Monday 21 January 2013

Ways to save on household bills.

A while ago, I did a post about saving money on food shopping. Today, I thought I'd share some things that we've found helpful re. miscellaneous household bills.

This is, by no means, a definitive list. The things written below are things that have worked for us, but which may not necessarily fit into your lifestyle.


So, picking up from where we left off, I recently discovered Basically, you do your online shop here and the site tells you which supermarket (excl. Aldi, Lidl and Morrissons) is cheapest. It'll also prompt you with any applicable voucher codes, give you cashback on selected products if you order online, and will let you know if switching brands will get you something cheaper. You can then choose to send your list to your supermarket of choice or print it and do the shop yourself.

For the washing machine, I use soap flakes to cut the cost of laundry.  At £1.30 per box from Wilkinson's, they last a lot longer than the 8 washes the box proclaims, meaning each cycle only costs a few pence. Also, I know the packaging says not to use them in the machine, but I mix a tablespoon in an old Avent bottle cap with water and pop it in the drum (the reason they're not suitable for a machine is because when they go in the drawer, they clog the pipes to the drum but when dissolved a little and placed in with the washing they're great). The soap flakes work a treat, last for ages, cost a fraction of what washing powder does and leave clothes so soft there's no need for fabric softner - another saving there. Suitable for sensitive skin too.

For washing myself - or rather, my hands - I buy a big thing of value shower gel and refill hand soap dispensers with that - 40p for 1 litre, rather than £1 for 300mls. Works best if you're in a soft water area though as there are fewer moisturising ingredients than conventional soaps.

I got a PitROK stick from boots 5 years ago and haven't needed to buy deorderant in all that time. And it's only marginally more expensive than a normal roll on (Ok - £7 instead of £3, but when you add up how many times you'd have to spend £3 over those 5 years...).

In terms of bills, I would start by doing all the usual things - turning off energy saving bulbs when you leave a room, don't have things on standby, turn down the thermostat etc. But there's more you can do on top of that if you really want to reduce consumption. If you're oven baking a lasagne or something, try to use the oven for other things that night too - put some cakes/tray bakes/tomorrow night's dinner in so that you can freeze and microwave later. This means you don't have to turn the oven on another day. It also means you don't have to cook some time in future - no more take-aways or ready meals. Hooray!

Unless you're in rented property and have to ask permission, I would have a look to see if you're paying over the odds for insurance, electric etc. and switch providers. Again, if you can, you might want to consider going on metered water, that way you can take measures to reduce your consumption and save money that way.

Away from the house, there are plenty of ways to have fun without spending any money. The AA do a little book called 500 Free Days Out which should be in your local library. The internet is full of helpful ideas too.

Finally, over Christmas, I found Valued Opinions to be a bit of a godsend. Throughout the course of the year, I fill in online surveys and receive vouchers for various stores/charities in return. Big names like Amazon and John Lewis are included, so as a way of getting birthday and Christmas presents for free, this is excellent.

Obviously this list is by no means definitive and there are plenty of other things you can do to save some pennies. I would love to hear your advice :)

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