There’s no escaping your household bills. But most people can reduce them by shopping around, and putting in place a few simple strategies to save energy.
Just a few clicks could save you hundreds of dollars a year, according to the Victorian Government Energy Compare website. The website compares all electricity and gas plans, and 91% of people who compare their plans save money on their bills. To use the tool, you’ll need your most recent gas or electricity bill. It can compare every plan offered by every retailer, so you can find the one that’s cheapest for you.
Other states can start at www.energymadeeasy.gov.au. You can generally switch online, so it’s a pretty painless process – and more than 50% of people who go through the process find they can save more than $330 a year, so it’s definitely worth trying.
Cutting down the amount of energy you use is the other obvious way to save on your bills - here are a few tips to help you save power.
Six savvy ways to save power
1. Switch off ‘vampire’ appliances that drain electricity even when they’re switched off.
These are things that still have a little light on, like your TV, stereo, game consoles, and computers, as well any phone chargers when you’re not actively using them. Switch them off at the power point or unplug them when they’re not in use because up to 10% of your bill is caused by these vampires!
2. Don’t heat or cool rooms you’re not using.
Close doors, or if you have central heating or aircon, close off vents or turn off zones. Close your curtains, turn everything off when you leave the house or go to bed, and dress appropriately for the temperature.
3. Replace your light globes with LED globes.
If you have down lights, you can get this done at no cost through the Victorian Government (find a participating retailer here), and if you don’t, they’re worth spending a little money on. For each 60 watt globe you replace with an equivalent LED globe, you’ll save around $300 off your electricity bill. If you’re a renter, you can take the globes with you when you move – just save the ones you’ve replaced so you can put them back on moving day! Calculate the savings and choose the right bulb to buy with the help of the government’s light bulb saver app.
4. Turn down the temperature of your hot water.
An extra 10°C on the thermostat of your hot water system could be costing you $25 a year with a modern cylinder, or twice that with an older one (but be careful – it needs to be 60°C at the cylinder to prevent the growth of legionella bacteria).
5. Wash your clothes in cold water and use the clothesline.
According to the Victorian government, you can save around half of the energy costs of using your washing machine just by running the cold wash instead of a warm wash. By avoiding the tumble dryer just once a week, you could save about $80 a year.
6. Check the energy rating of appliances before you buy.
Use the government’s energy star website to compare appliances and find one that will save you money over its life – or download the app to help you compare while you shop. You can add the purchase price to the app to find out the total the appliance will cost you over its life.
In Australia, stoves and ovens don’t get rated using the energy star system – but the Save Energy, Save Money website rates some of the most popular brands so you can compare cost per hour. If the brand you’re looking at is also available in the UK or Europe, you can find out the EU energy rating (from A+++, the most efficient, to D, the least efficient) by searching the brand, model number and EU energy rating using a search engine. There are plenty of websites that compare the running cost of EU appliances, but be aware they do not cover every brand.
Other resources to help you save
There are lots of ways to save energy, save yourself some money, and reduce your impact on the environment. For more easy ways to save, start by checking out these energy saving action ideas from the government. If you’re still feeling inspired to cut down on your bills, remember to do your research. There are tools out there to compare home internet plans, mobile phone plans, and private health insurance that could save you thousands.
If you're working out a budget, our online budget tool can also help. Check it out, along with our range of other interactive calculators at www.visionsuper.com.au/super/calculators.