With Black Friday just around the corner, now might be the perfect chance to grab a bargain on that robot vacuum cleaner or finally upgrade your old, slow laptop.
But it’s also all too easy to get carried away with all the tempting deals on show. You could end up spending more on energy than you save in the sale.
Here are three ways to spend less in the long run, from choosing the right appliances to finding the right company to help lower your household energy bills.
1. Keep an eye on how you’re using energy before you splash the cash
It’s important to carry out regular mini-audits of your monthly energy bills to see where you can make any changes, and learn how effective they are. This might be ‘one offs’, such as switching away from paper-based billing (for which some providers charge), managing your account online, and paying by direct debit, which often works out cheaper. If you don’t have a smart meter, try to send your supplier regular readings to make sure you don’t get overcharged. It might also help to keep a day-to-day note of all your regular energy usage, and consider bigger changes such as lowering your thermostat, or your boiler flow temperature.
Another option could be to shift some of your usage, such as washing clothes or dishes, to off-peak hours. These usually apply overnight, and can be up to 50% cheaper than daytime rates. But do check your tariff first, and remember you’ll need to have a smart or dual-rate meter installed to track your usage.
Some energy companies can also help you save on your energy bills directly, by offering discounts when you switch (or bundle) multiple products with them.
2. Choose energy-efficient options
Not all kettles are created equal. From toasters to dishwashers, energy-efficient appliances can make a small but meaningful dent in your monthly outgoings.
In fact, the difference between the most and least energy efficient of the four largest items – fridges, tumble dryers, dishwashers and washing machines – could result in annual savings of over £500.
So perhaps make a list of your main appliances, and consider switching out those that are past their best. Look out for energy labels on appliances that give them a rating from A to G, with A being the most, and G the least efficient.
You can also swap out old light bulbs for LED lights. Costing as little as £3, they use almost 90% less energy than traditional bulbs, which means they pay for themselves in just a few months. They also last much longer.
As well as upgrading, unplug any unused electronics and appliances, including mobile phones once they’ve reached full charge.
3. Find deals on your energy, too
It’s not just tech bargains you can find on Black Friday. For example, Utility Warehouse (also known as UW) offers great discounts on your household bills including energy – up to £125 cheaper than the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee – plus broadband, mobile and insurance. In fact, the more services you switch with your utility bundle, the more you save, with the average household pocketing over £500 by bundling at least four of their services.
Last but not least – and perfect for your Black Friday shopping – UW also offers a Cashback card, with the savings taken off your monthly bill. It features up to 10% cashback at dozens of retailers, and 1% elsewhere, making sure you save while you spend.