Making your wage stretch: energy saving tips

Interest rates are going up, and fuel is at a record high. It is easy to feel that money is draining from your account faster than you can fill it up. One of the biggest concerns for bill payers is the energy bill. Gas and electricity prices are set to double over the coming year, and keeping your family warm is becoming expensive.

Taking control of your energy bills is one way to stretch your wage a little further. Here are some useful hints that can be easily applied and can make a significant saving when done together.

Role model the “switch off.”

Making sure all your electrical items are switched off at the wall rather than left on standby can make a significant difference. It is good to role model this behaviour with children, getting them to switch off computers and televisions.

You might be concerned about remembering to flick the switch on the television, especially when people are waiting for things to be recorded. Smart sockets are available that allow you to programme the switch to come on and off when power is needed. Most smart plugs can be controlled via your smartphone or your Google or Alexa smart speaker.

Avoid the energy vampires

A lot of your devices suck power every moment they are plugged in. A good example of this is your toaster, which takes almost as much power to stand idle as preparing toast. Equally, plugging phones in overnight means the phones are sucking in much more power than required. It is good to get your children out of the habit of overnight recharge and use the hour or two in the morning or evening instead.

It is estimated that phantom energy suckers will make up about 20% of a family’s electricity bill.

Change to LED bulbs

When you do the maths, you will see that changing to LED bulbs throughout your house makes a lot of sense. The bulbs will cost more than standard bulbs, but they last a lot longer and are cheaper over the longer term. Secondly, you will save about £10 per bulb per year on your electricity. This doesn’t sound much, except when you count the number of bulbs in your home.

You can save even more if you role model switching lights off when you leave a room and encourage children to do the same. Explaining that this is a small thing we can all do for the environment is usually a great prompt for young people, who often want to understand why something is so important.

Service the boiler

A poorly performing boiler is a huge energy sapper. You will need to run the thermostat higher for longer for a boiler that is not performing efficiently. Equally, where radiators require maintenance, you will be pumping energy into them that won’t equate to much warmth in your home. As we approach the summer months, it is the perfect time to book an engineer to do the service. Waiting for the eventual breakdown of a boiler is costly, and engineers tend to have emptier schedules in the summer months.

Switching to a smart thermostat

One of the biggest inefficiencies in a family home is the need to heat the whole house in the colder months. You can switch radiators off at the wall, which is one way to counter this. However, a smarter way of doing this is to invest in a smart thermostat that allows you to control the temperature around the home. You can make sure the temperature in each room is appropriate and reduce the overall energy consumption to keep the family warm.

A smart thermostat also allows you to more accurately set the temperature. A single degree difference on your thermostat could save you £80 a year on your energy bills.


These suggestions save less than a hundred pounds each on your energy bills. When annual family energy bills are likely to be close to £2000, it feels like a small drop in the ocean. However, these smaller savings can add up to hundreds over a year when added together. And, remember, getting into good habits with children now will also help them manage these issues in the future. You can also look at a new energy deal by comparing suppliers online, or speaking to your current supplier to find out if they can offer you discount or a better payment plan.