Three Clicks to Cut Your Energy Bill
The Key To Cutting The Cost Of Energy
OK, let’s start by sneaking in a possible fourth click. If you have a little time to spend on this, take a look at the BBC iWonder guide to get the big picture. iWonder aims to show how various changes could slash your energy bills by up to 30%. It is a good starting point, if you have time, to get you thinking about what’s involved in cutting energy costs.
What did I get from it? Ahem… the stunning insight that (duh!) it’s only the energy you use that you pay for – so the key to paying less is using less. So this is not just about me switching supplier – it’s about using less energy so we pay less for it. As with so many aspects of thrifty living, cutting energy bills involves changing our habits so that we don’t mindlessly spend more than we need to, but instead mindlessly spend less. This is The Tartan Thrifty Way, so you would think I might already have worked that out…
In truth, my attempts to keep our energy bills in check thus far have been limited to buying gas and electricity from the same supplier, changing to the cheapest tariff every so often and paying by direct debit. So this week I will be tariff-checking again and looking at changing our elderly boiler – but over the rest of the year I will bite the energy-saving-bullet and start trying to change our habits too so that we use less energy. Watch this space.
Which Sites Will Cut Your Energy Bills?
There are thousands of sites aiming to help you cut your gas and electricity bills and I have trawled – oh – lets say about half of them. OK, that’s a complete lie – I looked at 25 and then realised how much money I had spent on laptop power to do so and wondered if it was worth it. Well, these three sites were. These are the ones I will definitely be going back to in my quest to cut our utility bills.
The Consumer Association website provides comprehensive and thoroughly researched coverage of every aspect of reducing your gas and electricity bill, from reducing the amount of energy you use to getting the cheapest deals. It has lots of hints and tips I didn’t know about (for example, it’s cheaper to dry your clothes on a clothes horse than on a radiator) and answers to questions I have often wondered about (how much would it actually add to our monthly budget if we used a tumble drier? More than Tartandad is prepared to pay, apparently.) And, being Which?, it allows comparisons of products such as fridge-freezers to let you work out which will run cheapest for the longest. You have to pay to access these reviews but it’s only £1 for trial membership and will save you a lot more than that in the long run – this is one to do when you have already done your background research and thought through what you want from a purchase rather than for idle clicking.
If you want to reduce energy bills by reducing energy use, Money Saving Expert is the site to start on. There is a wealth of information here but I particularly like the section where the MSE team and their army of thrifters examine all the common tips on saving energy to let you sort out the ones that will really work for you. It answered the years-long debate between myself and Tartandad – is it cheaper to leave your heating on all the time or not? I am a yay he is a nay. Much as it pains me to admit it, he is right. Thanks a bunch MSE…
Comparison websites are an obvious first place to go if you are planning to save money on utilities by switching suppliers but it could be worth going via a cashback site like Top Cashback or Quidco to get an even better deal. Use MSE to check what the latest offers from all the comparison sites are – free wine, gift vouchers, money off, etc – and then use the one with the most appealing offer. In addition to letting you compare different energy providers, uSwitch in particular provides a fair whack of information about various aspects of cutting your energy consumption as well as explaining what the different bits of your energy bill mean. An informed consumer is an empowered consumer. Power to the people! Cheaply, mind.