student life

9 inventive tips for saving money on your energy bills

Having last year experienced the horror of a £400 bill from Scottish Power, energy saving was high on our list of priorities for this winter.

Having last year experienced the horror of a £400 bill from Scottish Power, energy saving was high on our list of priorities for this winter. With “I’m cold: can we put the heating on?” a commonly heard sentence in our house of five girls, (and no boys around to keep us warm) we’ve been cutting out the lavish two hour heating treats and making an effort to save not only energy, but more important to our fragile student budgets, money. These are our favourite – and the easiest – energy saving tips:

Egg timer showers

Cut down on shower time. As nice as a hot shower might be when you’re freezing, it won’t hurt to jump out a few minutes earlier. If you’re on a water meter it’ll help save a few pennies as well. And if you’re still cold afterwards, there’s always the hairdryer to look forward to.

Wrap up

Invest in a thick duvet. When you realise you can’t actually afford the bill and need to stop using heating completely, wandering around wrapped in a duvet helps to take the edge off.  Cocooned in a portable bed, sitting in front of the TV has never been so guilt free and appealing.  Onesies have the same effect, too.

Lower the heat

Washing clothes on a 30 cycle uses less energy and saves you money in the long run. They might not be as clean as they would be if your Mum had washed them, but they’ll still be clean….ish.

Communal washing

Sharing washing loads helps too. With five people in my house, it’s easy to find extra clothes to fill up the machine, and a full load uses half the energy. It’s a win-win situation, really.

Switch off

Turn off your lights. They might make your room feel cosy, but at 11am it’s just not quite justifiable to have your bedside light and main light on. In broad daylight. Whilst you’re not in the room. Turning them off for a couple of hours will make a big difference. Another option would be to have energy efficient electric radiators that have intelligent control and can be turned off for the rooms that you are not using at the moment via WiFi control. So, you can keep yourself warm and cut off the energy costs at the same time.

The same goes for plugs. If you’re not using them, switch them off.

Careful cooking

With pasta a main player in student diets, and cups of tea being the answer for everything, a kettle is a must in every house. But only boil the kettle with as much water as you need.  Overfilling it wastes energy and takes more time. We’re impatient and if it saves money, it’s ok to be selfish.

Convenience cooking

On the other hand, using the microwave for food has a shorter cooking time and is said to use less energy.  If you really want to save money, that’s definitely a reason to be lazy and an excuse for more ready meals.

Keep the heat

Keep your bedroom doors shut. Stopping draughts is a massive way of saving energy, and for those times when you do have the luxury of putting your heating on, it pays to have your doors shut. You won’t need the heating on for as long because the heat will stay trapped in.

It’s a different story for some of these tips in the middle of December, when it’s below freezing and you’re having to wear a hat in bed to stay warm, and at times putting the heating on for half an hour in the morning doesn’t seem that extravagant. But saving energy isn’t impossible and sometimes it just isn’t worth that killer bill. There are much better options to spend money on.