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According to research conducted last year, the average household spends just over £3,000 on essential bills every year, which include gas, electricity, water, phone, TV and council tax, so try these 5 useful strategies to reduce the amount of money you spend on your bills every month and pocket the difference!

  1. Using timers on power plugs

Standby power is the new ‘off’ and that’s not a great thing! While your appliances may not consume much energy during standby mode, think of the amount of appliances you have and how long they are on standby for – it all adds up.

Installing a few timers throughout your home is a great way to make your home more energy efficient. You can set your appliances (such as the TV or a console) to automatically switch off completely during the hours you don’t need it and you could save up to £86 per year

  1. Switching off plugs at night

You could avoid or reduce the number of power plug timers by simply turning off as many energy sapping items as possible before you go to bed every night. For example

  • Lights
  • Heating
  • TV and dvd player
  • The internet
  • Video consoles and computers
  • Stereo
  • Microwave and cooker
  • Rechargers

Don’t turn off the fridge freezer though unless you want sour milk for breakfast and soggy fish fingers for tea!

  1. Insulating rooms

Do you find your heating is constantly on during the winter months? If your house is well insulated then it will keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Bad insulation is like wearing a coat but having the zip undone – you’ll still get cold!

There are plenty of schemes out there to help you with the cost of insulating your home if you’re on tax credits, a low income or receiving certain benefits. British Gas is currently offering free insulation plus a £25 gift card, and you don’t even have to be a British Gas customer.

For a quick fix try putting curtains up over doors, ensure that curtains over windows aren’t blocking radiators and you could even make your own festive draught excluder. 

According to the Energy Trust draught proofing around windows and doors could save you up to £50 per year!

  1. Setting your washing machine temperatures

Detergents are becoming more and more effective at washing clothes at lower-than-40-degree heat. While most washing machines have a standard 40-degree wash, many can be programmed to wash at lower temperatures. It’ll still get your clothes clean but at a fraction of the cost.

Since December 2013 all washing machines in the UK must have a 20°C setting. Which! found this option reduced running costs by up to 66%!

Thanks to the quality of most detergents a 20°C wash will usually do the job. If you are washing whites, or your clothes have some particularly stubborn stains then you may need to wash them at a higher heat, which will work out cheaper than rewashing clothes.

Also, avoiding the use of a dryer will significantly reduce your annual energy costs. The 118 118 twins like to dry their running shorts outside (when it’s not raining of course!).

  1. Comparing alternative suppliers

Once you have made these low cost energy saving ideas it’s time to look at your current supplier and compare what other providers are offering. Price comparison sites are really useful for saving you both time and money, here are just a few to get you started:

According to MoneySavingsExpert.com cheap fixed tariffs now undercut the big six suppliers’ standard costs by £290/year for those with typical usage. There is a lot more choice in the market these days so shop around on a couple of comparison sites to find out what the cheapest deals are.

Many also offer additional incentives like loyalty points, gifts or additional discounts if you also switch other utility bills to them.

Be aware that some utility suppliers do credit checks when you apply to switch, which could affect any loan applications you may do in the near future. Find out which suppliers will run credit checks if you switch your supplier.

Remember 118 118 money are here to help. We have top tips and helpful hints for all your finance needs. If you want advice we’re just a phone call away and remember we’d love to hear about your money saving successes!