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Are you one of those people that just pays your bills when they come in without thinking about how to save money? It's easy to take it for granted, but electricity is not free. If you are failing to save money when it comes to energy, here are some top tips for keeping costs down:
- Shop around. Use your annual energy statement (which you should receive by 1 Dec) as a prompt to make sure you're getting the very best deal on the market for your energy.
- Energy companies offer additional discounts to bring bills down for customers who pay by direct debit. Your bank account will be charged automatically when the bill is due and you won't accidently miss a payment.
- Choose an online tariff. According to Confused.com, standard tariffs, even when paid for by direct debit, are always far more expensive than the ones available online.
- Make the most of incentives. See what your supplier is doing to help you save money. Scottish Hydro Electric, for example, will give you a cash credit if you reduce your annual consumption and/or switch to paperless bills.
- Don't leave appliances on standby as they still use electricity. Switch them off properly. Better still, try to unplug or switch off at the wall instead, so that DVD players, satellite boxes, microwaves, etc aren't wasting energy when not in use.
- Resist using the tumble dryer when you can put your clothes on the washing line.
- Defrost your freezer frequently, to make sure it's running efficiently.
- Wash your laundry on a lower temperature - zero if possible.
- Only boil as much water as you really need to make your tea or coffee.
- Always switch the lights off when you leave an empty room.
- Chargers still use energy even when they've completed charging, so switch them off when you've finished using them.
- Switch off your PC monitor. Leaving it on all night, even the lightbulb on standby, wastes enough energy to microwave 6 meals.
- Did you know it's more energy-efficient to use your dishwasher than to wash dishes by hand? Just make sure you only use it when you have a full load and use the economy setting.
- Turn the thermostat for your hot water down to 60 degrees centigrade.
If you haven't done it already, sign up to the Money Dashboard free budget planner and see how much you are paying each month for energy. If it's higher than expected, keep the above tips in mind and see if you can bring that number down.