The turning back of the clocks marks the end of British Summer Time, darker evenings and dropping temperatures. So, as you turn up the thermostat, we look for ways you can protect your pocket from wintery woes and save money during the colder months.
1. Switch to LED
LED lights are the new bulb on the block. Using up to 90% less energy than the old incandescent bulbs switching to LED will give you instant savings on the electricity bill. The only downside is their cost, which will require you to fork out initially, but your investment should pay off in the long-run thanks to their notably longer lifespans. It goes without saying, but you will also save on your energy bills if you switch lights off in rooms you’re not using and turn electrical items off instead of leaving them on standby. This is also the perfect time to compare your energy bills and look at switching providers. There are loads of simple comparison tools available to help you find the cheapest deals.
2. Have a clear-out
Christmas is coming which means even more stuff to find a home for, especially if you have kids. Get ready for the festive season by having an Autumn de-clutter of your cupboards and loft and make some money in the process by selling the good quality stuff on Ebay or Gumtree. What’s left can go to the charity shop or dump. By 25th December you’ll have a lot more free space to fill up with your new stuff.
3. Start Christmas early
Don’t leave your Christmas shopping until 23rd December, start now and take advantage of the autumn sales. Buying non-perishable food and other Christmas essentials like Christmas crackers, decorations and tableware gradually week by week will also help to spread the cost and avoid the last-minute panic-buying. This year Black Friday falls on 25th November so with a bit of preparation you could save on presents by grabbing a bargain or two. With most Black Friday sales now online, you don’t even have to queue outside in the cold to get in on the action.
4. Dust your radiator
It’s almost too good to be true, but some simple housekeeping can rub off on your bills. Clean behind and underneath the radiator to remove dust and cobwebs (and old long-lost socks) and move furniture and other items away from them to increase their efficiency and improve warm air circulation in the room. You can also bleed your radiators (or get someone to do it for you) to further boost their performance, meaning there’s less energy required to heat your home. Cut the dreaded winter fuel bill even further by wearing a thick jumper in the house and turning the thermostat down a couple of degrees and use draft excluders and simple insulation tools (available at your local hardware store) to reduce heat loss in your home.
5. Re-discover home-made meals
Summer is the season of pub-lunches and long twilight suppers, but winter is the perfect season for curling up at home and enjoying some classic winter warmers. You’ll save money on eating out and you can have the leftovers for lunch saving you even more. If you lack the inspiration to dream up dinner after a long day in the office, try making a meal planner, that way you can buy what you need in advance to avoid those costly weeknight top-up trips to the supermarket.
6. Get a head-start on the health kick
Most of us wait until the New Year to start getting fit, but why not start now? You’ll save money and shed pounds in time for the Christmas party season. Get more out of your dormant gym membership, jump on your bike and cycle to work for a good daily workout, or dust off your trainers and go for an early-morning run. You’ll get more vitamin D and by Christmas you’ll feel great. If exercise isn’t your thing, you could always vow to cut out the alcohol in November, giving yourself a break before the festive boozing begins.
7. Make nature your playground
If the kids are at a loose end, nature offers up a host of low-cost opportunities to entertain them in autumn. Try foraging for seasonal berries on hedgerows, then make a delicious fruit pie, crumble or jam. You could even teach them a thing or two by collecting and identifying different leaves – if you’re not sure yourself, there’s always the internet! You can also collect pine cones and decorate them for some inexpensive seasonal cheer.
Please remember that the value of your investments can go down as well as up and you can get back less than invested.