Halving my energy bills.

 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.

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10 thoughts on “Halving my energy bills.

  1. 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.

    Definitely!

    We conserve our gas and electric too – but that didn't stop our gas company from raising our gas bill by an arbitrary amount in their “annual review”. We'd underpaid by mistake for the first half of the year so then overpaid to pay off the debt for the rest of the year – but in their “annual review”, EDF estimated we should be paying more again still!

    I got my old bills out, looked at our exact usage, and found out that we should have been paying HALF the amount EDF suggested in their “annual review” (£70 down to £35). I called them and the people at the call centre agreed with me & couldn't understand how the computer came up with the £70.

    It bet they just try it on – if we accrue lots of credit on our accounts, then it's money in the bank earning interest for them.

    I wrote a blog post with the full story in it – http://www.thereallygoodlife.com/782/how-i-cut-our-gas-bill-in-half-with-one-phone-call/

    The moral of the story though is check your bills very closely!

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  2. Hi yep we do all we can to conserve our electric and gas…its hard and like you say you have to plan and with 2 littlies its harder..as i speak they have jeans,long socks,slippers,long sleeve t-shirts and nice wooly cardigans on..they are lovely and warm..i'm wearing the same only bigger lol…our living room gets the sun all morning so its lovely in there and the kitchen and dining room get it all afternoon..so pretty much we are covered all day long…i have huge clothes horse for the clothes that we need the most i.e. uniforms..i try to keep my freezer pretty full at all times..like today lots of snow and bloody cold so not going anywhere and i'm stocked for food so it can snow all it likes….
    take care

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  3. I too have a 'clothes horse' and find it really useful for drying when weather is bad [but fortunate to have a space out of the way to put it in – I know many people do not have room]

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  4. I have to do a fair amount of washing but I have found a way of not using my drier as much during Winter.
    I have started doing a quick wash in the late afternoon, so when the heating comes on at 6pm everything goes on the radiator to dry. It smells lovely and looks like a laundry but at least I'm using the heating to keep us warm and dry stuff. As Twiglet is so little his stuff only needs a couple of hours on the radiator to dry.
    I just have to remember to remove my pants from the radiator when we have visitors 🙂
    Twiggy x
    PS I think the cost of gas and electricity is criminal we are currently looking into schemes that will fit solar panels on your roof but that's another story….

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  5. I dont have this problem where I live. In winter we have a log fire, hubby collects wood all year long from where ever so we dont have to pay for it. I dont own a clothes dryer, if my clothes dont dry in the daytime for some reason, I bring them inside on the clothes horse by the fire. We dont have extreme cold like you though.

    We have installed solar so our electricity bills have reduced down, but also I have become very frugal inside my home. I have replaced electric clocks/radios with ticking ones, and use a transistor radio with batteries now, have put our old phone back so not using electricity there, turned off microwave at power point (hardly use this at all), gas oven has electric light so that too gets turned off at power point. All electrical goods are turned right off when not in use. I dont own a dishwasher and my washing machine is a twin tub, which I use only one load of water per wash day. I try to wash only once a week. Water is a precious resource in Australia with many places having restrictions.

    In summer we have extreme heat up to 45C (113F) and beyond, so keeping cool is a priority. Our house has large verandahs, and thick block out curtains. I try not to use the air conditioner until we cant bear the heat any longer.

    I might start checking my bills more thoroughly too.

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  6. We just had three days of snow and icy weather here in the Pacific Northwest (western Washington State). I had been wearing sweats for the past month but broke out the fleece scarves and longjohns! I even wore a fleece hood to bed. I do use the furnace but try to keep it within reason.

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  7. My tumble dryer broke last month and after the intial “oh no!” I'm pleased it's gone. I'm organised, we wear things for longer and appreciate our clothes for the job they do. Does that sound silly? lol I mean that we once flung our stuff in the wash bin without a thought or a care, now we think.. eeek I'm going to need that jumper, i'll hang it up and wear it again tomorrow. Thanks jumper!

    Ok, I'm showing myself up :s

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  8. A side issue with getting rid of the tumble dryer is your clothes last longer.

    The conditions inside one of those things are not commensurate with the longevity of fibre.

    But that just means you have to spend more money on clothing shoring up the fragile idea that is capitalism.

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