How to Reduce Your Household Bills (& Help the Environment)

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Now, more than ever, people are having to look for different ways to save money due to the rising cost of energy bills, water bills, food outgoings and unavoidable household taxes, however, just because you are trying to save money, doesn't mean you have to increase your impact not he planet; there are ways to save money in the long run and help the environment to thrive.

We wanted to share with you a few different ways you can make a difference to your monthly outgoings; covering everything from making smarter and more eco friendly choices when food shopping to different ways to keep track of energy uses. Some changes you can make will be smaller, while others will be larger and more noticeable.

We are always excited to hear from you about changes you have made, so make sure you drop us a note below and let us know where you have saved money and the impact it has made to your home.

Here is our guide on how to recuse your household bills (& help the environment).

1. Gas

Right now, heating your home using gas is by far the cheapest way to heat your home. If you have gas central heating installed then you will be pleased to hear this is the best thing for your home. However, if you have solar panels, check out more information under 'Electric' for ways to keep this gas heating bill at its lowest.

If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may well be worth thinking about replacing it for a newer model, as newer systems are more efficient and will heat your home using less gas.

Once you have a gas boiler installed, you should look to using a system like 'hive' to control your heating system. This will allow you to turn your heating on and off from your computer or phone, easily set up a heating schedule and turn off your schedule when you are away on holiday.

For setting a schedule, first work out when you are likely to be at home and needing your home to be heated. then see if that schedule will apply to weekends too. You can set each day differently depending on your home use.

When cooking using gas appliances, like a gas hob or gas oven, try to be smart about your settings. If you use a lid when boiling your vegetables on the hob, you will need a lower gas setting than if you boil without a lid. Over time this will save money by implementing this small change.

2. Electric

The use of electricity is a more expensive way to run your home, especially when it comes to heating. If you have electric heating, it may be worth considering getting a gas central heating system to reduce your bills in the long run.

When it comes to your electricity, anything plugged in and switched on will be using a small amount of electricity. Try to be more economical by switching things off at the plug when they are not being used, this can apply to your internet overnight, any chargers not being used or even your television.

That small amount of electricity may not seam like a lot, but over time it will add up to larger bills.

Change your light fittings for more economical light fixtures which use less energy to run for the same brightness.

Solar panels are by far the best way to generate your own electricity for use in your home and if you get a battery for your solar system, this will also help with electricity usage overnight.

Once you have your solar system set up, you need to get 'appliance smart'! This means being aware of how much electricity you are using at any one time. If you wake up in the morning before the sun is shining, or when the sun is beginning to rise, then you will need to be aware of all the appliances you use at the same time.

If you put the kettle, toaster, blender, dryer and hoover all on at the same time, your solar system will inevitably have to take some power from the grid to be able to cope. Try to use only one ;high power' device at one time to help your system cope and make sure you only use energy you have generated from the solar system.

You can use your solar system to help reduce your gas bills by using a couple of small electric heaters around your home, which will consume low amounts of energy that can be powered from your solar system, these small heaters may not get your home up to your desired temperature, but they will help your gas system to reach your ideal temperature quicker, thus using less gas.

With a solar system, it would now be advisable to use more electric appliances rather than gas, such as an electric oven and hob as apposed to gas powered oven and hob.

Depending on the solar system you choose, you can look to spend anywhere from £5,000-£6,000 without a battery and an extra £3,000 for adding a battery into the equation - this cost should be paid off in approx 7 years with the savings you will make on your bills.

3. Water

Your water bill tends to be a bill that gets overlooked for being economic with. But there are a few changes you can make to reduce this bill.

The first thing is thinking about how much water you use when you have a shower v's having a bath - you can measure this is you have a shower over your bath with the plug in. This will give you an idea which is more economical for your own personal use.

Consider getting a water butt for in your garden off your drain pipes. This will collect rain water that you can now use in your garden for watering your plants, flowers, vegetables and grass throughout the year.

Use 'eco' modes when it comes to your washing machine and dishwasher, as these use less water and also less electricity for heating the water. It is worth using a higher temperature setting at least once a month to kill any bacteria and keep your home and machine healthy.

Little changes like turning the tap off when you are brushing your teeth rather than letting the water run, will save small amounts of water, which will add up over time.

Consider using economical tap fittings, which reduce the amount of water coming out of your taps for the same pressure. Again reducing your water bill over time.

4. Home Improvements

You can have the best central heating or solar panel in the world, but if your home is not well insulated then your bills will remain high.

We recommend looking into making home improvements to help reduce your bills over time.

Loft insulation can be as little as from £400 to have someone install this into your home and can reduce your bills by up to £200 a year, thus paying off your home improvement within a few years.

Cavity wall insulation is a little more pricey, approx £1800-£2200 depending on the size of your home, but again will reduce your household bills throughout the year and pay for itself within a few years.

Another home improvement that can be made is floor insulation. This can cost anywhere from £1200 upwards, depending on your household size, but again this will reduce the cost of your bills over time.

Less heat escaping your home is better for the environment and will always be better for your household bills in the long run.

5. Food

Buying cheap food, isn't the best way to save money or the environment!

When you buy cheap food, it is usually mass produced, covered in chemicals and is not safe or sustainable for the environment to produce.

The only way for organic for to become the 'norm' and for the price of organic to decline is for more and more people to start consuming it - so start consuming it!

Organic is the best and safest way to fuel your body and it is the most eco friendly way to look after the environment. Going organic should apply to everything you purchase, but it has the biggest affect on your health and the environment when you choose organic meat, eggs and dairy products - so start here!

As a nation we also consume far too much meat. Ideally we would only consume meat once, maybe twice a month, if at all. Our bodies can survive beautifully on vegetables and grains alone. Have a think about the environmental impact of meat farming and the effect consuming meat has on your body and consider reducing your meat intake.

By reducing your meat intake, you will also reduce your monthly food bills too.

When you go shopping, it is always worth choosing produce that is not wrapped in plastic. You can do this by taking along reusable bags for all your fruit, veg and overall shop.

We have some ideal products for doing just this on our site, so check these out and get saving the environment with less plastic usage.

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6. Utilities Companies

It is always worth checking which utilities companies are cheaper via websites like Go Compare, Compare the Market and Confused. If you are tied in, find out how much it would cost to get out of a contract V's starting with a cheaper supplier. 

Set a reminder on your phone to do this at least once a year, if not twice a year, to make sure you are still getting the best deal available.

It is also worth doing this with your insurances every year to make sure you are getting the best deal.

When it comes to entertainment, internet, phone, broadband, television and other monthly outgoings, seriously consider if your really need or use these services and if there are better options for you.

If you take the time to write out all of your monthly outgoings, there will always be areas you can reduce to make savings each month.

Which idea did you like the best to reduce your monthly outgoings and help the environment? Are you already putting some of these suggestions into action?

For more ideas on eco friendly products to use around your home check out 'Homemade Household Eco Products'.

Happy savings,

Elm & Blue

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