As temperatures begin to drop you may have already thought about the additional expense of the winter months. Between covering the cost of the recent festive season and the sharp increase in fuel bills across the colder months, getting on top of your finances now can save you big in the long term.

Here are our top saving tips to help you manage your money more effectively this winter:

Stop your home leaking heat – and cash!

Keeping on top of your home maintenance can help keep you cosy, and reduce fuel costs. Many energy companies offer free loft and cavity wall insulation, which the Energy Saving Trust estimates could save the average house around £300 a year. For a list of companies offering this service visit MoneySavingExpert. Even low-tech money saving ideas like putting up thicker curtains, introducing a ‘sausage dog’ draft excluder, or deflecting heat back into your room by putting foil card down the back of your radiator will help keep the heat in your house – and the cash in your pocket.

Check if you’re entitled to winter fuel payments

If you (or someone living with you) were born before 5 January 1953 you may be eligible for help with your fuel payments. The Government Winter Fuel Payment could provide a one-off payment of between £100 and £300 tax-free to help you meet the cost of heating your home. Contact the Winter Fuel Helpline on 03459 15 15 15 to apply, or visit their website for more information.

Compare energy suppliers

If it’s been a while since you last reviewed your energy costs, there’s a good chance you could save money by changing provider. According to uSwitch, switching energy providers can save you up to £679 per year. Visit their website to find the best deal possible and then give your current supplier a call to see if they can better the price.

If you have already switched energy supplier here are some other ways you can save on energy:

  • Sometimes energy companies add extra charges for paper bills. By managing your bills online instead, you can save money.
  • Making payments by Direct Debit can help you save as charges can be added during the time it takes to receive your bill and make the payment.
  • Check with your supplier that you are on their cheapest tariff.

Use your thermostat

By effectively using your thermostat, even reducing the temperature by 1 degree can save you £75 per year, according to Which.com. If you don’t already have a thermostat, having one installed and using it efficiently can save you double.

The benefits of using a thermostat include:

  • Setting your heating and hot water to turn on and off to suit your timetable e.g. if working all day turn heating off and schedule to turn on 15 minutes before you will arrive home.
  • Only heat the rooms in your home that are being used.

Switch to energy saving light bulbs 

The lights in your house will tend to be on much longer over the winter months, therefore it’s worthwhile making sure you are using energy saving light bulbs. As well as having a much longer lifespan than traditional light bulbs, energy savings bulbs also have a positive impact on the environment. According to Which.com the running cost per year of a traditional light bulb is £8.42 and needs to be replaced roughly every 2 years. Whereas an LED energy saving bulb, which lasts up to 25 years, only costs £1.71 to run per year meaning you could save up to £180 by switching.

Energy efficient appliances 

If you are replacing appliances in your home, choosing energy-efficient models will save you on running costs. Having energy efficient washing machine, fridge/freezer and tumble dryer can save you a total of £321 per year according to Which.com.

Beware of high-cost borrowing

At this time of year, it seems that every advert, email or letter coming through the door is offering a loan or other source of credit. Catalogues, payday loans and doorstep lenders are notoriously expensive; with catalogues charging overinflated prices and APR’s in excess of 35%, whilst payday loans often charge up to 4500% APR.

A credit card may seem like a smarter option but unless you’re able to pay off your full balance monthly, or are on an introductory 0% rate you might still end up paying over the odds.

Keep down the cost of the festive season

Christmas is a special time of year, but if you don’t keep on top of your festive finances, it can lead to a financial hangover running well into the New Year. Make sure you’re getting the best deal for online purchases by checking for voucher codes before you click checkout. Vouchers are now the easiest way to get live money saving deals and discounts for 1000’s of retailers and a quick Google search for ‘UK voucher codes’ will bring up a number of sites offering money-saving discount codes that could reduce the cost of your festive spend.

You could receive cash back on your purchases by simply registering with a cashback site, such as Quidco. You can earn up to 10% cash back at Currys, up to 8% at Boots and Argos, and pick up similar deals from thousands of other retailers.

Glasgow Credit Union make it easy to save regularly, either by Direct Debit or payroll deduction.  If you have any questions or would like help with any of our services, please contact us on 0141 274 9933.