I’ve had really complimentary remarks on my blog recently and I’m glad to set a frugal example of my pound stretching lifestyle. There are really easy things that everyone can do to save half their gas bill and half their electricity bill. Firstly, if you have a thermostat, let that decide when to turn your heating on and off. Set it to the temperature that you would need outside to not wear a jumper. You would still need to be reasonably clothed, but you do not need any more than light clothes. 18 degrees is the temperature of a summer’s morning, before the 22 degrees of the mid day sun, (those of you in sunnier climes, it never gets really cold or really hot here; you’ll either be sympathetic or jealous at this point). When it reaches 22 degrees in the summer, I can quite easily wear nothing more than a swim suit and lay out in the sun. So, you don’t need a house where you can wear a swimsuit, just where you don’t need to wear more than one layer. For me, 18 degrees is warm enough to wear one layer of clothing. If I’m sat still, then I might need a cardigan or jumper but nothing more. Also, if you reduce your heating thermostat by one degree every other day, you will reduce the temperature of your house and not really notice the difference.
The next thing to think about with heating, is how long you leave it on for. Our house is south facing, the windows are full height and we have thermal heating all day. Our lounge and dining room at this very moment are hot. We don’t open the windows to let that heat out but leave the doors open to move the heat through the house. We then trap that heat as the sun starts to set at 4 pm and close the curtains and the doors to keep the house warm. We also don’t have our heating on timer any more. We hold off until we can’t bear it and then turn it on. It’s usually on from six pm to 9.30 pm. We reduced our gas bill from £900 a year to £400 a year even though the gas prices have almost doubled in 18 months; we still managed to reduce it.
The obvious thing to do, if you need to live on a tight budget is get rid of your tumble drier. You will use it, if it is there. Today is really cold 0 degrees outside, and hanging the washing out made my hands ache. I had no choice as I have no drier. Bright and breezy winter days are perfect for drying washing. I save it all until a dry day and I check the weather forecast to make sure I use any window of opportunity I can. Not having a drier does mean I have to be organised but I can’t afford to be any other way. If you have children then you are going to need to be even more organised.
I also make sure that I don’t wash anything until I really have to. Wear old clothes when you are cooking so you don’t make your good clothes smell of what you’ve eaten. Hang clothes up straight away after taking them off. Wipe marks off trousers and winter skirts with a damp but clean cloth. Hang some lavender in your wardrobe to keep it smelling fresh.
One thing I had to stop doing when I got rid of my drier, was that I couldn’t wash clothes at will. I had to plan it. I had to make sure I had a full load, could dry it that day and didn’t waste water, energy or time. I’ve washed winter skirts and woolies today as I know they can dry. I’ve stripped the bed and hot washed the towels and bedding as I know I can get them blown through today. My electricity bill used to be £900 a year and I’ve halved that too. We have, of course, done everything else possible to reduce our bills and only have lights on in the room we are in, we leave nothing on standby, we put plastic bottles of water to freeze in our freezer (the thermal mass keeps the freezer cold) and use a mini oven instead of a full sized one.
By the way, this is not Dearly Beloved and I, the picture is merely a metaphor. Gas will increase in price by 7% on average in the New Year as other providers follow the piss poor example of Scottish Gas and British Gas. The only way any of us can keep our own pounds in our pockets and not theirs is to keep a very close eye on what we spend.
Love Froogs x.