Energy prices have gone mad so make sure you get the best deal. Which? Switch is the free energy switching service from Which?, the UK's Consumer Association. They compare over 20 suppliers and have an simple online switching service in place. In 2010 the average Which?Switch users saved £270 on their annual energy bill.
Switch off all your appliances at the wall before
going to bed at night. Many electrical items
continue to use electricity even while off if
connected to an outlet. Do you really need to use
the oven or microwave as a clock? A battery
powered wall clock uses much less power.
Switch off the oven, hotplates and iron a few minutes before
you need to stop using them - they will stay hot
for a long time. Heating devices use more power
that anything else.
Likewise if you are by the kettle (the ultimate
power bomb!) when it reaches the boil switch it
off by hand - the automatic cut off will leave it
boiling and burning up watts for longer. Instant coffee is better when made with water that is not quite boiling. Only
boil the quantity of water you need. Should you
be lucky enough to have a range oven that you can
boil an old style kettle on - use it.
When using your oven try to fill it! If you
really need it on for only one thing pile the
bottom up with baking sheets, cake tins etc -
this will make it into a much smaller space to
heat - it reaches the desired temperature much
Consider investing in a solar powered battery
charger - you will make long term saving with
Tumble drying is very expensive - line drying is
free. When outside drying is not possible
consider whether you have radiators that could be
used if on anyway - however this will increase the humidity in your house and may lead to damp in your attic if it's not well ventilated.
Shopping around for electricity suppliers has
proven economical for us. We were with Hydro
Electric for years then changed to Scottish Gas
as they had a cheaper tarrif. After about a year
we were contacted by HE offering us a special
deal for returning customers - no standing charge
and an even lower tarrif than our current
suppliers - staying faithful to them really
If you have your heating on a timer or
thermostatic control try switching it on and off by hand as needed. This uses far less fuel.
You can buy special insulation sheets to put behind radiators to reflect the heat back into them. Cardboard wrapped in aluminium foil does this too.
10. Don't forget you can insulate yourself too - wearing warm clothes and layers can reduce heating bills - vests, legwarmers under jeans and cosy slippers all make a huge difference!
1. Instead of using
expensive cream cleaners use a teaspoon of
bicarbonate of soda on a damp cloth - it works
just as well.
Vinegar is great for cleaning surfaces such as
glass that you want to be smear free - if you
have an old spray bottle fill it with half
vinegar and half water for a great window and
Essential oils are great for general cleaning too
and very economical as you need so little. A
couple of drops of tea tree oil on a damp cloth
will disenfect surfaces.
Unless your clothes are very dirty try using half
the recommended amount of washing powder - works
a treat! For whites add a teaspoon of bicarb. for
extra whitening. We have found that supermarket's
own (namely the Co-op) brand washing products are
as good and, of course, much cheaper than the
expensive brand name washing powders. Best of all are Soap Nuts, completely natural, eco friendly, excellent for sensitive skin and extremely cost effective with a bag potentially lasting for years. We find we can use the same 5 or 6 nuts for up to five washes with fresh smelling clothes and good cleaning. If you want a definite fragrance just add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice.
If you do need a special cleaning fluid for a
particular job look for it in the bargain shops
first like 99p stores, cheap supermarkets etc.
An unusual, but completely free, stain removing tip discovered inadvertently by a very bad housewife: for food stains on clothes that just won't shift, try washing as normal with a bit of bicarb added to the wash and then pin outside to dry. Leave it there for a few days! Works best if the washing is exposed to both bright sunlight and driving rain. Also brightens up greying whites.
you love reading it is possible to spend a heart
stopping amount of money on books over the years!
Make full use of your local library - you can
have as many free books as you like. You can also
order any title that you particularly want.
Remember to phone and renew your books to avoid
charges if you are not returning before the due
date. Mobile libraries visit most villages once a
week and usually have no overdue charges - if you
are very rural they will sometimes come right to
your house - contact your local library for
details. If you are a pensioner video rental is
also free from the library.
Second hand book shops are wonderful too - even
cheaper are the book sections of charity shops. Green Metropolis is a great site for secondhand books - books cost £3.75 and you get £3 for each one you sell there. They also make a donation to the Woodland Trust for each book sold. Friends of the Earth have a bargain basement with 2nd hand and old stock worth checking out.
The Book People are a fantastic source of discounted books, often selling sets of books for the price you normally pay for one - well worth checking here first. Amazon.co.uk provide a really reliable service
and do have discounted items too - they also have
the marketplace sellers where bargains can be
picked up though you will pay £2.75 postage.
If you have a huge collection of books go through
them and consider which you really want to keep
and read again - if there are some you could do
without try selling them - see the make a few pounds page for
ways to do this.
If you read a newspaper remember that you could probably read it online for free - most of the larger UK papers are available on the internet. To find your chosen one just go to www.google.co.uk and search for its' title.
For many people the constant purchase of new
clothes is a difficult cycle to break - if this
is you, go through your wardrobe thouroughly and
start using what is there - you may find many
things you had forgotton about.
Forget being snobby about second hand shops - it
is well worth looking around the ones in your
area. You will soon work out where the better
clothes are and can sometimes pick up new or
nearly new items for a fraction of the normal
Factory outlet shops can house many terrific
bargains. Watch out for standard priced clothes
being placed in among the genuine sale goods. dress-for-less is an online outlet selling designer clothes at up to 70% off. Their sales are also impressive.
Posh Swaps is a new website where you can swap, buy or sell second hand clothes - all for free!
Have a try making your own, especially if you're already a bit handy with a needle! Burda Style are an 'open source' sewing community who share patterns they've made themselves for free. Often, the projects on the site involve 'up-cycling' existing clothes - making a halter top out of an
old t-shirt, or a skirt from old jeans.
1. Haircuts: Obviously some hairstyles do need the work of a professional but simple children's cuts and short mens styles are quite easy to do yourself. A pair of good hair-cutting scissors and/or hair clippers for short styles can save you a packet in barber's fees over the years.
2. Cosmetics and Toiletries: if you are in the habit of buying expensive shampoos, soaps, cleansers etc. try out the supermarket own brands - recent studies have found Tesco's cheap shampoo to be better than the extremely expensive, well advertised brands! For deodorant we use a a solid salt one, it's very effective, no nasty chemicals and ours has been going for three years now! The most luscious facial (and anywhere else!) moisturiser is virgin coconut oil and it works out cheap too, usually under a tenner for a large tub. It's anti bacterial, antifungal and claims are made for it's age defying properties; it certainly makes your skin lovely and soft :) It can also be used as a healthy cooking oil and hair conditioner.
Water: this may sound an odd personal care tip but it's very effective. Water is the cheapest and healthiest thing you can drink - value spring water is around 19p for 2 litres or you can filter tap water quite cheaply. Drinking lots of water does amazing things for your skin, lessening the need for all those potions and lotions too!
Ladies - reusable sanitary protection is great - better for you, the earth and your pocket - see Moonrabbit's Cotton Comforts, a cottage business based in Scotland for reusable, beautifully made pads. For women who prefer internal protection the Mooncup is an excellent alternative to tampons.
Exercise (also see frugal weightloss) :
have to take out an expensive gym membership to
get in shape and stay toned. Yoga and Pilates are
forms of exercise that you can do at home. Going
for a walk is great exercise - running too if you
are already quite fit. If you have a bike - get
out on it! Gym equipment such as exercise bikes,
rowing machines and weights are extremely
expensive when bought new - they can be picked up
at car boot sales or free ad papers for a few pounds. Alternatively try ebay. You can also comparison shop for about anything at
and Argos tend to be very good on price.