We're approaching the end of the year at break-neck speed, and that means many different things to different people. For some, the winter months mean festive cheer and fun family celebrations with the people you love most. For others, while those happy thoughts are in the pipeline, there's a more pressing concern to worry about in the form of impending winter energy bills.
During the colder months of the year, we find ourselves consistently struggling with bigger, more worrying expenses. As the weather gets colder, thermostats are cranked all the way up, and we spend a lot more time indoors, watching television, using electricity, and avoiding the outdoors.
The good news is that if you're dreading a painful energy bill in the New Year, there are things you can do to begin cutting down costs. Here are some simple and effective ways to bring your energy expenses down to a minimum.
1. Switch Energy Providers
Changing energy providers can seem like an unnecessary waste of time and effort. Most of us would rather avoid the complexity involved with calling up our supplier and explaining why we no longer want to use them for our electricity or gas. On top of that, you also need to spend extra time looking for an option that's cheaper and more effective.
Though switching can seem like a pain in the neck, the truth is that changing to a more effective provider for your needs could save you hundreds every year. All you need to do is get online and check out a few energy comparison websites. It's that simple.
2. Pay Bills by Direct Debit
Rather than waiting for your energy bills to come to you in the post, and then trying to find the money to pay for them in a mad rush, you could always set up an account to pay a certain amount each month. This is often a much cheaper way of doing things. With a monthly direct debit, your supplier should be able to estimate yearly usage and spread your bill over 12 months too.
You'll probably overpay a little during the summer months when the weather's good, but this also means that you should be able to store up extra credit for the winter. Just remember to call up now and again and give your supplier an accurate meter reading.
3. Stop Leaving Things on Standby
How often do you go out to pick up your shopping, or work at your 9-to-5 job, while leaving various electronics on standby around your home? You might leave your television playing to itself, or even a few light switches turned on around the home.
While this might not seem like much of a problem, leaving your devices on standby does drain your cash quicker than you might expect. Most households waste around £30 a year leaving their devices on standby when they're not being used. While this doesn't sound like much in the grand scheme of things, it's enough to make you think twice about turning things off when you leave home.
4. Turn the Heating Down
The concept of turning the thermostat down a notch or two when you can see the frost building outside might seem like madness, but the truth is that it could do wonders for your energy bills.
Ultimately, you should never put yourself in a position where you're freezing, or risk illness, but if you can simply reduce your thermostat slightly and throw on a jumper instead, then you could save a lot of money.
Try wrapping yourself up in a nice warm blanket the next time you're feeling chilly, instead of cranking up the radiators and taking your layers off.
5. Change to a Smarter Thermostat
Finally, if you've got a little cash for an initial investment, or you can afford to take out a personal loan, then it might be a good idea to switch to a smarter heating system in your home that allows you to place your radiators on a timer. This way, you can make sure that you're only heating your property when you're going to benefit from the extra warmth.
Timers on your thermostat can ensure that you don't need to leave your heating running all day when you're out at work just, so you can come home to a warm flat or house. Your thermostat will naturally turn itself up at a certain time each day so that your home welcomes you back with just the right amount of heat.