Archive for October, 2012
The recent spate of energy hikes means that more and more of people are looking for ways in which they can cut down on their usage. Of course there is nothing wrong with cutting down on your bills, but before you make a start you need to know how much your appliances are actually costing you. For instance, do you know how much it costs to boil your kettle? The average household spends £24.00 a year making cups of tea!
We have therefore decided to investigate the cost of the most popular household items and look at any ways in which you can switch to save.
- Cooker – £42.00
- Hob – £33.00
- Microwave – £8.00
- Kettle – £24.00
- Food Steamer – £7.60
- Grill – £1.86
- Toaster – £3.18
If you have an electric hob, you are spending a whooping £33.00 a year! If you are using this to cook vegetables then why not switch to a food steamer which only costs £7.60 a year to run, saving you approximately £25 a year
If you regularly use your toaster then why not switch to using your grill? This uses less electricity to run and could save you approximately £1.82.
A microwave, which costs £8.00 a year to run, could cut down your usage of your oven. If you use your microwave to partially cook your food and then finish it off in the oven you could cut your cooker bill by half. Even if you double your microwave usage you can still save £5 a year.
- Plasma TV – £95.00
- DVD Recorder – £14.00
- Wii – £6.00
- PS3 – £9.00
- Xbox 360 – £8.00
- Radio £5.00
- Set top box (Sky, Virgin TiVo) – £17.00
- Home cinema surround sound – £8.00
- Desktop computer – £24.00
- Laptop – £4.00
- Router (internet) – £8.00
If you have a Plasma TV you could save £66 a year just by sw
itching to a LCD TV, you will still have a good picture quality at a fraction of the running cost.
Games consoles are relatively cheap to run, however you can be more energy efficient by simply switching them off when you are not using them.
A desktop computer costs around £24.00 a year to run, but if you were to switch to a laptop you could save yourself approximately £20.00 a year.
- Washing machine – £63.00
- Tumble dryer – £92.00
- Vacuum cleaner – £5.76
- Iron – £27.04
You can make significant cuts to the cost of running a washing machine by simply reducing the temperature. Washing powders of today are more than capable of cleaning your clothes at 30degrees.
Where possible you should avoid using your tumble dryer, with winter here it isn’t really an option to hang your clothes on the washing line, but you with the heating being on you should invest in a clothes horse for around £10. If you cut down your usage by half you could save £46.00 a year.
- Hair straighteners – £1.00
- Hair dryer – £3.00
Heating and hot water accounts for approximately 50 per cent of your energy bill for the year, you can reduce this in many different ways
- Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree and you could save an average of 10 per cent.
- A shower uses 40 per cent less water than a bath.
- Insulating your water tank could keep the water hotter for longer and save you £35 a year.
- 26 per cent of heat is lost through the roof and 33 per cent is lost through the walls, so it is worth looking into the insulation in your home to see if it is sufficient. If not, then look into the costs involved and make sure you look at any discounts that you are entitled to via your provider or Energy Saving Trust.
It is thought that lighting accounts for approximately 20 per cent of annual energy bills, so it is important to review your lighting and see where you can save money.
- Turn lights off when you are not in the room.
- Swap all of your bulbs to energy efficient ones, as they use on average 80% less electricity and could save you £37 a year.
Whether your gas and electricity provider have announced price increases or not, it should still be your priority to cut down your bills where possible. The above are only a handful of suggestions, if you have any then please feel free to add a comment.
If you are struggle to pay your bills and you are in debt then we may be able to help. Please call us on 0800 254 5205 or fill in our online referral form and we will call you back.
All figures are based on annual usage and have been sourced from…
As we all know, budgeting often comes down to the smallest and obscurest of things. There are opportunities to save in every aspect of your life at home and, while it may not seem like a particularly damaging expense to worry about, the security of your home computer is an area in which you can save as much as £40 or £50 a year.
The market is full of computer security packages that can cost you such a fee, but it is not always necessary to shell out to protect your PC or laptop. There is an abundance of free software out there that will help keep harmful viruses away from your computer.
To help you save a few quid, we’ve picked three examples for you to choose from to make sure that you don’t end up having to pay a fortune to fix an infected PC:
- AVG Free – This software is very easy to use, auto-updates and offers on-going protection for your PC, which means that it will run in the background to block threats as and when they try to attack. AVG even has free antivirus software for Android Smartphones, too, so you can be covered everywhere you go.
- Avast! 7 – The basic free package protects against viruses and spyware and has the capacity to be accessed remotely, which means that you can ask a computer savvy friend of yours to set it all up for you from another computer.
- Avira Antivir – This software is easy to install and set-up, but a bit more technical to get the most out of it. Nevertheless, it is really simple to manage the viruses with a one-click solution to most problems. It runs independently in the background, too, so you can continue on your money-saving quest across the internet while the software keeps a watchful eye out for you.
Whichever software you opt for, you’ll get decent, although not completely comprehensive, protection for your PC. As stated above, most programmes will update automatically, but some only if you tell them to do so.
Here are the two things you need to keep in mind to protect your PC against infections and to protect your wallet against expensive repairs:
(1) Make sure you keep your software completely up to date by running a daily or biweekly check for new updates
(2) Run a full scan as often as you can – it’s recommended that you do it at least once a week, depending, of course, on how much time you spend on the internet
It seems like only last week that the children were being packed up and off back to school, but here we are again with another school holiday! However, this half term you do not need to spend the earth to keep them entertained, there are plenty of things to do and see that are completely free or cost very little. And who knows you might enjoy some of them too.
Below is our guide to what you can do and see this half term!
- The Football Association and Tesco have teamed up to offer free football coaching to boys and girls aged between 5-11 years old. The coaching sessions are open to children with varying skills and abilities and will encourage them to develop their techniques, meet new people and have fun! Find your nearest session here http://tescoskills.thefa.com/About/HolidaySessions
- With Halloween falling in the middle of the half term, you have a few days to get all crafty with the children by making this year’s costumes. Although this isn’t technically “free” by making your own costumes, you can bring the cost down dramatically and you can keep the children busy for a few hours. You can make a start with some old clothes, bin bags, paints, dirt or even an old tyre.
- Reading a great activity to keep children entertained. By visiting your local library, you open your children up to hundreds of books for them to borrow and read at their leisure. Visit your local library and see what they have to offer, they may have special reading events happening during the course of the week.
- A visit to a museum doesn’t have to be something they do with school. Lots of major museums in and around London are completely free to visit – including Natural History Museum, Science Museum and British War Museum. They will all hold special activities that children of any age will enjoy and it’s free!
- A trip to the cinema is something that both children and adults can look forward to… but prices can be expensive with adults paying on average £9 a ticket! This half term Vue Cinema is showing a variety of children’s films for just £1.75 or £3 for a 3D film, with one adult going free per paying child. Or you can download films for free from http://www.blinkbox.com/ make your own popcorn and spend the day watching films at home.
What have you got planned for this half term? Share your top moving saving tips with us.
Things seem to be going from bad to worse at the moment. Provider after provider is announcing price increases – from gas and electricity, landline telephone bills, insurances and mobile phone contact. For many households in the UK they are already struggling to make their income stretch to the end of the month without these increases, so we have put together a few simple hints and tips to beat one of the price hikes – your mobile phone bills.
- Analyse your usage using older bills – find out how many minutes, texts and data you use on average and if you are not reaching your limit ask your provider to downgrade your contact to bring your monthly payment down.
- If you have a Smart Phone download free apps such as Skype and Viber to make free calls and send free text messages or keep in touch with friends and family using Social Media apps such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Struggling with a contract phone? Why not switch to Pay As You Go instead? Many providers will offer inclusive minutes, texts or data if you top up with a certain amount each month. Some also offer “rolling contracts” which has no fixed contract term and you can end it at a months’ notice.
- Always keep track of your usage throughout the month to ensure that you do not go over you inclusive deal. If you find yourself constantly going over then you may want to look at increasing your contract amount as it may be cheaper than paying for extra calls, texts or data each month.
- When you are travelling make sure that your switch off the Data Roaming. Browsing the web, downloading apps, sending emails and staying logged into social media sites uses up a lot of data, which is extremely costly when you are outside of the UK.
- Avoid calling premium rate numbers such as 0870 and 0845 from your mobile, these can be extremely expensive from a mobile. Using the internet to browse for a landline telephone number instead.
- A lot of mobile phone contracts offer insurance for your phone, if you do not need it then cancel it or decline it when buying your number phone. A lot of household insurances now cover mobile phones so you may be paying for something that you already have.
- When you are out and about try and log into free Wi-Fi to avoid using up your data. Lots of places have free Wi-Fi for customer use, such as bars, restaurants, shops and hotels so make the most of it when you can!
- When your contract is up for renewal make sure you shop around to try and get the best deal. Don’t be afraid to haggle!
If you have you own tips, then please share them below.