Published on January 20th, 2013 | by Pete0
10 Ultimate Winter Money Saving Tips
It’s very cold. This is probably linked to the fact that it is currently winter. It can be a time when heating and energy bills go through the roof, or you can end up feeling the urge to warm your cockles with treats that might actually not be that wise. So, as I crouch here, hunched over the computer looking at all of the snow out of the window, I thought I would offer a few suggestions as to how you can make sure you don’t end up burning money to keep warm and enjoy this winter.
1. Put the heating on timer
You’ll probably be hearing a lot of balderdash that it is cheaper to leave your heating on low all day. This is nonsense. You are paying whilst the heating is on, so having it on for shorter periods of time makes much more sense, and will save you money. Also, having the heating on all day means that at some point you are likely to be heating an empty house, which also seems a bit bizarre – I’m not convinced the sofa is too concerned about being kept warm in your absence.
2. Bleed your radiators
Keys to do this cost about a pound, and it is really easy to do. Be careful, obviously, as you are potentially dealing with hot water. It’s important to do this as unnecessary air in your heating system reduces the efficiency of your radiators, meaning energy is often wasted. Bleeding the radiators is a once a year job, and for the DIY shy amongst you (much like myself) it is a rare opportunity to feel manly (a word of advice though, tool belts being worn at this time are likely to draw scorn from wives / pets etc).
3. Avoid unnecessary Nudity
A bit of an obvious one this, but I do chuckle to myself sometimes when I’m in somebody’s home on the 27th December and they are wearing clothes that could be described as ‘minimalist’. If you are at home feeling cold, do you really need to put the heating on, or will getting dressed / putting a jumper on help?
4. Get active
If you are lying around the house shivering like nobody’s business, then it can help to actually get up and move about. Whilst this not spring to mind as an excellent idea, it really can help generate a bit of free warmth. Why not run the Hoover round and kill two birds with one stone. You’d be surprised how often I’m relaxing watching a bit of TV, starting to feel a little chilly, and my wife strolls into the lounge after being more active than me, and happily throws open some windows before leaving the room again. Perhaps she is trying to tell me something…
5. Build a cosy den
A good one for kids this. Combine this with a DVD night and buy some popcorn, and you have a cheap / warm night in, that the whole family can enjoy. I would recommend steering clear of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, or anything from the ‘Saw’ Collection of films though, as otherwise the little cherubs may not be sleeping so well.
6. Keep doors closed
Again, not a complicated one this, but quite an important point. Keeping all doors closed means that more of your expensive heat stays where you want it. Children may need some training with this concept, but it can make a big difference to the general warmth of your home. So everyone, time to polish off the Larry Grayson impression…
7. Use hot water bottles
I’m not a fan of these in bed to be honest, I’m not sure why anyone would like to have their feet on hot rubber during the night. However, I quite like one in the evening just before bed. I know that is possibly too rock and roll for some of you, but I would encourage you to give it a go. If you feel particularly daring, have a hot chocolate with it; then you’re sure to enjoy warmth in and out.
8. Exclude draughts from your home
There’s nothing worse than achieving a feeling of cosiness (possibly not a word) only to have a horrible cold draught roll across your feet like some kind of cold unwelcome spider. Often the culprit is a draught somewhere in your home, and so I would suggest that half an hour checking all windows and doors for gaps / draughts etc is time well spent. Once you have located any draughts, they can be easily removed with reasonably cheap purchased draught excluders, or home made efforts. In an emergency, an old towel along the offending area will get you out of trouble.
9. Check to see if you are eligible for free money
A no-brainer this one. If your home contains someone who was born before the 5th July 1951, then you are entitled to a winter fuel payment of up to £200. If you have someone in your home who is over 80, then that amount increases to £300. If you’ve not received this to date, you’ll need to register. For those who’ve received it before or get the State Pension, payments are normally made automatically before the end of December every year. Newbies will need to download a claim form from direct.gov.uk/winterfuel or call 08459151515.
10. Get to know your stopcock
Pipes can freeze, and when this happens, they can burst during the thawing process. It is reported that the cost of repairing or replacing damaged pipes can cost, on average £25,000. So what can you do to reduce the chances of problems? Firstly, find out where the devil your stopcock is hiding. The stopcock, by the way, is the mains water ‘off’ switch, so once you’ve located it, make sure you know how to turn it off. If there is an emergency or a problem, you will now be in a position to intervene and hopefully prevent a massive bill.
So there we have it, what I consider to be the 10 ultimate winter financial survival tips. I’m sure there are more, there always are, so don’t be shy, share your tips with the rest of us…