Money Wellness
Illustrated image of a watering can filling a piggy bank with coins. Top tips to save money on household bills over summer
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calendar icon28 Jun 2024

How to beat the heat and reduce household spending. Ten expert hacks to reduce your bills this summer

After months of continuous rain, the sun is shining, and summer is finally here - for the next few weeks at least! And to top it off energy bills are falling again in a matter of days.

Summer is usually the time when households reduce their energy usage and build up credit with their suppliers in preparation for the winter ahead. But this year is a bit different with the perfect storm brewing.

Sky-high energy bills for three years have left around 2.3 million households in debt to their provider. And they might not have the extra cash to chip that away this summer because any savings that could be made will be eaten up by rising water bills. Water bills have increased by 6% over the past 12 months, costing the average family home £473, and could rise by 70% by 2030.

But making a few tweaks here and there while the weather is good could slash spending, help reduce debt, or build up an all-important buffer before the winter sets in.

Defrost your freezer

Ice buildup means your freezer has to work harder to regulate the temperature inside, especially if it gathers around the fan. A frost-free freezer will save money on energy bills, and you’ll be able to use every inch of space, so more room for ice creams and other summer treats.

Use your dishwasher

Dishwashers have had a bad press for years. But contrary to popular belief, they use less water than handwashing in the sink. According to the Energy Saving Trust, handwashing accounts for 4% of the average household’s water use, whereas dishwashers make up just 1%. Maximise the saving by completely filling your dishwasher before turning it on to reduce cost-per-wash.

Save on laundry

Washing clothes is an expensive activity using lots of energy and water. Save money by reducing the temperature you wash your clothes at to 30 degrees and make sure you only wash a full load. Your clothes will be cleaned as well as they would on a hot wash, but you’ll use 40% less energy. And to boost savings, take advantage of the nice weather, and dry your clothes outside for free. Dryers hoover up energy and cost around £1.51 per cycle. 

Unplug devices

Standby’ devices use energy even when they’re not in use. Known as vampire devices, they can use as much as 7% of your energy consumption just by being plugged in. Take advantage of being outside more in summer by unplugging everything not in use, such as TVs, kettles, microwaves, phone chargers and hair dryers to save on bills. Alternatively, invest in a smart power strip for around £29.99, which cut power to devices when they’re not in use.

Cool your water heating costs

Water heating accounts for about 17% of your total household energy bill. Lowering the temperature of your water heater to around 50 degrees will save you energy and ultimately money. Plus, who needs a scalding hot shower in the summer anyway?

Use electricity during off-peak hours

Make the most of outdoor living in summer and commit to restricting as much energy use as possible to off-peak hours. Off-peak hours vary depending on your supplier but they’re usually between 10 pm and 8 am because less energy is taken from the grid during this time, so energy providers can afford to offer cheaper rates.

Save on food and cooking

England is renowned for the quality of its fruit and veg and it’s at its best in summer. Seek out seasonal fruits and vegetables for your meals or check out what local producers are selling and save by not buying expensive out-of-season produce. It’s also the best time of the year to save on cooking. Firing up the BBQ and cooking outdoors reduces indoor heat and the need to cool your home. It also saves on energy with propane, natural gas and charcoal all coming in cheaper than using your electric or gas cooker.

Freeze your gym membership

No one wants to spend extra time inside when the weather is good. Work out in the sunshine in public parks, local trails or free recreational facilities, and freeze your annual gym membership during the summer could save a few quid.

Steer clear of a fan and go natural

Using a fan can cost anything between 10p – 19p over 10 hours according to Energy Helpline. While not hugely expensive compared to air conditioning, it’s still money you don’t need to spend.

Let fresh air circulate around your home by keeping windows and internal doors open. If temperatures get too high, only open windows early in the morning and later in the evening. This will stop rooms from becoming uncomfortably hot, especially if you open windows on both sides of your home to really get the air circulating.

Make sure you’re getting all the help you’re entitled to

About £23bn of financial support goes unclaimed each year. Take some time over summer to check what you are entitled to. Even a small award can open the door to lots of different help, such as the WaterSure scheme, which helps low-income households with high essential water use with the cost of their water bills. Or lets you access the Warm Home Discount, which could take £150 off your energy bill, as well as several other energy-saving improvement schemes.

All these tips will help to reduce your spending over summer. But if you find yourself with a large amount of utility debt that you’re not keeping on top of, no amount of savvy saving will help. If this is you, we can help you with free debt support.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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