Family, Home

Being thrifty, saving money and the #PowerToSwitch

We do really odd things to save money in our home, cut corners here and there, which do nothing, but sometimes we end up paying twice as much as a consequence.

Others, are what I call loss leaders, but in fairness, these keep the hubby out of trouble. This year, his contribution to saving money was to home-brew. Which involved upfront costs. But he’s happy. And I think, in the past fortnight we might have started saving a little money on our weekly shop.

Some, you learn from hindsight. Was CM was a few months old the tumble drier broke. As a fraught new mum I demanded, after seeking the cost of getting someone to repair the machine out to our home, that a new machine was purchased immediately.

When the same thing happened when I had three under-3, different considerations came to the fore, a bit of google and YouTube saw a replacement jockey wheel, for less than a tenner being fitted- by yours truly.

Fitting a jockey wheel

And yet, for all these savings we make, I kick myself for the money we throw away.

One year after we moved in I had a completely stressful month at work, which happened to be the month our buildings and contents insurance was due. Why would you not renew any insurances every year?! The savings we made in year 2 meant both were covered by the cost of one.

Last year, through long conversations and lot of math with my dad we had solar panels installed. Being on the coast is an absolute bonus (although I’m sure at this time of year we’d also seriously benefit from a wind turbine too). And we have reaped the benefits, remembering to keep electricity to a minimum, using one high-energy item at a time, and benefiting from it being near enough free during the day.

Seeing a drop in our electricity bill.

And that’s great. Right?

Apart from when we had a problem with our boiler last month (oh yes, that random home emergency cover I had inadvertently been paying for came in useful!), I realised something.

I haven’t changed the central heating timings since we moved in three years ago.

I looked at the gadget on the boiler. I read the manual. I had a go. I failed. And gave up.

Our energy suppliers are the ones we inherited. Because changing suppliers felt as though it would be welcoming more hassle than moving our family to Wales had already welcomed.

And so, when I drive a bit further for my diesel because it’s cheaper, when I look at places which offer 3 for 2, when I figure that sometimes buying locally saves money (the butcher) and sometimes not (household cleaning products), what I miss is the true savings.

Where energy prices are concerned, the cheapest fixed deal on the market today for the average consumer is around £100 cheaper than a year ago. And you don’t have to compromise, you can switch to save money, if you want your energy to come from renewable sources or would like a better customer experience, the market really is yours.

 And there are lots of tips that are being promoted to create savings. And DECC have put together a list to add to looking at your boiler (along with its insulation):

Always use the dishwasher on eco settings saving
Line dry whenever possible rather than tumble dry
Turn off radiators in unused room
Only fill kettle with as much water as you need
Switch off lights and electrical appliances when not in use

 But our thing for this year has to be considering our energy supplier, given how much we know we save on changing our insurance provider regularly.

The first step has been to visit the Be An Energy Shopper, armed with some key pieces of information from a recent statement or annual summary: 

Your tariff end date.
Your method of payment.
Your annual consumption
And then, you’re off, you can start comparing tariffs.

With the great news that switching times have been cut in half to about 17 days, down from 5 weeks last year. This is a huge advantage to me, as I think (like changing phone lines) the hassle imposed has always been a turnoff.

And, now, it’s not all about the big boys. I like to support independents, and now more so, with 27 independent suppliers, there’s quite a high possibility your supplier is not the most cost-effective. 

And there’s a bit of reassurance, that by using the BeAnEnergyShopper site, you are comparing Ofgem-approved comparison sites and so lessen the chance of complaint, and improve your ability to resolve any niggles.

So, with the hubby off with his homebrew, I’m out to compete with his savings this year, but mine will only take a bit of sitting behind a laptop and maybe a phone call or two- and he’ll be pursuing his hobby for the whole year.

I’ll need to perfect my smug look.

Disclosure: I’m working with BritMums and DECC alongside the #PowertoSwitch campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com for more information about switching energy suppliers.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Polka Dot Family
    March 3, 2015 at 13:39

    Hats off to you for fixing your washing machine, I managed to fix Roo’s radiator before Christmas and felt very proud of myself.
    Polka Dot Family recently posted…Living Arrows Week Nine {2015}My Profile

    • Reply
      Debbie
      March 29, 2015 at 19:48

      Ooooh now we might have to compare notes- bleeding radiators is something I still have to get my dad round to do!

  • Reply
    Mari
    March 10, 2015 at 14:14

    I am in awe that you mended your own tumble dryer, you are awesome!
    There are so many ways to save and we too have solar panels although only fitted in November so I’m looking forward to seeing the savings (hopefully) this year.
    I’m commenting for myself and for BritMums, thanks for taking part in the #PowerToSwitch
    Mari recently posted…Conwy Castle – WalesMy Profile

    • Reply
      Debbie
      March 29, 2015 at 19:57

      It’s amazing what we do when needs must (you know- raising two babies at a time and all 🙂 ).
      I am looking forward to the sunshine not only for great family times, but some savings to use to treat us!

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