Budgeting for Rising Energy Prices
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll know that energy prices in the UK are rising higher and higher. While this might not have much of an impact for us as we move into the warmer months, it’s going to mean many people have a pretty lean autumn and winter. Thankfully, there are ways to budget for rising energy prices without causing serious detriment to your creature comforts.
Even though some of the tips may seem small and not very impactful right away, they will prove immensely useful over time. Are you doing enough to keep your bills as low as possible? Let’s find out.
Always send meter readings
Your energy supplier is always likely to come out to check your gas and electric meters occasionally. However, to keep ahead of high costs, you should always send in exact readings of your own whenever possible. This is because energy companies will charge you based on estimates if they can’t get precise readings.
This might not always work if you use an excessive amount of power. However, if you don’t normally consume too much energy each quarter, it’s a good idea to set a date each month to take down your meter readings and send them to your provider. Try doing so at the start or end of each calendar month, for example.
This is getting easier to do with the advent of apps that you can directly scan readings through. However, it’s just as easy as writing down the numbers and entering them in online!
Consider home insulation
Home insulation can be a massive boost to warmth and comfort in the colder months. This is because it effectively clads or cushions the empty spaces in your walls – therefore locking in the heat. As you can imagine, this can lead homeowners needing to turn up the heating less and less – therefore, bills are often lower in households with full insulation in place.
If you’ve not already considered insulation, it may be worthwhile consulting your local council or authority. What’s more, if you’ve already undergone insulation several years ago, it could be that there are parts of your home that are either lacking insulation or where said insulation has been damaged by water.
Either way, having it checked, replaced, or even installed outright is a small investment compared to the costs you could rack up on higher heating for the whole cold season. In many cases, too, councils will offer grants to provide homes with insulation they sorely need.
Switch out your light bulbs
We all know that we should turn off the lights when we leave a room, although sadly, that can be easy to forget! So, to help ensure that you use less energy whenever your lights are on, opt for low-energy bulbs. Specifically, you should look to invest in LEDs – which are lower-power and considerably cheaper to run compared to traditional filament bulbs.
It may even be worth scrapping your current bulbs outright – as LEDs can last for thousands of hours before you’ll need to buy anew. This is an adjustment you’ll start to see bringing bills down in the years to come.
Use your appliances wisely
Many people, especially those of us who live alone or in smaller households, are used to using appliances even when there’s not much need. Utilities such as the dishwasher and washing machine can easily be run without having to fill them up completely. However, running them unnecessarily will – of course, rack up the costs. Dryers and washers are some of the most money-hungry of your kitchen goods.
Therefore, whether you live alone or in a smaller household, try to use your appliances only when they are full. It may mean having to wait a little longer to do laundry, but it will make a huge difference.
It’s also worth taking a look at the ‘peak’ hours offered in your energy tariff. In many cases, energy companies will charge higher rates for peak usage, usually determined as weekends and evenings. Therefore, if you are fortunate enough to work from home, it may be worth doing laundry on weekday afternoons to save cash.
You can also save on using irons and steamers by keeping your wrinkled or creased clothes in the bathroom when you are showering. The steam may take a few run-throughs to really make a difference, but it does work and can save cash if you do not need your clothes immediately.
Invest in low-energy appliances
If your appliances are coming to the end of their lives, take advantage of the current boom in energy efficiency. Keep an eye out for the new energy ratings label – it’s been simplified to grade machines from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient, and G being costly to run.
Everything from dishwashers to fridges are becoming more energy and budget-friendly to run – meaning that if your white goods are showing their age, it’s probably time to swap them out for more efficient models whenever you can.
Check your energy tariff carefully
It’s easy to fall into a trap of purely letting your energy supplier run your home on their ‘basic’ tariff. This tends to happen if you let contracts roll over from year to year. Watch out, however – as by and large, these tariffs are going to seriously squeeze you for money.
It’s therefore a great idea to take a look at the tariff you’re registered to online if you can. Most of the big suppliers – British Gas, NPower, Scottish Power, eon and others – will give you the opportunity to check rates. What’s more, you’ll normally be able to switch over with minimal fuss, and at no extra cost.
This is not a fully comprehensive list of all you can do to prepare for rising energy prices – be smart about your expenditure! Of course, it stands to reason to manage your usage carefully – but by putting the above tips into practice first, you’ll be several steps ahead of price spikes set to come in the seasons ahead.