The A-Z of saving on household costs

The regular outgoings and cost of running a house can quickly add up. But there are simple things you can do to reduce your households cost. Check out our A-Z on how to make big savings in your home.

Running a household doesn't come cheap but there's always savings to be made by the savvy head-of-the-household. Using our handy budget planner can help you on your frugal journey.

A is for... Appliances

When buying new appliances, it pays to note their energy efficiency. For instance, a 48" plasma TV watched for five hours per day can consume about 98W of power while an LED TV of the same size may only consume 55W. The LED TV therefore would cost almost half as much to run as the plasma.

B is for... Bulbs

CFL (A-rated) bulbs are the most energy efficient replacements for your regular bulbs. They use 80% less electricity and they can last up to 15 times longer than an ordinary bulb.

C is for... Cook

It's no secret that cooking at home will save you money over eating out, yet it's still a habit that many struggle to get into with, "I just don't have time to cook" a common excuse. Cooking in bulk, freezing meals and using the slow cooker are just some ways to make cooking for yourself a breeze and make massive savings too.

D is for... Downgrade

With the likes of YouTube, Netflix and box sets satisfying more and more Irish eyeballs, it might be time to ask yourself, "Do I really need all of my current TV channels?" If the answer is no, downgrading your current TV package could save you a considerable amount.

E is for... Energy Bills

There's a host of simple steps available to you that can make a considerable difference to your energy bill: Closing your curtains at night, closing the doors to each room and switching lights off in empty rooms are just a few. Turning your heating down by just one degree can knock about 10% off your heating bill.

F is for... Fireplace

Believe it or not, replacing your open fireplace with the right stove could reduce your energy consumption by up to 10%. Stoves are more energy efficient and they even reduce ventilation heat loss when not in use.

G is for... Groceries

Keep your grocery bills down by writing (and sticking to) a shopping list, shopping on a full stomach and buying 'own-brand' items where you can.

H is for... Homemade

With household cleaners, it's easy to go one step further and create an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly 'own-brand' of your own. With a little baking soda and warm water, you can make your own highly effective, all-purpose surface cleaner or combine lemon juice and table salt to create your own brass cleaner.

I is for... Insurance

For security and peace of mind, it's important to have suitable home insurance, after all it's probably your single biggest lifetime investment. One of the most common ways to help reduce your home insurance cost is to consider increasing the voluntary excess. An excess is the amount you must pay yourself in the event of a claim. The higher the excess, generally the lower your premium. Call Zurich on 053 915 7775 or 1890 400 300 to get a quote today.

J is for... Jeans

Do you have an old pair of jeans? These are ideal for upcycling to make your own draft excluders. Learn how here.

K is for... Kettle

According to a study in the UK, three quarters of households overfill their kettles wasting £68m per year. Only boil what you need in the kettle to save on energy and water consumption simultaneously.

L is for... Laundry

The average wash temperature in Europe is 41°C. Reduce your energy consumption by reducing the temperature of your clothes wash to 30°C. As long as your clothes aren't heavily soiled, you won't be able to tell the difference between clothes washed at 30°C and those washed at a higher temperature.

M is for... Mobile

If you're having trouble figuring out the best value mobile phone plan for your needs, try the KillBiller app. It examines your mobile phone usage and then tells you exactly how much you would pay on every mobile phone plan in Ireland.

N is for... No Junk Mail

If you're tired of junk mail and takeaway menus constantly taking up space in your recycling bin, pop a 'No Junk Mail' sign on your letter box. You'll save valuable space in your recycling bin, plus it might help to avoid the temptation of a pricy takeaway.

O is for... Off-peak

Some electricity providers offer 'off-peak' electricity between 11pm and 8am in the winter time and between 12am and 9am in the summer time. Electric Ireland's rule of thumb is that you should expect to make savings on this arrangement if roughly a quarter of your usage is concentrated during the night-rate period. So, if you think you could run the dishwasher, washing machine or dryer during these hours, then this could be a cost saving option worth exploring.

P is for... Pets

The cost of premium brand pet food can add up quickly. Next time you spot a cheaper version, make a note and ask your vet if it has everything your pet needs.

Q is for... Quit Smoking

Are you a smoker? Have you ever calculated how much you could save if you quit? Smokers of five cigarettes a day can save €821 a year, smokers of 10 cigarettes a day can save €1,642 a year and smokers of €20 cigarettes a day can save a whopping €3,285 a year!

R is for... Recycle

Since pay-by-weight legislation was introduced in July 2016, households must now pay for their bin collection on a per kg weight basis. Charges tend to be highest for residual waste (usually black bins), then organic food waste (usually brown bins) with recycling waste the cheapest (usually green bins). So, make sure to recycle everything you can and limit your black bin waste, with the added benefit of keeping your conscience clear.

S is for... Switch

The commission for Energy Regulation (CER) reports that more than half of Irish consumers have never switched their energy provider. Those who do seek out the cheapest providers, can expect to knock €360 off their energy bills over the course of the next 12 months. "But to make the savings, people need to switch," wrote Conor Pope.

T is for... Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can keep your home completely energy efficient, turning heat on and off as required even when you're not in the house. However, it all comes down to how well you use it so make sure you become a master of the thermostat.

U is for... Unplug

A phone charger or any unused device will still use small amounts of electricity. Each device on its own is unlikely to hurt your pocket, but when you consider all of the various devices constantly plugged in all over your house, it's easy to see how it can add up over the course of a year.

V is for... Vouchers

Between your supermarket, salon, coffee shop and online shopping loyalty rewards to name just a few, you can rack up a tidy sum of vouchers to use on your favourite purchases in the future. Don't forget about them.

W is for... Water

The recommended hot water temperature for the home is 60°C. Any higher than this and you may be wasting money losing heat through standby losses.

X is for... Xbox

Do you have gamers in your house? It'll be worth your while utilising shops like Game Stop. Here, you can buy used games in perfectly good condition at nice discounted prices as well as sell or trade in your old ones.

Y is for... Yearly Passes/Subscriptions

More often than not, you'll find that there's savings to be had by paying subscriptions yearly as opposed to monthly. You may not be able to afford to take this approach all the time, but it's worthwhile identifying those where you can and make some savings by the end of the year.

Z is for... Zurich

Zurich offers a number of savings and investment plans specifically tailored to individuals and their requirements.

The cost of running a household can add up very quickly. Small changes in how you budget and spend money on household bills and items can have a big impact on your overall savings. Our budget calculator will help you get to grips with your monthly income and expenses and will help you see where savings can be made. Our household excel budget template will help you plan and manage your money more effectively.

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