In partnership with Guernsey Electricity
With winter approaching there’s a natural tendency to want to hibernate; to batten down the hatches against the cooler weather and retreat to the inner sanctuary of your home. But that’s sometimes easier said than done, we know, with the practical and emotional demands of work, social and family life and the financial pressures many of us face as the cost of living creeps ever higher.
Here are some ways you can ensure your home life runs more smoothly during the coming months.
Meal planning and prepping not only means that you’ll generally eat more balanced meals, it also saves you time, and often money. Meal prep is different for everyone. For some, it might mean preparing individual lunches and dinners so they’re ready to go in the week. For others, it might mean batch cooking meals and freezing them so they’re ready on nights when you don’t feel like cooking.
Then, pro tip: when it’s time to cook your food, a smaller, less intensive appliance like a microwave, slow cooker or air-fryer saves time and money, as it uses much less energy to do the same job as your oven - slow cookers can even be set to cook during low rate times while you sleep. Winner.
Staying active, nourishing your body with fresh seasonal food and sipping on hot drinks throughout the day is not also great for the hygge vibes, but it will also help to keep your body energised and warm. Plus, we all wrap up to head outdoors at this time of year by piling on the layers. If you keep a layer or two on when you get home too, you can save a little on heating costs when the house isn't full - beats changing into a t-shirt and whacking up the heating.
After all, remember that heat loss in your home equals money spent. So think of ways to insulate your home. When you’re heating a room, shut doors and windows to keep the heat in and close your curtains or shutters at dusk to stop the heat in your home escaping - the more heat you keep in, the less you need to pay for.
This time of year tends to throw us all off with the festive season in full swing. It’s ok to step back and prioritise what’s important to you - and that involves saying no sometimes. Be intentional with your time and don’t overload your calendar. There are, of course, some things that simply have to be done so you have to be smart; timeblock chores into manageable chunks and schedule blocks for rest too so that you can switch off and recharge your batteries.
Speaking of switching off, this also quite literally applies to your home energy consumption too. Make the most of electricity during low rate times and switch appliances off when they’re not in use - leaving them on standby is known as 'phantom' energy use and it still costs money. Knowing your tariff* and which times are cheaper for your home is key here. You can find out which times are low for you on your statement.
In fact, there’s a lot that you can do to ensure your home and routine is set up to get the most out of your utility budget. For starters, there’s no need to pay for things around the home that you aren’t using. Switch off lights and appliances when you don’t need them and set timers to run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer overnight.
Home automation is your friend too. Smart plugs allow you to control your devices remotely, making it easier to switch on lights, heaters and other appliances so your home is working for you even when you’re not there - plus you can switch them off when you’ve gone out with the timer or with a handy app. Longer term, it’s also worth considering switching out appliances for more energy-efficient alternatives, like an air-fryer to replace traditional oven cooking.
Time can run away from us, especially at this time of year. So plan for the busy times ahead and book your appointments and meals out now. This way you are in control of your schedule and you can choose times that work for you, rather than having to juggle things at the last minute or make do with an awkward time - often inconvenient and the frustration caused can be emotionally draining. So book your appointments, order your prescriptions, plan your parties - restaurants and salons are already filling up in preparation for Christmas.
Winter is the busiest period for service providers such as electricians and plumbers too, so planning ahead and arranging those appointments sooner rather than later can only be a good thing
We don’t need to tell you that this time of year can get expensive. From Christmas gifts and holiday and party expenses to winter clothing and higher energy bills, there’s a lot to think about financially. A budget can help you to calculate how much money you need to cover the essentials each month and help you to keep track of what you’re spending. There are tools available to help you calculate your energy costs, and writing it down helps you to think about what you’re actually spending your money on and identify where you can make savings.
Also - again automation is your friend. Take advantage of automated systems and make sure you don't miss a bill in the Christmas chaos. If possible, pre-paying for the coming months will also lighten the post-Christmas load.
It’s simple really - less stuff means less stuff to do - also less stuff in your head. Tidy space, tidy mind. Clearing out some of the things you’re holding onto, but really don’t need can help you live a more organised, efficient life. You’ll feel the benefits in your home and in your relationships, trust us.
That principle also applies to things you give to other people. With Christmas just around the corner, make this the year you really think about gifting consciously. It’s quality, not quantity that counts when it comes to showing someone you care. And we’re not talking purely about cost. Plan ahead and shop local where possible; maybe even make an event of it and go late night shopping or browse the Christmas markets. Buy reusables and search out preloved or sustainable fashion gifts. It really is the thought that counts.
We hope these tips help you to embrace the season and feel more in control of your home and life when things get busy - or expensive. Let us know if any of these are helping you out over on social by tagging @thelistgsy.
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You may also wish to read these partnership articles with Guernsey Electricity: