Most of us have felt the pinch this year, possibly more than ever. With COVID-19, lockdowns, and inflation all having an impact, many are feeling the pressure. |
So how can we save money during the winter season, when costs can be even higher than normal due to increased heating bills and the expenses of Christmas? Let’s look at a few ideas.
Switch Energy Providers
An energy crisis has hit us over the past year, with many energy suppliers going bust and the surviving ones raising their prices significantly.
Those on a fixed tariff have been told that ‘fixed’ is a loose term based on the price of gas, rather than how much you are charged each month, and those not on a fixed tariff are facing extreme price hikes.
So what can you do?
Have a look on a comparison website to see who is offering the cheapest tariffs and the best incentives to change over. But with the uncertainty facing our energy suppliers, be sure to speak to an advisor to see what guarantees the company can make.
In the meantime, are you doing all you can to save energy in your home?
Turn Off The Lights!
If your parents were constantly telling you to turn off the lights when you weren't in the room, chances are you’re still leaving them on as an adult. Leaving a standard lightbulb on for 8 hours can cost up to 77p, which does not sound a lot on its own. But if you do this all week, that suddenly becomes over £5 every week.
Have a look for energy-saving light bulbs that can reduce the cost to keep them on, and make sure you turn all the lights off when you leave a room.
Plan Your Energy Use
Plan throughout the day how to best utilise your gas and electricity use. If your oven/hob is on, what else can you be cooking? Having a meal plan for the entire week will allow you to cook ahead of time, reducing the amount of gas and electricity you use.
Do you have the heating on all day? It's getting colder and we all enjoy coming home to a warm house - but this uses a lot of gas. Set a timer throughout the day so that your heating only comes on when it is most needed.
Use Your Vehicles Efficiently
Despite often being essential, having a car can be a massive expense to any family - especially when something breaks. How many of us examine our car’s oil, water, and air pressure levels on a regular basis? These little checks may not be at the top of our priority list, but not doing them can lead to expensive visits to your local garage!
Make sure you perform some regular and essential checks so you don't get caught out with avoidable breakdowns.
Even if your car is in tip-top condition, one of the biggest expenses is the fuel it takes to run it. Could you be doing more to save fuel?? For example, avoid making unnecessary journeys and speak with family and friends about car sharing.
Batch-Cook Your Meals
Food prices have also risen, but bulk-buying things like pasta and rice - then planning your meals around them - can help to keep your costs as low as possible.
And as the weather gets colder, take advantage of batch-cooked winter recipes like stews, cottage pies, and casseroles. You can cook enough to feed an army and freeze it in portions!
Not only will this help you save on the gas it takes to cook, but you can also bulk-buy the ingredients. Play your cards right and you can fill your freezer with home-cooked food for the same price as a week's shopping.
Learn How To Lunchbox
Think outside the box for your little one's lunchtime options. Ask them if they would like pasta pots that you can cook the night before. One pack of pasta and a jar of bolognese sauce will feed multiple children 5 days a week at school, for less than a supermarket meal deal.
If pasta pots are not an option, think about alternatives such as curried rice, homemade lunchables, or homemade pasties made from cottage pie leftovers. Just because you are on a budget, does not mean they need to be bored at lunchtimes!
Have A Home-Made Christmas
'Tis the season to be jolly,' as the song goes. But with Christmas becoming more and more expensive, the pressure on struggling families can be overwhelming. So instead of buying expensive store-bought gifts, have a go at making them yourself!
About The Author: This article was written by Alex Belsey - a B2B magazine editor and digital marketing agency owner from the UK. Alex is the Founder of New Frontiers Marketing
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