Saving money at energy costs rise

3 ways to save on your utility bill this winter

It’s starting to draw to a close, but the winter chill hasn’t quite disappeared yet. Finding that it’s doing a number on your utility bills as well as your mood? Check out these three easy ways to reduce the season’s impact on your bank balance.

1) Heating

The cold is probably the primary enemy of many Australians during the winter, quickly followed by the rain. However, rather than cranking up the thermostat, it might be worth throwing on an extra jumper once you find out how much the extra heating could cost you.

According to the Office of Environment and Heritage, just one additional degree on your thermostat could increase your energy bill by 10 per cent, while an energy-efficient home reduces your heating needs by up to 40 per cent. That adds up to some pretty significant savings over the course of winter when heating becomes that much more important.

If you want to access these savings, make sure your insulation is up to date, any draughts are plugged (especially around window frames) and try to only heat what you need. Space heaters are great for doing this rather than relying on central heating, as Sustainability Victoria demonstrates that heating a medium-sized room costs about a fifth of heating the whole house at once.

2) Lighting

Winter is a dark time for everyone, and we aren’t just talking about the seasonal blues. We have now (thankfully) passed the winter solstice, AKA the longest night of the year, so the days will steadily be getting brighter from here on out. However, the sheer amount of overcast days that prevail over the weather of winter could still tempt you to slam on the lights a little earlier and a little brighter than usual.

We aren’t going to recommend that you stumble around in the dark: it would be very embarrassing to need to claim your insurance after tripping over the coffee table and breaking something after all. That doesn’t mean you can’t still save during these darker months though. It’s all to do with your choice of fixtures rather than how much you use them.

The NSW Government explains that an LED downlight, for example, only costs about $5 a year on average to run. That’s a fifth of the cost of a 75W incandescent globe. Multiply that out to the number of lights that you have in your home, and you can quickly understand why so many savvy savers are choosing to invest in more efficient lighting.

3) Water

What would an Australian winter be like without a torrent of cold rain? There’s nothing quite like a howling storm to dampen your day, literally and figuratively. However, if you have the right attitude, you can turn this nuisance into a useful commodity for your home – and winter suddenly becomes an opportunity for savings. It’s time to talk about water tanks.

Loads of Australians already have these handy features for their homes (about a third of those with suitable homes in 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics). It’s understandable: a water tank not only saves you money on your utility bills, but also helps your local community by reducing the amount of stormwater that drainage needs to deal with. If you’ve experienced flooding before, you’ll know how much of a difference that could make.

However, it also helps reduce your water consumption, and subsequently your bills. Rainwater tanks can provide water for the toilet, washing clothes or even the pool (though you likely won’t be using that for a little while yet). What’s not to love?

Winter doesn’t have to be a depressing time of year – it’s an opportunity to get more involved with reducing your impact on the planet and your household expenditure at the same time. Of course, it might be easier to find a home that already has all these features installed, or even utilising the new Police Bank Green Loan to help you finance.

Whatever your needs, make sure you get in touch with the team at Police Bank to find out how we can help you make the most of your money!