South-east Australia is known for getting chilly during winter, bringing in the peak time for bills; so here are 5 ways to save this winter.

We all like to get cosy in our clothes fresh out of the dryer, sitting by the heater straight after a hot shower. But unfortunately, this takes a toll on our electricity, water and gas bills as well as a few others like our credit card bills. There are a few ways that you can make slight changes at your home to make it a little easier on your wallet during this expensive season.

1. Energy Bills

To start off, take an observation of how your home runs on a daily basis. Do you have any energy efficient appliances in your house? Specifically, all your kitchen products and the lights in use. LED lights use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than fluorescent lights. The kitchen is usually the biggest energy user in the house, so consider the use of your stove, microwave, fridge and dishwasher and find ways to use them less or stop wasting the energy as much. Make sure to unplug smaller appliances like the toaster, food processor or kettle when it’s not in use, to make sure they aren’t sucking any more energy when on standby.

Also take note of your choice of energy retailer, compare your rates to others in the market and find out if you’ve still got the best deal in town. If you don’t like the hassle of switching, talk it up with your current provider and negotiate a better deal. Keep an eye out for terms like time-of-use pricing, off-peak hot water and smart meters.

Heaters and dryers can be very convenient in the colder months however there are cheaper alternatives to staying warm. Substitute these appliances for warmer clothing, or buy a rug to keep the floor warm. Use a clothesline instead of the dryer and always remember to unplug these appliances when they’re not in use.

2. Water Bills

Where you can, maybe try substituting the dishwasher for hand washing if there aren’t too many dishes to wash, or switch to a cold-water cycle or a shorter time. To reduce the waste of running water, use a plug when hand washing dishes in the kitchen, or clothes in the laundry. When using taps or the shower, use a timer or turn the tap off when you’re not actively using it (i.e. brushing teeth, shaving, lathering up). An obvious money saver would be checking for leaks and getting them fixed, they really do add up over time. If you have plants to take care of, reuse your kitchen water after washing veggies, left over boiled water from cooking or the kettle and water your plants.

3. Gas Bills

Cooking hot, fresh meals every day is not only tiring but can take a toll on your gas bill. An easy way to overcome this would be to meal prep and cook in bulk, then all you need to do is warm your food up in the microwave every day. Some hot water tanks are powered by gas; hence these expensive systems need to be used efficiently. When hand washing dishes, using cold water will ease the pressure on the hot water tank but will still give you a clean finish. Likewise, when washing your hands or taking a shower, the use of piping hot water isn’t good for the bill or your skin for that matter, keep the temperature as low as you comfortably can and then make up for the chilly weather by layering your clothes.

4. Credit Card Bills

Now this bill isn’t just a hassle to deal with during winter, but all year long. But don’t fret because there are plenty of ways to significantly cut down on your expenditure. When it comes to groceries, you will always get more value for money compared to buying food. But you can crack down harder on your groceries by finding cheaper alternatives. Sometimes the local grocery stores give you a better deal compared to the bigger retailers, so keep your eyes peeled for a good deal. If you do still like to shop at Woolworths or Coles, take advantage of the Fuel discounts they provide on the receipts. Also, get yourself a Flybuys card or rewards credit cards that can help you save a lot of money in the long run while also snagging yourself some freebies along the way.

If you find yourself splurging on fun activities like going to the movies, or road trips, you can still have fun on a lower budget by having a movie night at home or setting up a picnic with just some food you’ve made yourself. There is always a way to save some money here and there, you just need to actively try, over time you’ll be able to significantly cut down on your bills.

5. Phone / Internet Bills

Nowadays, with everything being able to be accessed online, there really is no need to have expensive paid subscriptions. Number one on the bill-reduction checklist is to get rid of all the paid services that you aren’t utilising at all. Why choose expensive phone plans for more data? There seems to be plenty of open Wi-Fi areas when you’re out and about anyway, so why pay more when there are free alternatives? If you’re looking for a better home internet plan, find one that gives you an initial free trial period of different streaming services. Always look for deals that match your style and will give you the most value: if you don’t have time for Foxtel and their thousands of different shows, go with cheaper options like Netflix, and choose a family plan where everyone can pitch in.

With these easy and simple steps to cut down on your bills, you’ll be feeling much more relaxed and cosy knowing your wallet isn’t suffering as much as it was before.

Important information

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