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How to reduce your utility bills

26 April 2023

Financial Expert Paul Merriman on ways to reduce your utility bills.

Your personal budget is the first step to getting a better grip on your current financial situation, after which you’ll need to find ways to free up more cash.

There are two ways to increase the amount of money available to you:

  1. Reduce outgoings – this could be reducing utility bills, cutting out unnecessary spending

  2. Increase incomings – this can be a bit more difficult but there are options for everyone

Reducing outgoings and increasing incomings – it’s a simple equation but many people do not know where to start. Others worry about it being painful, having to give up doing the things they love, but it doesn’t have to be that way. According to research conducted by RedC earlier in 2023, home heating and energy bills is the number one financial concern for Irish people with 60% saying it is causing them worry and 1 in 4 people saying it is their number one financial concern at the moment.

Here are a few simple ways to cut your outgoings by reducing monthly bills, starting with those ever-increasing utility bills.

Shop around for better energy deals 

If you haven’t done this for a while, chances are that there are better deals out there for gas and electricity. Switching providers could end up saving you hundreds of Euros a year. 
To do this, get your last bill and note the following info:
  • When your contract expires
  • How much electricity and gas you currently use – review your last few bills and some from the same period in the previous year to get a sense of how much energy you use based on the time of year.
  • Your current tariff – are you on a specific tariff? Maybe you are on a 24 hour or a specific % discount. Details on your current tariff will help you get a better if not a similar deal again. 
Take that information and log on to a price comparison website to see what other options there are available to you. 
Once you switch providers, there are a number of hints and tips to help you use less energy and reduce your electricity bills. 

Easy ways to reduce the heating bill

Many homeowners need to use gas or electricity to heat their homes but there is nothing to say that you can’t take back control over how much it will cost to have a cosy home. When it comes to home heating, bad or old habits can often be the biggest cause of energy wastage and result in you paying more for your bills. Positive habit changes will make a massive difference to your pocket while still maintaining a cosy, comfortable home. You should:

  • Ensure that heat is flowing freely around the areas you want to heat – don’t block heat sources with curtains or furniture. Close doors and curtains and avoid leaving windows open while the heating is on so you can ensure you’re keeping the heat in the areas you want it.   The longer you can retain heat in your home, the less energy you will need to use on heating.

  • Consider reducing your thermostat by just one degree – you will be surprised by the amount of energy you can save without compromising on the comfort of your home. 

  • Turn your heating off when you don’t need it. If you find the house gets too warm or you’re going out – turn it off or set a timer.  Heating an empty house will cost you just as much as heating a full one.

Kitchen and Living Room – Habits to nip in the bud

Much of our household energy is used in the kitchen, but there are small changes you can make to reduce your overall energy use. 
Financial Expert Paul Merriman’s tips on reducing kitchen and living room energy costs are:

  • Only heat the water you need for cooking or making hot drinks

  • Use a microwave, air fryer or slow cooker instead of your oven where possible

  • Match your saucepan size to the ring you’re using on the hob and cover your food when it’s cooking, preventing heat from escaping

  • Steam your vegetables or use less water for boiling

  • Only pre-heat your oven when required and defrost food before cooking

  • Did you know that you can save on your electricity bill by opening the dishwasher before it gets to the drying cycle, letting the dishes dry naturally?

  • Fill the washing machine every time you use it – you might think that a lighter load uses less energy but you are actually using more energy by doing two half loads as opposed to one overall load!

  • Turn off appliances that are on standby which use at least 20% of the energy they do when they’re switched on. These include:

    • TV’s

    • Mobile phone chargers

    • Laptops

    • Games Consoles

Reduce Broadband, TV and Mobile costs

Continuing on with how to reduce your utility bills, next up is broadband, TV and mobile. Perhaps your current subscriptions have expired, this may just be in the last month but I often find that many contracts have expired up to 12 months before, and customers have been on a rolling month-by-month contract since. Generally, these rolling contracts cost more than being in a live contract. 
Have you checked the details? Often, you will be offered a better deal to switch networks or haggle with your current provider for the best deal they can offer you. These savings will all add up — and you will begin noticing the freed-up cash almost immediately.
Check in on all of those subscriptions and package add-ons – do you really need to be paying for a movie subscription? Or a sports subscription that you only benefit from a couple of days or months in the year? 

To find a better deal for your broadband, TV and mobile contracts, follow these basic steps:

  • Understand your current deal and when it expires

  • Decide on a realistic budget of what you want to spend each month

  • If possible, remove any unwanted TV channels or other unneeded services 

  • Check with your provider for a bundle deal or visit