The Complete Guide to being home-saving savvy

By Natasha Culzac

Spot money-saving opportunities all around you with our guide to becoming financially savvy in the home.

As the cost of living rises while our salaries don’t budge an inch, getting switched-on about the savings that can be made in the home is a must. Our guide lists some easy ways you can save a packet by making simple changes or additions to your everyday life.

Positive energy

Small habitual changes to the way you consume energy in your household can make a difference: turning your appliances off standby mode (such as a TV) can save you £30 a year, while showering one minute less each day also chops off a tenner. The Energy Saving Trust says that adding LED light bulbs could save you £35 a year, while draught-proofing windows and doors will keep another £30 in your pocket.

The government has asked all energy suppliers to roll out smart meters to every household in Britain by 2020. These meters are much more accurate and you will be better able to assess what uses up your energy the most and where savings can be made. Ask your supplier to install one. More info here and criticism levelled at the project can be read here.

Don’t forget that you can also be in the money by switching energy providers. uSwitch says customers can save nearly £700 simply by switching. And read about the potential switching pitfalls here.

Homeowners may also want to think about installing small-scale renewable and low-carbon systems, such as solar panels. Households that do this may be eligible for payment as part of a government scheme or you can use the electricity you produce on your own home. More info here.

Got your number

Feel like you spend a pretty packet on your phone bill every month? Thanks to the fact that we now do so much through our phones, such as emailing or watching television, having a decent amount of data is critical for most as is being able to use it, cheaply, abroad.

If you’re halfway through a two-year contract your options are a bit limited, but you can still check how much data and how many minutes you use on average. Going over your allowance is extremely expensive and going nowhere near is a waste so change your plan accordingly. You can also move your phone onto a different insurance plan, such as house or musical instrument insurance – you don’t have to have the phone insured with your mobile provider and it can be a lot cheaper elsewhere.

If you’re nearing the end of a contract and want to seriously think about how you can reduce your bill, think about the following:

Tell your supplier you’re going to leave them and haggle for a better deal

Is it better for you to go for a sim-only deal? You can either keep the phone you’ve had for two years or buy one outright

Use online tool Billmonitor to analyse your bills or do some price comparison calculations with MobilePhoneChecker, MoneySupermarket, and uSwitch.

Getting shopped

Remember that there are countless retailers vying for your hard-earned cash, particularly online stores, and they will use anything they can to grab you.

If you’re using an online store for the first time, double-check whether they have any first-time-customer discounts. For example Ocado offers £20 off your first order or Sainsburys offers £60 off your first five online shops. Some places will advertise this when you first visit, others will have these offers in their newsletters.

Check discount code sites such as Voucher Codes to see if there are any active promos for the company you’re wanting to buy from. Twitter can sometimes be a good source of codes, too, especially for things like Uber or Gett Taxi, because the person offering out the code gets a beneficial kick-back. Keep abreast of deals online here and here.

Other great ways of saving on your shopping/eating-out bills:

Check any memberships you have for any member-related deals. For example The AA has exclusive restaurant and insurance offers for its recovery members

Discounted goods and services can be found on Groupon and Wowcher, but just make sure you can weed the rare from the rubbish

Get cashback on nearly everything you buy online but signing up to sites like Quidco or TopCashback. These are especially good when you’re making one huge purchase and you get a lump sum back into your account weeks later

Beware that with discount sites you may be subject to a lot of marketing emails after joining.

Shake it off

If you can’t be bothered to set up a stall at a car boot sale, flog your old and unwanted wares online. Ebay, which requires a lot of effort for potentially no sale, might not be up your alley and the same goes for Gumtree. Instead, get a guaranteed sale for your DVDs, CDs, books and electronics using sites like WeBuyBooks, MazumaMobile, and musicMagpie. Just beware you probably won’t get as much as you thought you would.



Having a vegetable patch isn’t just for show-offs with gardens. City dwellers: you can grow your own organic herbs and vegetables, too. Save money on supermarket salads by getting green fingered indoors – you can even set up shop on your window sill. More info here.

Top Takeaway

Sometimes you feel like you are doing everything in your power to reduce your outgoings and yet just breathing feels like it’s costly. Hopefully this guide will give you some extra ideas for saving – or even earning – money around the house. For more exhaustive and specific lists, read this and this.


By Natasha Culzac

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