Since the New Year I have been trying to get to grips with our budget. Whilst Mr H earns a good enough wage that I can fortunately stay at home with the children, we still definitely live to our means and once the bills go out we don’t actually have a lot left over.
We have quite a high car loan that we took out two years ago, and so I had a look into it and realised I could get a much better rate elsewhere. It is a bit of a pain to sort out – phone calls to make, paperwork to fill out and send off – but in the end I saved us £120 a month!
Previous to Christmas we were doing our shopping online. In my mind this saved us money because I can be a bit of an impulse shopper and often ended up shopping whilst hungry which is a fatal mistake. Doing it online, I knew what I needed and tried to stick to a budget. However Mr H has taken over the cooking and therefore the meal planning and now the shop. I have to say I have been surprised how much he has cut our supermarket shop down – from £150 to £110 a week, sometimes less!
I have also been looking at our energy bills. Myself and the children are in the house a lot through the day, especially with the weather being so cold, so the heating is on a lot. I do have it on a timer, but I have to say there are times of the day when the sun is streaming in that we really don’t need it on. However when I looked at the rate we are currently on and compared it using Money Supermarket, there isn’t a better deal out there right now so we will stick with what we have and look at other ways to save money.
One way I have read about is just keeping doors shut and closing curtains on a night – so simple, but yet we weren’t doing it! In particular our upstairs doors were always left open, leaving the hot air to drift away to rooms that weren’t in use. So now I am trying to close them, although the children and the husband don’t always help out!
Another way I have come across is the new Hive Active Heating Kit. Part of British Gas, you can have the system installed in your home and control your heating from your mobile. This sounds pretty handy for those moments when you have left the house in a flap and realised your heating has been unnecessarily left on, or when you are hurrying home frozen to the bone and would love to return to a cosy house. With Hive you can adjust your heating and hot water remotely, switch it on and off, turn it up or down and set up schedules.
Of course for all this there is a charge – £199 – but this does include a state of the art wireless thermostat, receiver and hub; a free app and online dashboard to remotely control your heating and hot water via phone, tablet and laptop; and professional installation by a British Gas engineer worth £80. This is a one-off fee, so you don’t have to pay it yearly, and Hive also say you can save up to £150 a year on your bills with their kit so you do recoup the money. It does sound like a good deal to me, once the first year is past you can save £150 a year on your bills.
For more information you can head over the Hive Active Heating website.
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