I feel like the next six months, at least, are going to be about getting by. Every day there’s another update on the energy crisis, and it is very worrying. But instead of sitting there panicking about it, you have the power to take some control.
Many of us are used to our home comforts, but it’s time to get realistic and change your mindset if you want to stay out of debt. If you’re looking for ways to cut your utility bills as well as your usage, this is for you.
This is part one of a four part list aimed at cutting your household utility bills. I’ll post one every Monday and if you have any ideas I have missed, please let me know in the comments.
I’ve been using most of these tips since I moved into my flat over three years ago, and of course it’s easier for me because I live alone. If you don’t, you need to agree with everyone else what is doable and reasonable to still retain some quality of life. For me, it’s become a way of life (I am destined always to live alone!) and I don’t think of doing any of this as hardship. When your income is limited, and you have to stay in credit, you just do what you need to.
My top tip for cutting your water use is to get a water meter: If you really want to take control of your usage and understand where you are wasting water, this is your first must do. I experienced my first meter when I moved into my current flat. It’s been a great tool and has saved me loads of money (my monthly bill is £14) and it comes with cheaper rates either way.
Here’s what else you can do:
For your toilet:
Only flush Number 2s. I spray a little diluted bleach into my toilet throughout the day to keep things fresh. It works just fine.
You can reduce the capacity of your cistern by adding a water saver which your water provider may supply you for free. If you don’t have one or can’t get one for free, a brick, or some sensibly sized stones will do. Even half a cistern still provides enough water for a decent flush.
For your shower:
Only shower when you need to. There is a growing movement for washing less. It’s better for your skin and better for your bills.
Limit your showers to 5 minutes (you can get free timers that stick to your tiles to help you measure that) and strip wash as a daily alternative if you need it. A five minute shower will use approximately 18 litres of water. I’ve measured it.
Do the above instead of having baths.
For your kitchen:
Don’t overfill your kettle, only boil what you need, or ditch the kettle and boil on the hob. I have a one cup pan especially for hot drinks throughout the day.
Wash up once a day in the evening.
Ditch the dishwasher (they make good draining boards).
Limit your washing machine use and only do full loads. Do you really need to wash that garment yet? Use the economy setting, 30 degrees on a 30 minute cycle.
I have switched off the hot water in my flat – I just don’t need it. I use an electric shower and boil the small amounts of water I need in the kitchen on my hob. Running water through the tap until it gets hot, wastes a lot of water as well as gas. I have a combi-boiler and I switched off the hot water element three years ago. I read that a running tap wastes 6 litres of water per minute and that’s money I can’t afford to see go straight down the plug.
Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
For your garden:
Put the plug in when you shower and decant the water onto the garden. Grey water won’t hurt your plants and will save a fortune during dry periods. Put empty buckets outside to catch rain water that you can use on the garden when you need it.
Part Two – saving on your electricity – coming next week.