If you're planning to get away this summer, thoughts of rising costs and bigger bills could stand to ruin your trip. So before you lock the doors and head for the airport, we've put together a few quick home hacks to ensure you're keeping household costs as low as possible while you soak up the sun.
Before you zip up your suitcase, check if there are any internet-enabled devices you can turn off while you’re away. While online doorbells are worth keeping on for home security, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo can be safely powered down.
Unlike TV bundles from companies like Sky and Virgin Media, most streaming services are on rolling monthly contracts, making it much easier to cancel. So if you’ve got a fortnight in the sun lined up, cancelling for a month could save you up to £15.99 on Netflix, £7.99 on Disney Plus and £4.99 on Apple TV.
If you’re taking a European break and it’s with a mobile provider that has reintroduced EU roaming fees, you’re likely to have to pay a few pounds a day to use your normal allowance. A cheaper option is to buy a one-month SIM-only contract with a company still offering free roaming, like Lebara. For £4.95 you will get 4GB of data and unlimited calls and texts to use in 40 European destinations.
If you’re going away for at least a fortnight, see if there are any extras on your pay-TV contract that you can shed. If you have a TV and broadband bundle with Virgin Media you could benefit from their new Stream service, which allows you to easily add or remove channel subscriptions each month.
Make sure you’ve removed any food that could spoil while you’re away. If there’s nothing perishable left, you can adjust your fridge's internal temperature so it isn't working so hard to keep things cold. An empty fridge also uses more energy, working harder to constantly cool the air inside. Try adding some bottles of water as an easy way to take up space and keep its energy consumption down.
Most households will have turned their heating off during the summer months, but make sure your hot water is also switched off before heading on holiday. Letting a 2kW water heater fire up for two hours a day of a 14-day holiday could cost you more than £15.
Most gadgets continue to use a small amount of power when they’re turned off, so unplug computers, laptops, televisions, smart speakers and mobile chargers before you go on holiday.
Items like your Wi-Fi router are designed to be on permanently. Turning them off and on frequently can make your internet provider think the line is faulty, and you could end up with slower speeds. Most routers use less than 10W of power, which will only cost you 48p over a week’s holiday.
So be selective about which devices you switch off.
If you’re going to be taking your car on holiday, why not put that empty driveway to good use and make some money at the same time. Many parking space rental companies allow you to list for free and then charge a small commission when you rent it out.
You can rent your space by the day, week or month. Having a car parked outside your house could also be a deterrent for any would-be burglars.
If it's been a few years since you took out your home insurance policy, the value of your contents may have increased, renovations may have boosted your home’s worth, or pricey new gadgets may not be covered.
Check your policy is up-to-date to avoid returning to a nasty shock if something happens while you're away.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, says:
“As we head off on holiday, it is easy to forget that many devices and services in our homes can continue to cost us money.
“Wasting money on gadgets you’re not using makes no sense when the cost of living is so high, so take a look around your home and see what you can turn off.
“Unplugging unused gadgets, switching off your hot water, or temporarily scaling back your TV and streaming services could help to reduce the bills you come home to.
“Wherever you’re going on holiday, make sure you’re not worrying about the bills at home by taking a few simple steps.”