Family finance tips: How to reduce energy bills
It’s not unusual to feel anxious about bills, especially if you're on a tight budget. There are ways to reduce your family's energy bills while also making sure you all remain comfortable.
Here are our top ten useful family money saving tips related to heating and energy use:
2. Heat one room at a time, if you can - bedrooms don’t need to be as warm as living rooms if they’re only for sleeping. With light bedding, 16˚C in the bedroom is comfortable and warm enough for babies.
3. Use baby sleeping bags - these fit around the body but leave your baby’s arms and head free. They are a great way to ensure your baby isn't too hot or cold. NCT Nearly New Sales are a great place to find second-hand items like this.
4. Head out to children’s centres or parent and baby drop-in groups - this can save you keeping the heating on at home, and give you and your baby time to socialise. Find out what local activities there are in your area.
5. Add a good plastic film inside your windows - this is a simple DIY job and helps to reduce draughts and condensation, especially if you don’t have double glazing.
6. Draught proof around your doors and letterbox - this can be relatively cheap and easy, and can make rooms more comfortable very quickly. Solid fuel and gas fires do need some ventilation, however.
7. Use thermostatic radiator valves - if you have central heating, these are relatively low cost and allow you to heat only the room(s) you are using.
8. Insulate your loft, if you have one - this is one of the most effective ways to cut energy bills. You can sometimes get free or low cost insulation or help with costs.
9. Check which energy grants you're entitled to - you might qualify for heating benefits. For instance, if you or your partner get Income Support or Universal Credit, you could get a Cold Weather Payment.
Find out if you’re entitled to any of the grants available. If you’re renting, ask your landlord/landlady about this.
10. Change habits in your home - there are lots of ways to be more energy efficient in your home by changing the way you do small everyday things. These can make a difference – especially if you find yourself at home more while on maternity leave.
For example, you can save around £30 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode. And, by spending one minute less in the shower each day, you could save around £10 off your energy bills each year, per person.
You might find attending one of NCT's Early Days groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
The Energy Saving Trust has lots of useful information on how to save money on your energy bills.
Read more about heating and housing benefits on the directgov website.