Current affairs

Counting the Pennies: 10 Steps to Lowering Your Domestic Energy Bill

07 Apr 2022 | Written by By Sandra Falconer

Initially, the astronomic rises in domestic fuel left me reeling. My income is subject to very small increases which go nowhere near matching the rate of inflation. That spurred me into action. I was on a mission – how could I reduce my usage bill? In this article, I share some of the ways that work for me.

There can be few people who are not worried about the rising cost of gas and electricity. Many of us could probably withstand a modest increase but the projected prices are frightening. Some people, I am sure, will have to choose between eating and heating.

However, while we cannot do very much about the costs per unit, we can do a lot about how much we actually use. My aim is to reduce my consumption to the point where I will be paying little more than I am now.
I have omitted from the list obvious measures we are probably already implementing, such as switching off lights in empty rooms and using draft excluders.



1. Switch the thermostat down.

Each degree lower will save approximately 4%. If you feel too warm, reach for the central heating dial rather than taking off a jumper. To acclimatise myself, I’ve been reducing mine gradually. Over the space of three months, I have gone, painlessly, from 21 to 17 degrees and felt more comfortable in the process.

2. Invest in a heated blanket.

They cost very little to run and what could be cosier than snuggling up under a warm cover to watch a favourite tv programme. You would be able to further reduce that thermostat.

3.  When boiling the kettle, keep a flask handy for the unused hot water.

It can be used for later cuppas, water for pasta or even a hot water bottle. Of course, it’s better to boil only what you need but that may not be enough to cover the element. Also, although I don’t want to drink fewer cups of tea, I’m happy to drink herbal teas which still taste good if I forget to drink them straight away.

4. Showering for 1 minute less will save you up to £75 per year.

A speedy shower could save you much more than just time.

5. Use the cold water tap for handwashing.

By the time warm water reaches the taps, you have finished washing anyway. Apparently, this does not diminish cleanliness.

6. Keep the tumble dryer for emergencies only.

If you can’t dry your washing outside, spin it well and hang it on a clothes horse overnight. By morning it will be almost dry (a 1400rpm spin speed helps here).

7. Ditch the dishwasher.

You will heat much less water and also save on dishwasher tablets which are more expensive than washing up liquid.

8. Use the economy cycle of the washing machine for lightly soiled washing.

I’ve been surprised that most garments still wash clean. I wash towels and really dirty things in a longer, hotter wash, but at least 60% of my weekly laundry can cope with a short 30-degree cycle.

9. Stop ironing.

It comes as a shock to people of our generation to realise just how little we need to iron. I iron only what is absolutely essential which at the moment is little more than my granddaughter’s school uniform (though I used to joke that I told my own children not to take off their school jumpers before the creases had dropped out.)

10. Reduce your reliance on the oven.

Slow cookers, pressure cookers, steamers and microwaves are all more cost effective. Some dishes absolutely need oven cooking. I’m sure all our thrifty Joy Clubbers already fill the oven shelves on those occasions. I’ve been known to bake a batch of cookies to utilise an empty shelf. It may seem like false economy, but I saved £4 by not buying them from Ringtons. Also, if you boil up your vegetables, then switch off the heat leaving the lid on the pan, they will continue to cook themselves. I even have it in mind to try a modern variation of the haybox my own mother used when I was small.
Here is a video which introduces the process:

I hope members will find these points useful – apologies if I’m preaching to the converted. I’m trialling other methods that are still very much in the experimental stage, for example using solar lights (the tip of the iceberg). The list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start, and it would be interesting to hear from other members about their own cost-saving methods.

Do you have any cost saving methods? Share them with members in the comments below. 

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