Money Saving Tips
This page contains some money saving tips I wrote a number of years ago for an older version of this website. They’ve now been updated, clarified and corrected in some cases and are obvious in many ways but still useful.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy saving alternatives. A typical light bulb is about 60W, however an LED lamp may only use 6W. They will almost certainly last longer as well. CFL lamps are typically only slightly more power hungry and are generally not worth replacing for LED for power consumption purposes until they have burnt out or better performance is required.
Install a water-butt by connecting it to your drainpipe. This will catch water running from the roof of your house or garage and store it in the butt. These are ideal in times of hosepipe bans or for watering jobs which don’t require a hosepipe, and use of rainwater is generally better for plants that mains water.
Old appliances are often inefficient compared to newer models. Washing machines, tumble dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers are usually due for replacement at around ten years old. The costs of replacement and usage should be carefully calculated to determine whether it is worth replacing a working appliance.
Clean the coils on the rear of your refrigerator. The refrigerator has to work harder to cool the contents when the coils are dusty.
Avoid using tumble dryers as much as possible. They consume large amounts of energy, and in some cases damage clothing resulting in replacement much sooner than air-dried clothing.
Keep bottled water in the refrigerator. These are useful if the water is ever switched off, plus it also helps retain the cold air in the fridge when the door is opened.
Contact your internet, cable, satellite, or telephone provider to see if you can reduce your bill. Often, if you tell them you are leaving they will offer to cut your bill in order to keep your custom.
Utilise own-brand goods from shops, particularly supermarkets. Often these are similar or the same to the branded variants.
Install a composting bin to dispose of waste food such as fruits and vegetables. This saves the cost of buying compost at garden centres. It helps with the next item...
Grow some of your own vegetables. Tomatoes, strawberries, beetroot, and potatoes are fairly easy to grow. Many vegetables don’t require too much space either.
Check charity and second hand shops for books, DVDs, and CDs. Often you can find really low cost items in almost new condition.
Install a ceiling fan. These can be used in both summer and winter to reduce heating and cooling costs respectively.
Install a bidet system for your toilet. Toilet roll costs can add up over the course of a year, whereas a bidet costs money initially but will begin to save money in the long run.
Run the washing machine at 30 degrees where possible. Most washing detergents work perfectly well at this temperature.
Fit an eco-shower head. These reduce the amount of water flowing through the shower without actually being that noticeable. Alternatively, a water flow reducer can be used to accomplish much of the same thing.
Hold off buying books, DVDs and CDs, particularly those recently released. Within a few weeks, a percentage of the original cost will have been knocked off.
Draw curtains at dusk to keep in heat in colder months. Curtains, especially blackout types are good at retaining heat in a room. Also consider installing curtains over exterior doors to further reduce draughts.
Use timers on lamps to control on and off times. This particularly applies to external lights which are only required for certain times of day. Alternatively, for external lamps a PIR or dusk-till-dawn sensor may be preferable.
Only boil as much water as needed to make a drink. If you are in the market for a new kettle, there are varieties which allow the kettle to be switched off when it reaches a set temperature. The temperature required will depend on the drink.
Place radiator panels/foil behind radiators. These deflect heat back into the room rather than allowing large amounts of it to exit straight through the wall.
If you have single pane windows, you can makeshift double glazing by installing a perspex panel over the frame. This traps air between the glass, and prevents heat from escaping.
Microwaves with clocks often use more power over their lifetime powering the clock than cooking food. Turn the microwave off when not in use. This particularly depends on how often the microwave is used to cook.
Avoid buying newspapers. Most newspapers have the same content online. If you want to support the newspaper, buy an online subscription, as this will often cost less than the physical version.
Try to reuse paint. This can be paint you already have, or spare from friends and family. Emulsion does go off eventually, but oil-based often just needs to be mixed before use.
Try your local fruit and vegetable shop or farm shop instead of the supermarket. The produce is often cheaper and better quality. The same also applies to butchers.
Throw any spare change in a container at the end of the day. The amount saved can really add up over the course of a year.
Search sites such as Freecycle to see if anyone is trying to get rid of anything you may want. Waste disposal sites sometimes also run on-site shops which offer previously dumped goods for sale at low prices.
Purchase water saving tap inserts to reduce the amount of water used when the tap is on.
Use a timer when having a shower. This can be a simple egg timer which runs for around four minutes.
Purchase a ‘flush saver’. These are installed in the toilet cistern, to reduce the amount of water used by the toilet when it fills up.Water efficient toilets already have a reduced capacity so nothing should be installed in the cistern to further reduce it.