We all know that the cost of living has gone up exponentially in the United Kingdom, and whilst this whole website is about trading on Betfair, there are just some tips and tricks that are too good not to share; and although this might seem a strange post on a trading blog/website, if it helps you to save money in the current energy crisis, then all good…
You all know me by now, no matter what the subject, I say it like it is…
Many of my members will know, that I used to be in the central heating ‘game’ in my younger days, so I have some insight into a few tips on ways to save on your energy bills – and although I might be worth a few quid these days, I still do not accept waste of any kind. The other issue is, the chances of these energy increases coming down again in cost, are about as likely as a middle-aged man ever looking good in skinny jeans (fecking zero!)…
Little confidence in our so-called ‘leaders, to help…
Sure, the government are pretending to help with these silly little £200 (laughable) loans that need to be paid back over the 4 years, which won’t even make a dent anyway – and they are looking at other ‘cost of living increase’ support gimmicks. One of these ideas are to only MOT vehicles ever 2 years instead of one? I mean, what clown thought of that one? putting road user’s lives in danger to save £50 quid on an MOT? You couldn’t make this stuff up, could you?!
….Only the UK government would come out with such utter BS…., but frankly, all that has been suggested so far, is a pathetic attempt at ‘bait and switch’ tactics. Remember, higher cost of living via inflation, means higher tax revenues to HMRC – from the public – the same public that keep these parasites in a job!
Remember also, that this same government paid out nearly £70 Billion of our money to people on ‘furlough’; and a recent report claimed that £21 Billion of that is still sat in people’s bank accounts to this day – never actually needed, but spunked out on a miscalculation, and an over-generous whim – which we are ALL now paying for…
Of course I’m digressing slightly from the immediate problem at hand; but you see ladies and gentleman, all this gives you an idea of the kind of ‘leadership’ we are dealing with – so when the sh*t really hits the fan, history tells us that we have to have very little confidence in these career-politicians offering us any real value, or direction…
These prices are here to stay, there’s no help – so we have to start thinking logically about this mess…
OK, so energy (gas and electric) costs have gone up at least 54%, and are due to go up yet again later this year (October), and millions of people around the UK and pretty scared at how they will be able to afford the huge increases. Many people will go into debt due to the increases, which are supposedly due to the wholesale cost of such energy.
My own bills at home were almost £300 per month, and now with the increases, the supplier has stated that our anticipated usage of gas and electric will now go to £420 a month (and that’s with me taking a risk on a capped rate) – which equates to £5040 a year!! Wow, eh. Granted my wife works from home, as does my son, and I spend a lot of time in my home office – but 5 grand a year in gas and electric? – not on my watch!
How to save money on your energy bills…
These are the kind of comments my wife screenshot from an energy Facebook group she is on, where people are pulling their hair out in worry and frustration at the increased costs:
Scary stuff, right? These type of comments are everywhere you look right now in the UK, and you can quickly see why people would be concerned at just how they are going to afford their energy bills.
Heating is the biggest cost
Without a doubt heating your home has the biggest bearing on your fuel/energy costs, and therefore as most people will be using either gas fires, or central heating, then during the cold snaps this is where the bulk of the price increases will come – and therefore this is something you really need to take a look at, to see where reductions and savings can be made.
Let’s face it, nobody likes to be cold. I remember our home boiler broke down about 2 months ago, and we all thought: “we’ll be reet for a few days…”; but the cold gets into your bones eventually, no matter how many extra clothes you put on. It’s just not a nice experience at all, especially for a considerable length of time, and this is the prospect that is greeting many, with hoards of people simply refusing to turn their heating on, and thus living in cold households.
Back to the 60’s and 70’s era of poor heating
I grew up in the 70’s – I know what it’s like to be cold. We used to live in a 3-bed-house of 9 (I kid you not…) with all sharing a bath on a Sunday, and then rushing down to the coal fire on an evening in what was the only warm room in the house. Waking up to single-glazed windows with ice on the inside; getting dressed under the blankets, and not a duvet in sight. Personally, although it wasn’t exactly ‘nice’, it was character building (in my opinion), but we didn’t know any better back then…
…now we do, and we expect better in the 21st century!
Therefore, getting back to my own bills, sure, I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford the increases; but the question isn’t always ‘can we all afford it’ – well it is for many (many), but even if you can afford it, you’ll be sacrificing elsewhere.
This is where you need to pay attention, because as we all know that once prices go up, they rarely come down; and living in one of the highest taxed countries in the world, there is always something our lovely Government want us to pay extra for…
So you need to be proactive…
My tip for saving energy, and fuel?
My tip is a simple one.
The fact that the bulk of heating comes from putting on your central heating, or gas fire, you need to replicate the same level of comfort, right? So I started searching for ways to save money on this, and one ‘item’ which I consider a game-changer is a heated throw…
Not very exciting? you thought I’d have some magical heating app that you could download on your phone, or some widget that would light up your house as if you were living in the Bahamas?
Well consider this, folks…
Depending on your variable rates with your energy supplier, it costs around £1 per hour to have your central heating on (91p during my research, and that was before the increases. This will also depend on your boiler, your home dynamics, etc. etc.). So 8 hours a day (let’s say), equals to around (with the energy increase of 54% a unit of gas/electricity – as remember, even a boiler uses electric!), you could be looking at around £1.54 per hour for central heating (and based on the messages I read from my wife, even this could be conservative).
…Plus additional increases that are coming coming in from October.
Therefore, a possibly of at least £396 per month in heating (depending on the variables above).
Heated Throw costs…
I researched these heated throws, which if you didn’t know, are essentially an electric blanket, but much softer and act like a fleece blanket that you can wrap around you.
They plug into the electric (‘ah’…you might be thinking…’ we are trying to save energy costs, no?’), but the beauty is, that instead of heating your whole house – and thus wasting money heating areas you do not need to, you just need to heat yourself, or your family (if they have a heated throw, too).
Heated throws on average are around 110-120W power consumption, and considering the heat they give out (very surprising!), the cost on average for using a heated throw is around:
…3 Pence Per Hour
In fact, I’m literally sat with a heated throw around me right now as I type this post, and it feels like the heating is on (I need to turn it down a bit actually, as I am almost sweating…).
What would you rather pay to be warm, £1.54 per hour, or 3 pence per hour?
Even if the cost was triple that due to the dynamics of your energy costs (based on my research it is around 3p per hour), then it’s still a total no-brainer to me. These heated throws are brilliant, and could be the difference between being able to afford your energy bills, and landing yourself with serious debt – or high bills that you do not need.
Doubt these running costs?
……Take a look at the one (three) I purchased for ourselves – and the Amazon answers from people that used them to save on their energy bills:
The savings are obvious:
£369.60 per month using central heating (depending on your boiler, and home set up) on average.
£7.20 per month using an electric blanket throw.
Both running for 8 hours per day – even if all your family members had one, it’s still massively cheaper than central heating…..
Over £430+ a year saved
……it could be double that saving depending on your existing set up, and the further increases to come in October – and peace of mind to boot. Sure, that won’t be all of your energy bill covered, but it will definitely be a substantial part of it.
Even if you don’t decide to use the tip for yourself, and your family, if you have grandparents, or even know somebody who is struggling financially with their increased bills, I’d recommend you pass this tip on – it could save a life, and I don’t say that easily.
That’s all I’ve really got to say on the subject. If you are struggling, then an electric throw could be part of the solution for you to save on your energy bills at a time when these ‘new normal’s – which we all heard, but discounted – are unfortunately coming to fruition…
Where do you get the throws?
You find find these electric throws everywhere, Home Bargains, Amazon, eBay, and the likes. Just check some of the comments from previous buyers, and you won’t go far wrong.
I bought three of the following for my family, and they have been fantastic so far:
Click here to view the above throw on Amazon
Click here to view other heated throws on Amazon
I always find Amazon best for purchases, as they have free returns if not suitable, and Amazon are fantastic with guarantees – and these throws will easily pay for themselves in no time!
What else can you do to save on energy bills?
There’s a fair amount you can do. If you sit down and think about what you use, and how often you use it, you’ll quickly see the main culprits for energy wastage.
I’ve been thinking about this on, and off for a few days as to what simple changes could be made, as I personally know people who are going to struggle with the increased energy prices.
I actually used to sell central heating many years ago in my early career as a sales professional (I mention this on my mini-biography), so I used to advise people on ways to cut their bills, and energy capacity; and some of the smallest changes can have a big impact on your daily gas/electricity consumption.
Turn the temperature down on your boiler, because just by turning it down a few degrees (which you’ll never notice) then over the course of a year you’ll reasonable savings. The same with your radiators, install (if you don’t have them already) thermostats on your radiators, and turn them all down apart from the room you spend the most time in; or even turn them off in the rooms you don’t use at all.
Just make sure you put all radiators on, say once a week, to keep damp at bay.
Get yourself an energy monitor. An energy monitor (picture on the right) is a simple gadget that will tell you exactly the hourly (or cost per use) cost of a appliance. This saves you using your appliances ‘blind’, because at least you know the actual cost every time you use, say, a tumble dryer, and similar appliances that ordinarily you have no idea how much they are costing you. All you do is plug your appliance into the monitor, set the cost of your electric (from your energy supplier tariff), and this will then convert to the actual cost per use.
The energy monitor we bought is at the top of the following page – well worth it to see exactly how much you are spending:
To View Energy monitors – Click Here
Making cups of tea and coffee. Many people use electric kettles. They’ll fill the kettle with ice cold water from the tap. But think about it, what if after you had made your brew, you then filled the kettle immediately ready for next time? by the time you come to make your next brew, the water in the kettle will be room temperature, meaning it will be quicker to boil that full cold tap temperatures, and thus will use less electricity to boil.
Think about your curtains. In our home, we’ve never had curtains (apart from our bedroom); and a lot of heat is lost through the window area (even with double glazing), so we’re going to put up thick thermal curtains all around, plus partition our open plan living room with a nice, thick drop-curtain, so that when the heating is on we are only heating the area we sit, and that has the main heating thermostat. They are not that expensive either, and you can see some thermal curtains by clicking here.
Draught excluders. Make sure that all your doors are windows are draught-free. Draught excluders are cheap to buy and will easily pay for themselves in retained heat, and it should really be the first thing you look at when looking to eliminate wastage.
Draughts from doors. We are also considering adding curtains over all doors to stop draughts. Think of your home, and rooms like a box, and then consider where the heat can escape, but also remember that you do still need some type of ventilation, so don’t go sealing any air bricks, or anything as silly as that.
Bubble wrap. In our camper van we have thermal blinds that stick to the actual glass that are lined with reflective bubble wrap, and they work extremely well to insulate the inside area. Bubble wrap is lite and does not add any weight, so this could be an option to add as a backing to your existing curtains if you don’t already have thermal ones. Bubble wrap is cheap, and nobody will see it (as it goes towards the back of the curtain), but it will add thermal qualities at an extremely low price.
Energy saving bulbs. We’ve had energy saving light bulbs is our house for about 15 years, and these make a HUGE difference to running costs – without sacrificing light. We even have them in the down-lights in our bathroom ceiling; but without a doubt these bulbs can make a noticeable difference to electricity costs, as lights are the mainstay of the home. Save money and use them, or you are just handing money over to your energy supplier for fun! Click here to see some energy saving bulbs.
Was your hands with cold water. Think about it, if you wash your hands with warm water all the time, then your boiler is having to fire up it’s heat exchanger to full capacity simply for around 12 seconds of heat – usually far more, as the water has to be pushed to the tap you are using. These is pure false economy, so use cold water instead, and save all that gas.
Cut down your central heating times. What we’ve decided to do, as our home is a naturally cold house, which during the summer is nice as we have a South facing garden, but being in the UK it is colder than many countries, and whilst at home I’d always wear shorts, and the heating would be on from 6am, until 12 midnight. Sounds crazy, right?…it’s just a habit we got into over the years, as we’d set it to come on when the children got up for school, then one of us would always be working from home in some capacity.
Now, we’ve decided just to put the heating on in the evenings, which will be a 12 hour a day saving!
Cold isn’t nice, but you know, we’ve already started doing what I’ve mentioned above, and day time (for us) is work time, so we’ll use the heated throws during the day, and enjoy some nice heat in the evenings when we are relaxing; which should go a long way towards putting a dent into these ludicrous price increases.
If we have a drink at the weekends, then feck it, we’ll have saved a load during the week, so we’ll enjoy; because by saving at other times where we were wasting energy (and we all do that!), we can then enjoy the times when we are relaxing.
Always a way forward:
I mean, take a look at the following heart-wrenching post:
Now consider the comment made above on this energy-saving Facebook group, and what the poster ‘could’ have done differently:
- An electric throw costs around 3p per hour to keep you toasty warm (nothing in reality).
- A solar camping light giving off 8 hours of light when fully charged – solar or USB (cost around £9 on eBay – I know, I have two of them for camping, and we use them in the garden in summer for ligh, with a lampshade around them).
- ….Thus saving electricity/gas for potentially eating better without worrying about inflated energy costs.
Very achievable, right? It just needs a little thought moving forward, and sometimes thinking outside the box.
None of this is ideal, and in the day and age, we shouldn’t have to think like we are all doing now about savings; but ladies and gentlemen, I seriously doubt these higher costs will ever get back to where they were, so we have to adapt and see what we can do ourselves to make life more comfortable, whilst at the same time not paying silly money for energy.
Have a think about where you could reduce your bills, and what you could add to your own home, as once you get thinking about it, I think you’ll be surprised at what you can do to save money this way.
Times are changing folks, and you need to adapt, and do what you can to protect yourselves from hardships, and companies/governments taking the p*ss out of us all…
18 thoughts to “How To Keep Warm Whilst Betfair Trading – Cost of Living Increases”
Great advice Stuart as always, had one for years and always use it. My nana and grand dad always had one too.
Thank you. I just thought it useful to share something I found will definitely save money, whilst keeping folks comfortable at the same time.
In fact, now I’ve used one myself, we’re considering taking them with us in our campervan 🙂
What’s this, you’ll be giving Martin Lewis a run for his money soon you big softie lol. Great advice though mate, I wouldn’t have thought of something like that so we’ll be giving it a go as our bills have gone up to stupid levels and the wife is adamant she wants to cancel our Direct debit to British Gas as she keeps checking the smart meter almost on the hour which I expect will cause it’s own problems. Cheers again fella.
I know what you mean, it’s just something so simple that can make a difference. I gave one of these throws to my own wife, and she was like “ooh, this is nice…”. I’d not heard her say that for years, ha-ha. I’m joking of course 😉
Pleased you found it useful, my friend.
Thank you Stuart, never thought of it, wife always sits under a throw with a hot water bottle – owe you one.
Membership fee saved in electricity – lol
All the best
No problem at all. I think I’ll rename the course: The Hot Trader 🙂
I have just purchased a mini pc from amazon, cost me about a hundred quid, specs are not great but for browsing the internet and trading its perfect, it has a Celeron processor and just 4 gig of ram.
Readings on my energy monitor are only 5wts and with just 15wts on my pc monitor. It coms with windows 10 pro. big saving on power and runs quite well, I also use the Chris Titus windows 10 bloat script tool makes it run even faster you can find him on YouTube info and download links. well worth a look.
Looks good, that wattage is very low when you consider the average TV is up to 100watts, even more for a plasma!
It all adds to to reduce your energy expenditure.
Good common sense advice there Stuart. As I used to work in electronic engineering I know that most electrical appliances use electricity even when not in use but plugged in, things like washing machines/microwaves/ovens, anything that uses a lot of juice, you can usually just turn these off at the wall when not in use.
I even turn my boiler off when away for more than a day as it has a little electronic timer thing with the little switches on it, that spins 24 hours a day. Don’t need it on.
Same thing with taps, a lot of people don’t realise but the hot tap is usually the left one on those mixer taps, and every time they need a bit of water to rinse a cup or plate they turn the left tap on for a couple of seconds, firing the boiler up when you don’t actually need it to turn on. So always use the cold tap unless you really need hot.
Finally, this one I found air leaking in on my double glazing windows, go round the joins in the plastic on a windy night with a lighter and watch for the lighter flame getting blown away from window. I found a couple of little gaps where air was pouring in. You can use a proper long handle cooker lighter to go round it rather than a clipper lighter, which gets hot on your finger, and it goes without saying, make sure your curtains are well out the way! Letterboxes are also a favourite for leaking air.
Thanks for that, brilliant advice also. I keep telling my wife all the time about the mixer taps, which is usually always to the left on the one outside our toilet, as like you say, just for washing for your hands the whole boiler has to fire up.
The main problem we have in our home, is we have a stair case right in the middle of a double living room, so all the hot air escapes upstairs first, and then back-fills downstairs where the thermostat is; It’s something we need to look at, as these energy prices are not coming down, and even if people have a few quid, the prospect of paying out additional (potentially) multi thousands of pounds in expenditure, does not sit well.
Stay well, my friend.
Many years ago I was told by a heating engineer that the most efficient way to heat your home was to settle on a temperature for example 20 degrees and keep the heating system on that 24 hours a day 7 days a week of course it will knock itself off in most of summer but it costs less for the system to top up a few minutes an hour than say in the morning for a couple of hours and in the evening for a couple of hours …I thought that was a well known fact …
This is NOT actually true though. A few minutes browsing the Internet will confirm that this not the best approach – even states that on the Money Saving Expert website.
It’s an interesting topic. I think it also depends on the type of house you have, and the heating dynamics. In my house on a really cold day, the house will struggle to even reach 23 degrees, which means if all the thermostat can reach is 22 degrees (due to extreme cold outside, or air leaks, etc), the boiler is constantly working (costing) to reach the higher temperature – thus on full power permanently trying to reach it.
i am currently waiting for a reply from m y landlord as i wish to replace the gas and electric meters with my own. yes i can do that its in the legislation. i have one other really suprising thing to tell you all. guess what? these electric and gas bills . as a none commercial customer your NOT LIABLE for it! yes you read that correct. not liable. its all commercial. they are treating you as a commericial customer . we really need a class action against this lot. here is a friend of mine who has not paid for years, british gas have not even contacted him in any form for yrs ! they are already being paid, fact! i myself dont do direct debit i get a quarterly paper bill. it looks like a cheque in fact because it is. i requested they send me the other one, yes there are two types. one requires money one does not its payment in of itself. i asked scottish power to send me the other one,and could i discharge the debt?. i even include a photo copy of one, totally ignored! why are there 2 payment slips/cheques? one is commercial one is not common sense. or there would only be one! here is pauls story. still got his gas and leccy on! spoke to him month ago. youtube.com/watch?v=XHnXZzI-2-A&t=3361s and this one too. youtube.com/watch?v=yx_kEwC7iLc&t=113s we are creditors not debtors. watch and learn. if it was all bs he would be cut off long time ago. he is not the only one either.
Very interesting post that, especially as many readers are struggling at the moment, which is only likely to increase with October’s increase.
Thank you for the input – much appreciated.
no problem. just trying to raise awareness of this issue. point is as a creditor using the correct instrument the debt is set off against your share of the resources you have used. the elite will be taught this from age 12 or 13 . you cant “pay” there is nothing to pay with. its a debt based system everything is a iou. a promise to pay. when i contacted my supplier yrs ago all they had to do was say this is bs. this is how it works etc. but totally skirted the issue because its true. they cannot lie on paper so they ignore which proves your correct. if they had a case paul webster be cut off yrs ago. but no. they are double dipping.
Very good piece of research – thank you so much for posting. Have always found Amazon expensive. The link you posted is for £69. Got one from Ebay for £45. Same blanket, they even use the same photos, so I know its the same. Might just save our members £25 : ).
I’ve always found Amazon the most reliable, especially where guarantees are concerned. Good find on eBay, but I always prefer the genuine 12 months guarantee that Amazon provides, especially where electrical items are concerned 🙂
Take care, and stay warm.