Life as a stay at home mum can be pretty hectic. It can almost feel like a military operation; get the troops up and out the door so that you can hold the fort at base camp, take care of the new recruit, and work out a plan of attack to nuke the upstairs bedrooms.
Finding the time to fit everything in can be a struggle, and we often disregard thinking about how our day to day routine can affect our pockets, instead opting for the quickest way to get things done. But with winter underway, many households will see costs rise as they become frivolous with their electricity usage.
Here, we have listed a few examples of how stay at home mums can save on electricity costs.
First call of the day: the washing
We’ve all been there, small piles of clothes are building up around the house, you’ll definitely have to hand wash your favourite embroidered top at some point this week, and it’s going to be murder to get those grass stains out of Charlie’s new chinos.
To save time, you sling everything in to the washing machine, hot wash, job done. But this simple action can actually be raising your electricity costs significantly; according to energyrating.gov.au, about 80% of the energy used in a hot wash is required for heating the water alone.
Washing on a cold wash can save you money as it uses less than one quarter of the energy used in warm washing. Just make sure you buy a detergent designed for cold water washing for optimum results.
What’s more, if you have a top loading machine, switching to a front loading washer can help save on costs. Livinggreener.gov.au reports that front loaders can be up to 60% more water and energy efficient! Oh, and they’ve also been said to be gentler on your clothes.
Tumble dryers eat up a huge chunk of energy and impact your electricity bill greatly – avoid at all costs. Instead, take advantage of Mother Nature and use the sun and breeze to dry your clothes. It might take a while longer, but it’s free. If it’s miserable outside, then drying your clothes indoors on a clothes horse works just as well. You can buy these for as little as $15 from most department stores.
Heating & cooling your home can account for up to 40% of household energy usage. If you’re indoors a lot with your baby or toddler, then it’s easy to fall into the trap of cranking up the central heating to keep everyone toasty. However, if you can avoid this, you’ll see a decrease in your electricity bill. Instead, layer up. Make sure you and your little ones are appropriately dressed for the chillier weather, layering up with a warm cardigan or sweater. Putting tights under your child’s jeans or trousers also works a treat for keeping little legs warm.
If you simply can’t go without putting the heating on, compromise and set yourself a time in the afternoon for when to turn it on; that way, the house is warm in the evenings when you are winding down. Programming your thermostat is also a good way to save money, as the ‘set it and forget it’ idea means that you wont be tempted to crank the temperature up if you’re feeling particularly chilly. If you do turn the heating on in the evenings, then make sure you take the simple step of closing your curtains or blinds. According to Livinggreener.com.au, if you remove all draughts in your house then you can save up to 25% on heating and cooling bills.
The great outdoors
We’re not saying it’s the easy way out, but it’s often too convenient to set the DVD player to play and have your child happily sing along to the latest Disney favourite while you potter about. However, taking a few hours away from the house and spending some time outdoors is a good way to keep TV use to a minimum, and in turn, electricity costs to a minimum. If you have bigger kids that like chilling out with some TV time after school, limit their usage and agree a cut off time. You could even try a ‘no TV night’, once a week, so that the family can catch up and spend some quality time.
No one likes getting into a cold bed in winter, even if you have got your thick bed socks on! The obvious remedy would be to switch the electric blanket on but a hot water bottle works just as well. Hide a hot water bottle in the bed a short while before bedtime (moving it around a couple of times to make sure that it has heated majority of the space) and you and your kids will be warm and toasty while drifting off. You can leave the hot water bottle in the bed as they sleep but make sure it’s in a thick bottle cover so that you don’t have any accidents.
Another great tip for a warm bed entry is using the hair dryer under the sheets for two minutes, job done. Probably best the kids don’t see you do that in case they try it out themselves!
Switch it off
One of the simplest ways to keep costs down is to switch it off. Leaving appliances on standby can eat up energy, resulting in higher bills. Savepower.nsw.gov.au claims that ‘by simply switching your appliances and equipment off at the wall, you can save $150 and at the same time cut your household’s carbon pollution by 500kg per year.’ Make a point of switching all plugs off when not in use. For the safety of your tot, invest in protective plug socket covers, which will deter inquisitive fingers from exploring. You can buy these online for as little as $5.
You can reduce energy use up to a point, but have you thought about seeing if you can actually buy electricity for less? If you live in metro area chances are there are multiple energy companies that you could be with, and they all charge very different rates.
It’s actually a very simple process to compare electricity prices in your post code and make the switch to a cheaper provider. Use Moneyhound’s energy comparison tool to compare rates, and if you find a cheaper deal we’ll take your application and even arrange the switch for you, for free! Try it now.
Written by Hannah Collins, Yahoo!7 Moneyhound – Fetching you a better deal.
Moneyhound.com.au is a price comparison site that can help you save money across all your monthly bills. Try it now, it’s free.