Winter can be a challenging time of the year financially – outgoings seemingly increase in all areas.

Christmas approaches, bringing with it associated costs, and the colder weather means you are spending more at home, on heating and other utility bills. The costs can soon mount up and it is important to understand ways in which you could be able to save money.

We have explored household costs before, in our article How to Save Money Around the House, but winter brings additional costs and more specific areas in which you might be able to save. Energy Live News reports that your bills could increase by up to £107 in 2020, with those working from home under current restrictions incurring excessive costs. That is why it is more pertinent than ever to look for methods by which you could save some money, making the winter a little easier on your wallet.

We have pulled together some simple hacks and ideas that could help you find some extra money once we emerge from the cold months.

Standby

How tempting is it, late at night, to turn the TV off using your remote control, and head up to bed? Or maybe you leave your mobile phone plugged in charging when you go to sleep, only to unplug it when you wake up. These are examples of ‘phantom power’, where you are paying for power you do not need, nor see the benefit of. An article by the Express suggests that there could be up to 40 devices in a household drawing phantom power, with potential savings of more than £100 per year for simply switching things off at the wall.

Draughts

Any area of your home which loses heat is something you must address. The more heat leaves your home, the more you spend trying to replace it, and one of the biggest offenders is a draught. That might be draught from a window, or from under a door, but if cold air is getting into your room, it means hot air is escaping. In rooms you frequent regularly, such as a lounge or bedroom, try to have a draught excluder along the bottom of doors, to prevent air escaping. If you can, use thick curtains over the windows which leak cold air. That will keep your room warmer and means the thermostat can stay turned down.

Maintain Your Boiler

Saving money on energy starts at the very point at which the fuel enters your home – the boiler. By making sure your boiler is well maintained, you will ensure it remains as efficient as possible, meaning it burns less fuel to heat your home. You might also wish to consider insuring your appliance. Although an additional expense might seem counterproductive, it could work out better for you in the long run. The gas and boiler cover on HomeServe, details how you can benefit from a free boiler health check and service when you get started. That alone could help identify a problem before it becomes serious, in turn saving you money on a hefty and unexpected bill further down the line. In addition, if your boiler does suffer a breakdown over winter, you would not have an unexpected outlay to factor into your tight budget.

Monitor Usage

Many energy suppliers will now provide you with a smart meter, free of charge, to monitor your usage over time. This is a great way to save money because it can help you spot trends and concerning spikes. Being able to track what you are spending can help you find hacks specific to your home which does not necessarily apply to all homes – this might be the appliances you run, when you run them, what you have on your grid which can be taken off and a host of other aspects. It all starts by knowing what you are using, as you are using it.

Daniel is a loans expert based in London and has been working in the payday loans industry since 2010.