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Oh Yes..Gas Prices up in time for Xmas. Seasons Savings Tips..

(6 Posts)
KingKaren Thu 18-Oct-12 11:54:01

Last July we just had to move house because my two daughters were falling over each other in their small bedrooms and our Landlord had threatened another rent rise in the space of 12 months!.. It was OK when they were children but now they are teenagers we just outgrew the place. All was fine at the time, hubby in a paid job.. meeting all the bills.. just about.. and no seriously high credit lines. We decided we couldn't afford a holiday with the move and took the girls on a few day trips. The new house was a little more expensive but well worth the step up for the extra space. Only problem was that every room in the house except for the bathrooms had spots in and kids being kids they just leave them on all the time no matter how many times you tell them. Our first winter utility bills at Christmas were ridiculous!! over £330 for electric and Gas!!! worse still my hubby was made redundant in December so things weren't about to get better..

We sat down in January to work out ways of saving money whilst my husband, I'll call him 'D' bless him was planning to set up his own business (more stress? as if we needed any more).. Some of the ideas we came up with are not exactly totally original but you might find something useful even if it's just one little thing, it all adds up and with Gas prices going up again just in time for winter.. which to me is like being punched in the face when you've got a toothache.. they should all be up on an ABH charge or have an ASBO slpped on them seriously!!

Anyway because we had cut down bills and costs as much as we could last year it is going to be even more difficult this year but we still think we have managed to save a few more pennies per week. This is what we did last year and how we think we saved, if you have any other ideas please reply because we are always looking for more! We also looked at how we could make a few more pounds per day to double up the effect. I haven't got too much time to go into these now but can reply with some of them when I have more time if anybody is interested just let me know, it's not about selling on ebay or doing car boots but it makes me anywhere between £50 and £200 per month.

utilities - This is the easy stuff a lot of which you may already be doing smile

Our oven is a Ranger (we are renting so had no choice) and it takes forever to heat up, you could almost cook a meal in the time it takes to get it up to temperature, so was using massive amounts of electricity. It doesn't really matter what type of oven you have to be honest you should still get some savings out of this idea if you haven't already discovered them, but the halogen cooker has been a real God Send. It uses about a 3rd of the electricity as our regular oven which we now only use for when we have a Sunday Roast. if you shop around you can find one for probably under £30 but make sure it's big enough to take Pizza!! This one I found on amazon but you can find others elsewhere but it will take almost all Pizza sizes and is down from £89 (so they say?) www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00577W84M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00577W84M&linkCode=as2&tag=pauwel0d-21

We then got ourselves a free energy monitor and put it in the kitchen. they are really easy to set up, you just have to put one piece of the monitor on one of the cables in your electricity meter box. Now everytime D sees a bigger than usual number on the monitor he knows the girls have left some lights on somewhere and goes and switches them off. It gets a bit annoying listening to him all the time but I know it is saving us money! It also taught us how much each different thing that uses electricity costs us, like the cooker and the halogen spots. We decided to replace all of the spots with energy saving ones. They are really expensive but work out better in the long run. When I say replace all, we actually only replaced half of them the other half we took out altogether and just left the bulbs in around the edge of the room . We now have 3 lamps in the living room, and in bedrooms with energy saver bulbs which is more cosy anyway and the main lights only go on from time to time. In the evening we leave 1 lamp or light on in all areas of the house (hall and landing) so the girls aren't tempted to switch main lights on and off and with the energy saving lightbulbs (buy from a trade type store not a supermarket) it barely registers on the monitor! You can get a free energy monitor here.. monetisetrk3.co.uk/?a=1533&c=5859&s1= or just phone your electricity supplier. We get both gas and electricity from British Gas and one other tip if you can do it is to pay monthly online because you can collect nectar points but also because it's easier to manage and there are no real big bill surprises. D has actually been paying more by giving higher meter readings in the summer when the bills are lower (not as crazy as it sounds) because in the winter when we give them actual meter readings the bills are a little lower.

Water Rates - This is a really good tip which I'd never heard of before, but can help reduce your water rates. We now have a house brick in each toilet cystern which means that it needs less water to fill up. depending on the size of your toilet cystern (and how many kids you have!) this can save you up to about 10% on your water bills. You can try two if you want as long as it still flushes, but we can really only get away with one.. we tested it. You will also need to check them from time to time as they will erode and get smaller. Dont use anything which is porous like a breeze block.. as abviously this will soak up the water. Slate is really the best as it won't absorb anything!

Heating is the biggest bill by far and really nothing we could do here apart from trying not to keep the heating on too long. We are still working on the best way to manage keeping the house warm. Is it best to try and maintain a constant temperature by setting the timer to bring it on regularly and sort of top up the heat or only turn it on when it starts getting cold? We have played around so much with this, but D thinks that maintaining a constant temperature is best. we have done all the other stuff like turning radiators off upstairs and just letting the heat from downstairs make the bedrooms liveable. This will work for autumn but not really for winter. the other thing we do (if you are at home to do it) is not to air the bedrooms in the morning when it is the coldest. Try and air the bedrooms in the middle of the day when the temperature is higher outside. It will take two or three times as long to replace the heat if you do it in the morning. One other thing you can do is probably obvious, but we have taped up any main windows in living areas with cheap sticky sponge draft excluder all around the edges. You can remove in the summer. Not an original trick but it does stop the drafts. Sorry can't give you more on gas, any other suggestions would be welcome!

I think I have gone on enough.. but the other savings we made were from cancelling some of our small insurances for the TV and the kids TV's. these were adding up to nearly £16 a month. can be dangerous, but we have got away with it so far! We shopped around and changed insurances too for house and car. If you are over 50 now you can get much better rates so is worth checking out on the car at least.

Bad Habits - Yes we are both smokers and have moved on to roll ups but are trying to give up as we know this could save us maybe £1500 per year. I have tried patches (but they hurt my arm and I can't get on with them) and have heard bad things about the tablets so am thinking of giving these electronic cigarettes a go? We are both going to give them a try before Xmas which will help with the bills. If anyone has used them let me know I got an email from this site with this free trial I am thinking of trying out www.getthecheapest.com/give-up-smoking-trial-kit/ I also got 4 copies of heat magazine on here for £1. Not everbody's read but better than paying £1.65 for just one issue!

Any more money saving tips to help fight of the big bad energy companies let me know! And if you would like to know more about making a few extra pounds a week especially if you have facebook or twitter, not required but helps a lot, then let me know too.

merry Xmas British Gas (not)..

I'm going for a lie down now!

KK

mrsfuzzy Thu 18-Oct-12 12:48:16

by heck after reading you post i needed 2 asprin and a mug of char phew!you been through the mangle financially but look at you now, getting it all sorted, and better off as a result, some matters are not for discussion but for the best part h and me keep the kids in the loop about finances, and have them suggesting menu options to save money, showers instead of baths, wearing a sweater rather than putting the heating on unless we have to the list is endless, i'm going to follow some of your ideas too, thanks.

cappucinogirl4 Sat 20-Oct-12 19:34:02

Hi I've switched over to a electronic cig and its brill. Google skycig I got a really good deal- about £30 to get started and spend £7 on refills a week instead of £35 on fags!
Well done on cutting your costs down. And hope your dh's business takes off.

KingKaren Mon 22-Oct-12 13:55:58

Thanks mrsfuuzy and cappucinogirl4 I will definitely take a look at these. I hear you can mix your own refills by buying the ingredients.. not sure how dangerous that might be but sort of defeats the object of giving up I suppose if you go to those lengths? Are you using to try and give up or just as replacement therapy?

cappucinogirl4 Mon 22-Oct-12 16:33:40

Yikes ! I don't know how you would make your own refills - sounds a bit dangerous! I am using it at as a replacement at the moment.You don't get as much of a nicotine hit as you do with fags but it's not bad and you get used to it.Worth a try.

DeadTall Mon 22-Oct-12 16:49:31

Wow, well done KingKaren - lots of great ideas!

IMO those little insurances are rarely worth the money - apart from the house & contents, we only insure the car and the boiler. We've worked out that we've saved £100s over the years as things haven't broken down much, and the things that have, we complained about and got free replacements! Even if an item is out of the manufacturer's guarantee period, if it breaks down before a reasonable time has passed, then they have to prove that it wasn't faulty when it was sold. We did this with a washer dryer which failed 6 months out of guarantee and needed a repair which cost almost as much a s a new machine, and the retailer replaced it with a new one.

Make sure you don't auto-renew anything policies either - always haggle! DH got £100 off his car insurance renewal yesterday, I got £50 off mine last month grin by using a cashback site.

Water - for people on certain benefits there are some special tariffs - around here (Anglian Water) there are 2 tariffs - AquaCare and Watersure - which are lower than standard. If you have to use a lot of water because of medical conditions I think Watersure can be cheaper. Not sure if these apply country wide. Some water companies also provide water saving stuff for free - including cistern bricks (called hippos?) eco-shower heads, and tap diffusers.

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