Worried about the cost of living? Here are 10 things Wigan families can do now to help reduce expenditure

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With the cost of living rising fast and things about to get worse in April, families across the borough are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Here are 10 simple tips you can start straight away to bring down your expenditure - courtesy of Sustainable Housebuilder of the Year 2021, Barratt Homes.

1. Your garments do not need to be washed at a hot temperature

Stains, dirt, and marks can make us fall under the impression that the higher the temperature, the more chance there is of a stain being removed, but this is not always the case. Aim for a 30-degree wash if you can, as this can save up to 60% on your energy per cycle according to Ariel. Do not forget, washing tablets and washing conditioner are added extras, so opt for supermarket brands if you want to cut costs.

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Wash your clothes on a lower temperature to save money on your billsWash your clothes on a lower temperature to save money on your bills
Wash your clothes on a lower temperature to save money on your bills

2. Opt for the eco-setting on your dishwasher

Opt for the eco-setting instead of a powerful wash. The eco mode is used for lower rinse temperatures and uses a lower temperature wash, which uses less energy, but still maintains a high standard of cleaning. According to a report, if a household uses their dishwasher daily, seven washes in that week will cost around £1.44 – which is around £74.88 a year.

3. Shower, not a bath

Unless you are sharing bathwater, a shower can save you money if you use the water responsibly. A shower will use less water and energy than a bath if it is a quick shower. By purchasing a water meter, you can also see how much you are spending, and you might find out if you are over showering. If you have a gym membership, try to use the showers there to cut costs. Or, if your workplace offers showers, you could always try there to keep costs down at home.

4. Make sure that windows are closed, and drafts are fixed

When we close windows but are still cold, we often think it is time to put the heating on. But you can add extra layers within the household, and make sure that all draughts are fixed within the home. Wind can get through little cracks bringing a chill, add curtains or a draft excluder instead of automatically switching the heating on.

5. Choose natural drying instead of using appliances

When we think about washing, it is not just about water consumption. Using hairdryers, straighteners, and curling irons, these too can also increase energy use in the household and add a significant increase to our energy bills. If you are looking at ways to save money and energy consumption, only use these appliances for a special occasion. Your hair will be thankful, too. When it comes to clothes, hang them up around the house on hangers instead of using the tumble dryer. If you are not in a rush, you could save up to £60 in bills by air-drying clothes instead of drying them through a dryer.

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6. Make sure your purchases are more energy-efficient

Whether you are due a new fridge or freezer, a new tumble dryer, or even a new gadget, make sure the next one you purchase is more energy efficient. Purchasing a smaller fridge freezer will cut your energy bills. Keep your fridge and freezer away from direct sunlight to stop it working harder. Do not forget to defrost your freezer at least once a year. Like a detox with humans, it is healthy if a freezer does this too.

7. Unplug rather than keep on standby

Many of us simply flick a switch to turn appliances off rather than pulling them out of the plug completely. You might think switching the TV off by the remote control is simply saving money, but it isn’t. Yes, the TV might not be on to the consumer – but if you have the switches on, the lead plugged in, and the light on the TV, energy is still flowing through that lead, therefore wasting energy. A simple option? Take all plugs out of sockets when not in use.

8. Use public transport if you can, and opt to leave the car at home, or even better, get rid of it

The pandemic has changed the way we are working, so it is good to speak to your employer about this. If you can, get permission that you can work from home for the near future, helping you to save money on commuting, or even get rid of the car completely. Not only are you saving money on fuel, but you will also be saving money on car insurance, MOT, and tax.

9. Change your brands whilst shopping

Each supermarket will have its own branded products which are always cheaper than external branded ones that are sold at a higher price. If you are out food shopping, opt for these instead of purchasing brand names that are significantly higher in price. If you are finding that your food shop is becoming a bit tight on the purse strings, opt for a cheaper supermarket.

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10. Instead of purchasing new fashion, try the charity shop

Many of us are enticed by seasonal sales, free delivery, and/or extra products. In reality, we often spend far more than we had budgeted for. Instead of scrolling through pages and pages of fast fashion on your phone, use a local charity shop instead. Whether you are donating or purchasing, lower prices are better for everybody, and you will have more money to save if you are not breaking budgets.

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