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How do I save money on my household bills?

gardener in yellow gloves
gardener in yellow gloves

You could save a fortune with a few simple changes that will trim money off your household expenses.

Saving money around the home is easier than you might think. From quick fixes such as switching off mobile phone and laptop chargers at the wall and fixing leaking taps, to finding out if you can get reduced council tax, you could start putting more cash in your pocket today.

Electricity and Gas

Switch it off

Ever grabbed your unused, but plugged in, mobile or laptop charger from the socket and found that it is warm? That’s because it has been drawing electricity even without your phone being connected at the other end. It’s unlikely to be responsible for saving you money off your next bill, but it all adds up. Make sure you unplug chargers or switch them off at the wall when you’ve finished using them.

The same often goes for things like TVs, games consoles and broadband routers. Even if you’re not using the internet your router is still eating electricity staying ready for when you need it next. Also, check the off button on your flat-screen TV isn’t just putting it on standby, likewise with your console. You can be sure ‘pulling the plug’ on all three will stop them drawing power and draining your wallet.

Hit the lights

An old one, but a good one – switch off lights when you’re not using them. If there’s no one in the room, chances are there’s no point the light being on and it’ll be costing you money with no additional benefit.

You can also consider switching to energy-efficient bulbs. They might be expensive in the short-term, but a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) could save you £45 over its lifetime, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Turn down the heat

Consider pulling on a jumper or stepping into some slippers before you turn your thermostat up when you feel the chill at home. Having your thermostat set just one degree lower can save up to 10% on your heating bills, according to domestic heating brand Drayton.

Water Meter

Drip, drip

Did you know a dripping tap can cost you around £100 a year? Calling a plumber to fix the problem might seem like an added expense now, but could actually save you money in the long run.

Feel flush

If you have a toilet that was installed before the year 2000 and therefore doesn’t have a dual flush, one very small change could save you a little every time you flush. A save-a-flush, also known as a ‘hippo’, is available from many water suppliers and takes the place of up to one litre of water in your toilet cistern. The less water your meter counts, the more cash you’ll save.

Council tax

Check your status

If you’re living on your own, are disabled (or live with someone who is), are experiencing money problems or are staying somewhere other than your house, you could be entitled to a discount on your council tax bill. Contact your local authority and ask if your situation means you should be paying less.

Circumstances

Certain personal circumstances might mean you should either be handing over less council tax, or none at all. If you live in a hard-to-sell property, are a victim of crime or your house has been affected by fire, floods or storms, you might be due a reduction on your council tax. The same applies if your home is partially or completely occupied by full-time students, or people under 18. Again, ask your local authority if you’re entitled to a reduction, or even an exemption, on your council tax.

Extra tips

Direct Debit

Consider paying your household bills by direct debit. Some suppliers will give you a small discount if you do and as it’s automatic, it also means the payment can’t be late so you don’t get hit with potential fees.

Note: If there is not enough money to cover the direct debt in your account, you may be charged a fee.

Bundles

There are hefty savings to be had if you opt to get things like your broadband, TV and phone through one supplier. Insurance companies may also offer a discount if you use the same business for your car, home, contents and pet insurance.

Switching suppliers

Comparison websites are big business because they can save you a tidy sum. These days, you can check if you can receive your electricity, gas or more or less any bill through the door with fewer numbers on it.

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