Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.
Many will have read about the proposed price increases from British Gas in the news and at the end of summer, as the days get shorter and cooler, energy use also starts to rise. Getting ahead of the game with our energy saving ideas can help you save money on your gas and electricity bills.
Reducing our energy usage benefits not only ourselves in terms of money saving but it is also kinder to the world around us. Adapting our every day routines in small ways can have a big impact on the amount of gas or electricity we are using - and therefore how much we are paying out - and will also help protect the environment for the future.
Find a great deal If you use our Energy Comparison Service you can search out offers provided by every single energy supplier available. Start the process now so that you are up and running before the colder seasons. You may be thrilled with the savings you could make!
Be economical with your appliances. Washing machines (and dishwashers) cost the same to run whether they are full or not. Better to run one full load than two halves! Most clothes will wash perfectly well at 30°c. Turning the dial down from 40°c makes a difference. Is the sun shining? Dry clothes on a line whenever possible. Kettles, on the other hand, use more energy when they are full - only fill it with the amount of water you actually need.
Insulation is a winner! There are so many opportunites to retain heat in your home - by insulating the floor, cavity walls, your hot water tank and your attic (even the hatch). Remember to lag your pipes too.
Keep out the draughts. This goes hand in hand with keeping the heat in. Draught excluders along your doors and draught-proof stripping around your windows stop precious heat from being lost to cold air. Double glazing prevents heat loss, but if this is not possible, your local DIY store should stock double glazing film as an alternative. Just closing doors and curtains can make a difference to the temperature of your home.
Switch it off! Change the family habit - turn lights off when a room is empty. Appliances can be turned off completely rather than leaving them on standby. Charging mobile phones or tablets overnight is not only unnecessary when it comes to energy use but can also result in damage to the battery. Most require far less time to recharge.
Compare energy efficiency. Boilers over 10 years old may be worth replacing. New appliances come with energy ratings that you can compare before you buy. Their efficiency can vary widely. Change to energy efficient lightbulbs if you haven't already. Solar-powered outdoor lighting is sold everywhere these days so there is no shortage of choice.
Consider the little things. It is not just big changes that can make a difference. Turning down your thermostat by a mere 1°c could save you close to £100. Wearing an extra jumper rather than turning up the heating is an easy money saver!
Take meter readings. If you don't read your meter regularly, you may be paying a bill based on an estimate. These can be for far more than you actually owe. You may also be entitled to discounts or grants. Don't lose out on help that is available.
Make use of an energy monitor. These handy gadgets are not expensive and their ability to save you money makes them a great investment. Energy monitors display the amount of energy you use each day and which appliances are the worst culprits!