Top 10 ways to save money on your energy bills 

There’s so much going on in the news about energy bills lately – we couldn’t ignore it. For years, we have always provided sustainable advice that not only helps the planet but helps your bank balance too. It’s no different in this week’s blog, but we feel like we have a few bits of expertise to share. After all, there are hundreds of ‘tips’ out there now which are working the same way as greenwashing tactics. We want our members to be well-equipped to make the most of their energy. So, we’ve done lots of testing at home to see what’s really worked and we’re armed with some answers.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of the plug socket 

It sounds like such as small change. Turning off your plug sockets. But we’ve found that in some Greenredeem homes, we’ve been saving nearly £20 a month just by turning these things off. Plug sockets that lead to extension cables with 4 chargers plugged in. Phone chargers, smartwatch chargers, tablet chargers and more. We’ve turned them all off. Not only that but we sat down and discussed what plug sockets need to be on? 

Realistically, only your fridge and freezer need to be on 24/7. So then we started looking at how to make it ‘easy’ to turn off everything else. Plugs next to the bed for charging phones overnight – instead of just unplugging the phone we hit the switch too. The TV? Never using the remote to turn it off anymore, only at the plug. Most people’s TV plugs were also connected to speakers, Wi-Fi routers and other tech gadgets, meaning they all went off at the same time. Realistically, do you need your Wi-Fi on 24/7? No. Just when you’re using it – so we made it a ‘thing to check before you leave the house’. Hey, presto! Huge savings, little effort. 

2. Don’t spend blindly – get a smart meter 

We know that smart meters have been controversial in the past. But we’re recommending them to give peace of mind. We found that those of us who had a smart meter were more confident that we were making savings each day and that they were in control of spending. Almost like they knew what their charges would be. Whereas those who didn’t, were frantic throughout the month hoping they’d done enough to make a difference. For peace of mind, get a smart meter, energy bills are stressful enough as it is. 

3. Make your appliances as efficient as possible 

This may sound strange, but just because you’re using an appliance doesn’t mean you have to use the energy associated with it. There are ways to make your appliances use less energy and help save you money. Remember how we mentioned that the two things you couldn’t turn off at the plug socket were your fridge and freezer? We recommend targeting these to be as efficient as possible – and no, that doesn’t involve buying a new one. 

Think of it like this. When you open the door to your fridge/freezer, warm air comes flooding in and fills all the space. Your appliance then works harder (using more energy) to cool the space as fast as possible. Leaving you with a higher energy bill. The smaller the space that the hot air can fill, the less energy your appliance needs to use to cool it back down.  

Now, we’d love to say fill it with food, but that isn’t always possible. So, fill it with water. We find tubs of water are great at filling all the space in your fridge/freezer and leaving little waste. Then, when you next open the door, you know your appliance isn’t working overtime and using lots of energy to get back down to the right temperature.

4. The huge saving to be made from bulb switching 

Did you know there are on average 50 bulbs in a standard UK home? Go on, count yours. We’ll wait… 

Shocking isn’t it! I bet you thought ‘hang on I live in a two bed, it can’t be more than 10’ only to start counting the bulbs in the kitchen, hallway, bathroom, lamps, patio lights. There are far more than we think! A bulb can cost you anywhere from £4-£13 a year depending on what type of bulb you buy. Saving you a potential £450 just by switching to an energy efficient LED bulb. It’s something to consider that’s for sure! On top of that, just like your plug sockets, turn off your lights. Only have them on in the room you’re in, and if a small lamp is on, turn the main one off. 

5. Cook efficiently with a microwave 

If you’re anti-microwave cooking, then you might want to consider it again. Not only is it the fastest way to cook some dinners it’s also the most energy efficient. When you use a microwave, 80% of the energy in use is going towards heating your food. When you translate this to an oven it is just 60% and a hob is roughly 40%. Meaning you could double the efficiency of your energy by microwaving your vegetables rather than boiling them on the hob. 

That being said, not everything can be cooked in the microwave. So, here are some other tips for cooking efficiently. If you need boiling water, boil the amount you need in a kettle rather than heating it on a hob. Whenever you use the hob, pop a lid on it, it means that the heat doesn’t leave the pot and is trapped in there – cooking your food faster and with less energy. Also, after you’ve used your oven, leave it open while it gradually turns off, all that heat can go into heating your home a little bit – waste no heat this winter! 

6. Dishwashers and tumble dryers are a luxury – remember that 

Thanks to technology, life is far easier and simpler than it used to be. A load of laundry doesn’t take all day to wash by hand and then weeks to dry outside. If you wanted, you could do a load of laundry in just a few hours but remember, that’s a luxury. Energy and technology have given us that and because of that, we do pay extra for it.  

Therefore, to save money, we need to treat these appliances like the luxury they are. Wash your dishes by hand using a bowl of hot water. Dry your clothes on an airer. You can even get heated airers these days which will dry your clothes fast but not use as much energy as a tumble dryer – that being said, a standard one is free! 

7. 1 degree on the thermostat makes a difference 

The latest research tells us that you can save £80 a year on your heating energy bills by turning your thermostat down 1 degree. This research hasn’t been completed with the latest energy prices in mind, so that will have increased substantially. We know that for many of us the thermostat is something not to be touched, but without announcing to everyone else, turn it down on degree. We bet most people won’t even notice. Even if they do – the cost of another warm blanket is far less than the money you can save on your energy bills! 

8. Make the most of your heating 

Just because your heating is on, even if it’s only for an hour or two, doesn’t mean you’re getting the most out of it. Radiators being blocked by sofas, washing and other pieces of furniture plays a big role in how quickly the heat gets around your room. Try giving them as much space as possible so you don’t spend hours heating the back of your sofa. 

9. Focus on being in one room 

Realistically, you will come home in an evening and use the kitchen to cook dinner, your lounge and then head off to bed. So, focus on having on what you need in one place at a time. Yes, it’s a lot more faff than you’re used to, but we found limiting ourselves to one room really made us focus on our evening routines and saved us a lot of energy. 

This is how we’ve perfected it. Coming home, cooking dinner, leaving the oven open (when we’ve used it to help heat the room). Leaving the light off in the kitchen when we’re not in there checking on the food. Heading into the lounge, having the heating on for perhaps an hour while we wait for food to be cooked and eaten. Closing all internal doors to help keep heat in the living room for as long as possible, if it gets cold – layer up. 30 minutes before bed, turn on the heating in that room – keep the door closed. Use the blanket from the living room and place it on the bed while you head into the bathroom for any night-time routine. All lights in the house are off except for the room you’re in. Get into bed, turn the heating off, closing internal doors.  

It sounds like a lot, but once we got into the rhythm, we noticed we would use an hour and a half of heating, 3 to 4 hours of one energy efficient bulb at a time, and the oven/tv for eating and entertainment in an evening. Compared to potentially four times as much had we heated and illuminated the whole home. That’s three times as much on your energy bills over the month! 

10. Water is more expensive than you think 

Lastly, we cannot underestimate the amount of money we spend on water. It might be the cheapest utility we have but the energy that goes into heating water for showers, baths, washing hands, washing dishes, and cooking – it’s huge! Don’t be so frivolous with your water. Reducing your shower time from 10 minutes to 4 can save a lot of money over a single month. Hot water isn’t cheap on your energy bills, so use it wisely.

Well… we think we’ve done it! We’ve put our money where our mouth is – literally! Each member of the Greenredeem team has been busy at home behind the scenes testing a number of theories and the proof is in their bills. Saving money on energy can seem difficult but carrying out just one of these activities can make a difference. If you have any other theories or ideas for us and other readers to try out – pop them in the comments below. We may not all be in the same boat financially, but we’re all riding the same crazy ocean waves which are the rising costs of energy bills. 

7 Responses

  1. Re point 6:

    ‘Because a dishwasher uses less water and less energy to heat the water, this means the carbon footprint of a dishwasher is actually smaller than if you wash by hand.’ says Topping.
    ‘Recent studies state 5,620 kgs of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are produced over a 10 year period from hand-washing 32 sets of dishes per week. This comes from the energy used to heat up the water.’

    ‘A dishwasher on the other hand, emits 2,090 kgs of GHGs over the same period. The figures speak for themselves. Hand-washing creates over double the amount of GHGs as dishwashers, and creates about the same carbon emissions as 3 flights from London to Tokyo!’


    1. Hi Dorit, thank you for this information. We have read this article and it is unclear where most of this information has come from or the figures sourced (especially in the parts you have quoted). We have sourced our information through trusted resources such as the Energy Saving Trust and books such as How Bad Are Bananas? By Mike Berners-Lee. While we know there is lots of research out there (usually for both sides of any idea) we stand by our own. Many thanks

      1. HI. There are obviously different factors to be taken into account, because in your blog on 28 November you are advocating the (sensible) use of the dishwasher as with regard to water use a modern machine is a lot more economical. And water heating has to come into both equations.

  2. Thermal Curtains! My hubby also put up a rail at our front door (we have never had a curtain here before) and it has made a huge difference. It doesn’t have to be Thermal, I think even a normal curtain would help keep heat in. Charity shops sell them.
    Whilst on the subject of curtains, close/shut them as soon as you arrive home (or at least as soon as it’s dark). We close ours all around our house upstairs and down to keep heat in.
    Also a few years ago we bought Reflective Radiator rolls. Cut them to size to fit behind your Radiators and it throws the heat back into the room rather than heating the wall.
    Hopefully these tips help.

  3. Thank you for sharing these tips! We are working on making our home more sustainable and we recently made some updates to our kitchen. Along with face-value updates like hiring cabinet painters, we also installed more efficient appliances and lights. I can’t wait to try out your other tips.

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