Anyone who reads the blog regularly will know that I work from home and that by about mid-October each year I start to moan about my energy bill. Follow me on social media and you will soon see Instagram pictures of big fluffy jumpers, there will be pleas for recommendation for where to find fingerless gloves online and I will no doubt mention that despite loving my big old house that it is a beggar of a property for draughts.
Sadly, despite working from home on my own business I am not actually classed as a business customer when it comes to finding preferential gas and electricity rates (one day this might change and my will it make me happy!). For those of you who rent offices or similar (I know a fair few people who run their own shop who might find this useful) you can find some great savings on the business gas and electricity savings website Business Save. For the rest of you, and myself here are some top tips for keeping warm in winter without your heating bill raising your temperature.
- Wear a Jumper
It might sound silly however whether you are at work out of the home or inside your first port of call should be an extra layer rather than turning up the heat a few degrees. You’d be surprised how much money you’ll save doing this.
- Don’t Turn the Heat up If It’s Cold Outside
Bear with me on this one. If you have a well-insulated house / office you shouldn’t need to automatically turn the heat up when the weatherman or weatherwoman says the temperature outside has dropped. Your heating should be set at a comfortable level and no more.
- Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
If your house isn’t properly insulated look into this. There are a number of grants available through private companies, councils and even energy companies. Paying to keep the heat in pays for itself in the long run and helps to reduce your home or office’s carbon footprint.
- Service Your Boiler
You should have your gas boiler and fires checked annually, as much for safety as for efficiency. An energy efficient boiler which is working as well as it can costs less to run and therefore your savings are immediate.
- Switch or Stay
Don’t automatically switch providers because you assume it will be cheaper. Sometimes the retention team at your energy company are able to lower your tariff and offer further discounts and offers which make staying with them more financially beneficial. Do of course compare prices and ring the top results to obtain the best quote you can based on your individual circumstances. This may be time-consuming (again I lament the fact that I don’t qualify as a business as so can’t get someone to do this for me) however the moneysaving rewards speak for themselves.
- Plug Up
Heat is crafty and works hard to try and escape. Fit covers over keyholes, put up curtain linings, use draught excluders and make sure you close doors behind you (or rather the kids do) to keep the heat in.
These are just a few simple tips yet they will make a significant impact on your energy bills over time. The general rule of thumb is that provided you are on the right tariff that the lower you energy usage the better the bill so turn things off, layer up and be savvy about energy waste proofing your home, office and business. This article from the fabulous moneysaving website MoneySavingExpert will help you cut back on your energy bills and work out which pieces of energy saving advice you’ve been given are myths and which are really useful when it comes to cutting costs.
Every other week Roy drags our big black bin and our recycling out the back of the workshop, down the lane and all the way down to the main road so that it may be picked up by the council. He might put it out around 9pm the night before or 6am in the morning before he goes to work. The bins don’t get collected until perhaps 10am or even 11am on our specified day and so our rubbish could be sat exposed for twelve hours or more.
When I consider how much paper I receive as a business owner, never mind the household bills and mailings that seem to pour through the door, leaving our rubbish out (which could be littered with personal info) makes me feel somewhat uneasy. Or it did…
Fellowes are strongly supporting National Fraud Prevention Month and have asked me to spread the word, sending me what may only be described as a rather gorgeous (and seriously effective) shredder to help me sort my own piles of paper securely. As part of the scheme Fellowes are challenging parentts to give their family home a “Shred Over”, ensuring that the family’s identity information remains secure, even on recycling day.
During half term Fellowes invite you to take part in the fun #shredoverchallenge – shredding your unnecessary paper properly and perhaps even having a bit of fun in the meantime (shredded paper makes great stuffing for homemade toys, for filling a sensory hide and seek box and in my home, snow which may be sprinkled from one side of the house to another).
We emptied the office of unnecessary paperwork, got rid of junk mail and sorted the “home” files and was rather amazed to find that even shredded into tiny pieces we managed to fill two whole big black bin bags to the top. Had even half of this hit the bin without being properly shredded (as opposed to torn up and scribbled on) identity thieves would have had a field day in our names.
Fellowes have provided these handy hints and tips, as well as identity fraud information to get people started and educate us all a little more about staying safe. ID fraud really is something that needs to be considered these days, with households having so many accounts, banks, clubs and so many documents relating to them sent through the post or being printed off.
Don’t forget to tweet Fellowes at @FellowesUK and show off your shredded paper crafts or your bags of shame (our two bags have been collected by the recycling now so I don’t have to think about how much paperwork I’d accumulated and previously not discarded effectively).
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