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Your best food & heating saving tips

(199 Posts)
welshbyrd Sun 21-Aug-11 12:33:07

Last few days, I have come across 2 threads about expensive food/gas/electric have become, a lot of Mnrs have replied to these thread, like me, are scared about winter food/bills shooting up

In my situation Im all ready stretched to the max, so really am dreading this winter in the UK, I have looked up a few weather predicting sites, they are all saying this winter is going to be worse, than the last four sad

From reading these threads I know Im not alone is being worried.Some very kind poster mailed me the £30 a week meal planner, I really am truly grateful
Has anyone else got any money saving idea/experience that can make mine and other Mnrs winter more bearable?

welshbyrd Sun 21-Aug-11 12:34:20

I apologies in advance if those 2 Original thread OPs are upset, I know this is a thread about another thread, its not meant to be though

Yourefired Sun 21-Aug-11 12:39:19

Not sure if mentioned on other threads (excellent tip about 16 degrees on continually for most efficient way to heat house by the way) but I was taught that stir-frys use the least energy for a hot meal. Think they call it "cooking with the knife".

ChippyMinton Sun 21-Aug-11 12:45:48

If your windows are draughty, get thermal curtain linings or sew in an extra layer eg old blankets.

Apply via your local council for free/reduced price loft and cavity wall insulation.

Wear extra clothes and slippers rather than turning up the heating.

Stuff all the gaps in wooden floors and put down rugs

[lives in draughty old house with warm-blooded DH emoticon]

LadyThumb Sun 21-Aug-11 12:50:58

I agree with yourefired - keep heating on a very low setting all the time. It is a false economy to turn it on and off. Apart from baths, do not heat a whole tank of hot water every day just for washing up etc. (although you may have a combi boiler).

Get a slow cooker or a Remoska for one-pot cooking. Boil the kettle for a drink, then fill a thermos flask with the remaining hot water (not too good for tea, but great for making coffee).

Close all curtains at dusk in the Winter. Get curtains thermal lined even if you've got double glazing.

ChippyMinton Sun 21-Aug-11 13:07:21

Encourage (quick) showers instead of baths.

With the heating, it's trial and error, I think. I leave it on continuous for a few days to properly warm up the walls, and then only have the heating on for an hour in the morning, then on again at teatime until bedtime. We are out during the day, and its too hot at night, so this works for us.

ChippyMinton Sun 21-Aug-11 13:08:05

Meant to add that the curtains stay closed upstairs during the winter too, if we are all out.

booyhoo Sun 21-Aug-11 13:13:53

~go to charity shops for blankets and heavy curtains. you mightn't get the prettiest designs but for draught exclusion they are great. i have always struck lucky in charity shops.

~ if you have an open fire or wood burning stove, collect wood from local walks/forests etc (obviously only the stuff that is on the ground) if you see wood in skips, ask the owner if you can have it.

~ make draught excluders using old pairs of tights. dont cut the legs off, keep them as one and stuff them with old scraps of fabric, plastic bags (if you dont re-use them), old cushion stuffing. then when both legs are done stitch a seam up the centre at the top (bum part) to separate the legs and also attatch the two feet together using a short (3 inches) piece of fabric/string. this should slide under your door and you will have a double sided excluder.

~ only heat rooms you use and decide on which room you will spend most time in over the winter to prevent loads of doors being left open/lights on/radiators on etc.

~ it's an oldie but a goodie, meal plan and freeze as much as you can store so you will have lots in stock in the event of being snowed in.

~if you are buying oil, check boilerjuice to see if there are any companies already delivering in your area. there are often reductions if 2 or 3 of your neighbours are getting a delivery at the same time.

~ close curtains as soon as it starts to get darker in the evening rather than waiting till dark.

~ make a foil panel for behind the radiators that will be on. i used large cardboard boxes and taped tin-foil on one side to reflect the heat back into the room rather than letting it go out through the wall.

~ put layers of blankets under your bed sheet rather than on top of your duvet. i find this keeps me so much warmer than the blankets on top method.

LineRunner Sun 21-Aug-11 13:15:48

Beware of 'economical' recipes that involve food being simmered or baked for an hour or more, and which then require half an hour in the oven for an aesthetic brown topping!

Agree with the rest. 16 degrees. Showers. Curtains. Insulating tape around doors and windows.

Educate everyone out of 'stand-by' mode, and turn TVs, computers and radios off when no-one's actually using them.

Laundry is a big user of electricity, so educate everyone into only putting clothes in to wash that need to be. Too often my DS will sling a pair of jeans into the wash basket he's worn for an hour, because he can't be arsed to hang them up! (I do pick them out and hand them back to him.)

booyhoo Sun 21-Aug-11 13:16:10

oh yes, have your shower at night time before bed to warm you up. i always sleep better after a shower at night.

TrillianAstra Sun 21-Aug-11 13:43:21

Get a proper thermostat so that your heating is on to heat up the house, then turns itself off when the correct temperature is reached, then turns on again as soon as the temperature drops.

<living in rented house and wish boiler was suitable to have this>

welshbyrd Sun 21-Aug-11 22:51:53

Thanks for the replies

I really do like blankets under the bed sheet idea, and Im always warm after a shower, so great idea to shower before bed
I am a massive water bottle fan, even for the DCs, I do not let them keep it over night, I put one in their beds a hour or so before bedtime, and every now and again move it to another area of the bed, so its warm in a few places, when they go to bed, I whip it out, and have put it in my bed smile

squeakytoy Sun 21-Aug-11 22:56:36

Buy meat and veg when it has been reduced in price.. make huge stews and freeze them into smaller foil containers (very cheap at the pound shop). Take advantage of BOGOF when it is something that can be frozen too. Even if it is potatoes, you can make up batches of mash, and freeze too. This also has the added advantage of saving on electric because you are making a few meals in one go.

Buy Bogofs, reduced price stuff and freeze.

Look down in the supermarket as they put the most expensive stuff at eye level and the cheaper stuff near the floor.

Work out which of the value items you like and only buy branded stuff if it really does taste much better to you.

Cheese freezes well so you can buy a big block and freeze portions.

If you are using the oven cook a couple of batches or two meals at once.

If you have a local market check it out for fruit and veg it can work out cheaper than the supermarket.

Avoid using a tumble drier unless you have to get something dry urgently.

TaraJaime Sun 21-Aug-11 23:21:59

Although it's important to save money, do make sure you have yours & DCs bedrooms heated at night - also encourage any OAPs you know to do the same.
Breathing in cold air all night can exacerbate respiratory problems for all ages; & it can make the elderly more prone to strokes & blood clots. I could give a few examples of people who I know whose health has suffered or who have died from sleeping in very cold rooms.
So the air needs to be at a fairly warm temperature, not just the bedding. My mum uses a plug in electric convector heater - I know heating of all types is expensive but it's more important to have a warm bedroom than to spend the money on using electricity (eg) for other things like watching TV.
I'm concerned though too as my wages will be going down & am in lots of debt, I'm renting out the spare room soon like everyone else has to but I do find it very hard to trust strangers.

Our Victorian house is always cold (even in summer!) even with the heating on.

We tend to wear fleecy dressing gowns all evening tbh, although I do have one or two cashmere jumpers that are brilliantly warm layers and probably better looking than my dressing gown!

Also, legwarmers and warm socks - if your feet are warm it's easier to convince yourself that the rest of you is warm too!

Make a huge pan of vegetable soup on a Sunday afternoon then you can add more vege and water to it over the next couple of days and it's lovely and filling and warming. You can have it as a full meal with bread and then a hot pudding, or you could even have a small bowl as a starter so that you need less of whatever else you might be having.

Sainsbo's do three big bags of frozen fruit for a fiver and these are great fro crumbles/crisps etc.

We turn the heating off at about ten o' clock - I don't like being too hot once I'm in bed.

Oh and yes to hot water bottles!

squeakytoy Sun 21-Aug-11 23:35:23

Heat from the downstairs rooms will rise to the bedrooms and should be sufficient if the windows are not draughty.

I have never had heating in the bedroom. Grew up in a house with no central heating, or double glazing, and on occasions where I have slept in a room with heating I always wake up with a dry throat or a cough.

Fatshionista Sun 21-Aug-11 23:37:11

I second buying reduced vegetables or meat to freeze and making big meals to freeze as extras.

Keep a good stock of bottled water in case your pipes freeze.

16 degrees is enough for most but I find with my Fibro it has to be 18 at least.

Hot water bottles, blankets, thermal underwear, socks, slippers = excellent.

hiddenhome Sun 21-Aug-11 23:37:29

Wear a wooly hat and thermal socks in the house.

Buy a slow cooker as they don't use much electricity.

We don't use the central heating, we just rely on the woodburner to provide all our heat. We have a combi boiler for hot water. We go out collecting random logs and sticks for the burner.

Ooh yes - M&S do fairly cheap thermals and they do work well.

Fatshionista Sun 21-Aug-11 23:41:31

Am now worried about winter.

AuntiePickleBottom Sun 21-Aug-11 23:41:37

i pay more on my gas in the summer months, the rate is cheaper.
i am getting solar panels fitted for free smile so i don't pay for electric until 5pm ( so i will get all my washing drying ect done in those hours)

www.freesolarpanelsuk.co.uk/

also meal planning and not falling for supermarket gimics

squeakytoy Sun 21-Aug-11 23:53:16

Keep internal doors closed whenever you can to retain heat.

If you have the heating on, and have a radiator under a window, put your curtains down the back of the radiator.. you will be amazed at how much heat that keeps in the room.

Dont leave the upstairs bathroom/toilet window open. Rising heat will soon escape through that window.

strictlovingmum Sun 21-Aug-11 23:57:58

Abolished gas altogether, installed multi fuel (secondhand) stove in the kitchen, using it to cook on, central heating and hot water, stove runs on wood, wood pallets and coal.
Last year fuel bill was £660 for 10 months of bitter winter, four bed house, gas bill for previous year £1148, we have saved lot of money and have been really warm last winter.

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