It's starting to get cold outside and it can only mean one thing, our energy bills might see a spike in price. To prepare this winter, here are a few tips to get you ready for the cold snap, and, hopefully, save some money in the process.

According to MoneySuperMarket, Ofgem have announced that UK families spend £1,254 a year on heating and power. What can UK families do to help cut costs on bills this winter? Read on to discover more tips for successfully organising your finances.

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Switch energy providers

The average household can save up to £300 a year by simply switching energy providers. By using a comparison site, you can pick energy provides that offer you the most competition price. Some energy providers will even switch this automatically for you - choosing the cheaper provider if it will save you more than £50 a year.

For example, the comparison site Bean allows you to pick energy providers that are greener and cheaper, and manage your subscriptions. By comparing deals on your household bills, Bean works in the background - constantly looking for new ways to help you make some great savings.

Limit your heating

Simply lowering your thermostat by 1 degree can save you about £80 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust. Instead of letting your boiler cool down and then heating up to your required temperature, it’s best to keep it at a constant level.

The average thermostat setting in the UK is 20.1C and houses are generally heated for eight hours a day. This could have the potential of adding up to a very large sum of money, something which you would be wise to keep an eye on.

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Check your benefit eligibility

If you are struggling to pay your winter bills, then you may find that you are eligible for winter fuel payments. Eligible people will usually receive these payments automatically - if you receive a State Pension or social benefit. However, it is always worth checking just in case.

Similarly, it may be worth checking if you are eligible for cold weather payments. These are usually paid if you are receiving certain benefits or Mortgage Interest support*. If the average temperature of your local area is recorded below 0 for seven days in a row, then you could also be eligible to receive payments.

Like winter fuel payments, you should be paid the cold weather payments automatically. However, it is important to note that if you have taken or are in the process of taking a hospital stay, then your payments could be affected.

Take a look at our article if you would like to know what benefits you are entitled to.

Turn off your appliances

Remember to turn off unused taps. It's a fairly easy habit to kick and it can save six litres a minute of wasted water. As soon as you put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, switch it off. Those two minutes of brushing, twice a day could save 24 litres of water per person in a family of four annually.

The Energy Saving Trust states that up to £80 a year is wasted per household due to appliances left on standby. Turning off anything from your TV, games consoles, laptops and turning off your mobile phone charger when not in use will save that little bit extra.

If you're a Cabot customer, you can use our budget planner to work out your income and expenditure to help you to manage your money better.

Budget Planner

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Check for draughts

If your house feels cold, even though the heating is working overtime, it could be that heat is escaping. Check all your windows and doors for draughts. You can block those draughts with draught proofing strips or draught excluders on your doors, windows or letterboxes.

That alone could save you up to £20 a year by draught-proofing doors and window and another £15 per year by draught-proofing an open chimney, for example.

Contact Us

We know dealing with winter bills can be difficult, especially when also facing debt. If you do feel like you need some help, then we advise seeking support. Independent organisations can offer free advice, which can be very useful when you find yourself struggling financially.

We recommend getting in touch with:

StepChange Debt Charity: 0800 138 1111

National Debtline: 0808 808 4000

Money Advice Service: 0300 500 5000

Remember that we're here to help you to financial recovery and that we'll never ask you to pay more than you can afford. Check out our customer testimonials to see the journeys that some of our customers have previously taken.

We help over 20,000 people every month, no matter what happens next, we promise to treat you fairly and support you in repaying your account. If you're worried about talking to us, remember that we're here to help you reach financial recovery and that we'll never ask you to pay more than you can afford.

Find out more about how flexible we can be, by getting in touch today.

*Please note that the 2018 to 2019 Cold Weather Payment scheme has now ended. This year's scheme is due to start on 1st November 2019. You'll be able to check if your area is due a payment in November 2019.