Russell Ward Finance Writer
It’s getting colder outside, as winter beckons and the nights draw in. While everybody loves the chance to cosy up and slow down, the arrival of winter can mean a spike in overheads, particularly when it comes to your heating and energy bills.
More than one-fifth of Australian families will experience an energy bill of $110 more than usual, increasing to 60 per cent for those aged 50 to 59. What’s more, one-third of all households will pay $50 more than usual, according to a previous survey by comparison service Mozo1.
To prevent your budget from blowing out this winter, here are five ways to keep your costs down and save money.
1. Use a programmable thermostat
One of the biggest financial burdens over winter is your heating bill. Use a digital thermostat to reduce heat usage when you don’t need it as much, such as when sleeping or at work, and watch your energy savings grow. By setting your thermostat to between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius, rather than turning it up higher, you can also reduce the impact on your winter energy bill.
2. Top up your tyres
Colder air means the pressure in your tyres could drop – tyre pressure can decrease as much as one kilogram of pressure for every ten degree fall in temperature. Low pressure drives up petrol usage and can cause tyre damage over time leading to additional repair costs, plus an impact on your safety when driving the car. With this in mind, ensure your tyres are regularly topped up to avoid unnecessary expense.
3. Shop around with energy providers
It pays to review your energy bills to see if savings can be made. Do your research and find out if you’re getting the best deal from your energy company – it could, for example, be time to divest your various energy financial outgoings and consolidate into the one provider. Or opt for an ethical green electricity and gas provider, where the cost might be slightly higher but the benefit to the environment overrides this factor. Head to Comparethemarket.com.au to compare energy plan prices and features.
4. Set up energy bill payment plans
At a time of year when the temps go down and energy usage shoots up, you might find yourself faced with a wintry surprise that you may not have budgeted for or even be able to pay. One way to help you better plan your budget is to set up regular instalments with your energy provider. They will bill you the same amount each month based on average usage meaning you’ll know exactly where you stand each month.
5. Make better use of ceiling fans
Remember using your ceiling fan in summer to keep cool? Most ceiling fans are also a simple, low-cost way to increase the effectiveness of your home’s heating in winter. Based on the same principles that keep you cool in summer, simply switch the fan to the reverse, clockwise setting to trap heat in the house and push it back down and around the edges of your room.
To talk to us about how we can support your savings and financial goals this winter, please visit one of our branches, check out our savings products or give us a call on 132 888.
About the author
Russell Ward is a professional business writer who has been published in The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, CEO Magazine, Global Living, Mamamia and Thought Catalog.
Please note that this article is not financial product advice and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs.
1Australian energy bills soar due to coldest winter in years, Mozo, https://mozo.com.au/energy/articles/australian-energy-bills-soar-due-to-coldest-winter-in-years/8656605006