Rising energy bills and a cost of living crisis in the midst of winter have forced many Britons to rethink how they make use of their gas and electricity. However, personal finance expert Shaq Magee explained that you don’t need to switch your heating off entirely in order to save money.
Shaq is the co-founder of Millennial Money UK, a community-led platform aimed at demystifying personal finance topics. The brand has amassed 24K followers on its Instagram page and is continuing to grow its Youtube offering (Youtube.com/MillenialmoneyUK), sharing helpful explainers to benefit Britons’ finances.
“According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, financial stress is one of the most common causes of poor mental health in the UK,” Shaq told Express.co.uk.
“As Christmas approaches and expenses increase, learning how to manage financial stress can be a useful tool. Over three-quarters of us have already started reducing our energy usage, according to research from F&C Investment Trust.”
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Shaq continued: “Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, keeping doors and windows closed and waiting for a full load before you do the washing can all help cut down your monthly energy bill, but the smallest of changes can have a sizeable impact on your bank balance.”
Though many households have taken to popping on an extra jumper rather than putting on the heating, just being aware of your thermostat could make a huge difference on chillier days.
He said: “Did you know that turning your thermostat down by one degree could save the average household £115 over the course of a year?”
Reducing the temperature of your thermostat is one of the easiest ways to make a dent in your bills, with research from the WWF suggesting you could cut your overall spending by as much as 10 percent.
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Research by Uswitch.com estimates that 17.7 million UK households typically set their thermostat to 20C or higher, which is one degree more than is recommended by the Committee on Climate Change.
However, Uswitch’s experts suggest that turning your thermostat down by just one degree could save an average of £80 a year. This means the 17.7 million households setting thermostats above 20C could save £1.4 billion collectively if they turned the temperature down by a single degree.
The Energy Saving Trust recommends setting it to the “lowest comfortable temperature”. For most households, this means somewhere between 18C and 21C.
Even on colder days, you don’t necessarily need to turn up your thermostat. Even when the thermometer drops, your thermostat will continue to heat your house to the same temperature. But, the Energy Savings Trust added: “It may take a little longer on colder days, so you might want to set your heating to come on earlier in the winter.”
Making a plan for when you will use your heating is one of the most cost-effective methods of warming your property.
The Energy Savings Trust recommends setting the central heating programme to come on around half an hour before you get up, and go off around half an hour before you go to bed.
If the house is empty during the day, or you can manage without heating during the day, make sure to set the programmer to go off during this time to avoid unnecessary waste.