The turning back of the clocks marks the end of British Summer Time and the arrival of darker evenings and dropping temperatures. So, as you turn up the thermostat, we look for ways you can protect your pocket from wintry 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 the initial outlay, 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. Get ready for the festive season by having an Autumn de-clutter of your cupboards and loft and why not make some money in the process, by selling the good quality stuff on Ebay or Gumtree. What’s left could go to a charity shop or be donated to local community groups or organisations. 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. Black Friday is another good opportunity to grab a bargain and with most sales now online, you won't even have to queue outside in the cold.
4. Dust your radiator
It’s almost too good to be true, but some simple housekeeping can literally pay 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. A simple woolly jumper can help cut the dreaded winter fuel bill yet further by enabling you to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees. Simple solutions like draft excluders and other insulation (available at your local hardware store) will also help reduce heat loss in your home.
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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 the leftovers will save you your lunch money. If you lack the inspiration to dream up dinner after a long day, 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 cut out 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. Or, teach them a thing or two about nature 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.