trying to save while your house is wasting money is like putting coins into a purse with a hole in it.

Here are our top tips for making your home an economical castle:

1.  Turn off devices at the plug.

According to Uswtich, a household spends, on average, an extra £80 on their electric bill every year, because appliances are left on standby rather than turned off at the plug point. Apparently, the worst offenders are televisions, set top boxes and phone chargers – so basically the things that we all use on a daily basis.

It’s easy to forget to do this little thing, but it could make a big difference overall, so try and get into a good habit and stop appliances costing you when you’re not even using them. You could put a little note by your bedside table reminding you to switch the switches off before you go to bed. Then you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that you’re not wasting energy through the night.

2.  Use energy saving bulbs.

Switching to energy saving bulbs isn’t hard and could cut the amount that your lighting is costing you. There are two types that you can get, known as Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). According to the Energy Saving Trust, the LEDs are more efficient and would save you more over the long-term (around £30 on your bill on average), but they’re also more expensive to buy in the first place.

Whichever type of bulb you go for, make sure you check your light fitting so you know you’re getting the right bulb to match and try to replace all your bulbs in your house for a greater impact on your bill.

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3.  Use Draft Excluders

You often hear people bemoaning the cost of their heating bill in the winter – it does seem to rocket doesn’t it. But have you considered whether a draft excluder might make a difference to the temperature in your house? Good ventilation is important for a home, as it stops condensation and damp, but a draught is different. A draught is no one’s friend, it lets in cold air and wastes precious heat – your money could literally be slipping through the cracks.

The Energy Saving Trust reckon that draught-proofing could save £25-£50 per year on your bill and it’s a pretty low-cost solution. Amazon and Ebay have lots of draught excluders to choose from. You’re going to want to look for draughts in the obvious places, like windows, doors, keyholes, but also by loft hatches and electrical fittings. Have a look at this video to learn how to safely draught-proof your home.

4.   See whether you could get a free boiler or insulation

Thanks to a wonderful thing called the Affordable Warmth Obligation, it’s sometimes possible to get loft/wall insulation or a new boiler completely free – you just have to meet the criteria. You would have to either own the property you wanted the work doing on or be renting privately and have obtained the Landlord’s permission. You also have to be receiving some kind of benefit, for a full list of benefits and details on how to apply, have a look here.

5.  See whether you can get your council tax reduced

Now if you live in your own place and you’re not a student you’ll know that council tax is an unavoidable expense. You need to pay the council to maintain the local area, keep the streetlamps lit and to take your rubbish away. Although, if you’re on a low income then you might be eligible for help in the form of the Council Tax Reduction also known as Council Tax Support. The rules about who qualifies and how much help they’ll get are a little complex, but you’ll find all the information that you need here.

So there you have it – five great ways to stop your house spending your money behind your back! You never know, by starting to make small changes here and there it could really free some money up in your household budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.