How can we save some money during the energy crisis and high inflation?

How can we save some money during the energy crisis and high inflation?

Record-high inflation and the energy crisis have severely affected society, but the big challenge - winter - is still ahead of us. The majority has already realized that we will only get through the coming times by making conscious choices and economizing our consumption. Many ways of saving money are already widely known; for instance, we all know that the lights should be turned off when we leave the room. But what other tips exist to help us save a little each month?

Sometimes less is more

Fortunately, everyone can significantly influence their water consumption, and with a bit of attention, we can greatly improve our daily habits. It might be obvious to everyone that taking a shower (as short as possible) is more cost-effective than taking a bath and that we should avoid leaving the tap running while brushing our teeth or washing dishes. But it is less known that installing a faucet aerator can also help us save money. A faucet aerator is a tool that can be attached to taps to reduce the amount of water flowing through the tap without changing our perception. The faucet aerator enriches the water with air, so the water jet is not weakened. This way, we can save up to 50-85% of water, a significant amount. Moreover, this affordable tool can also help us save on electricity and gas bills, as we will need less hot water, meaning less water has to be heated.

Bulb replacement: one-off investment, long-term savings

Lighting accounts for a significant proportion of the energy the average person uses. Although we have all known since childhood not to leave the light unnecessarily on, the quality of the bulb can also make a big difference. Choosing our light bulbs wisely can have a significant impact. An energy-saving bulb consumes much less energy than a regular bulb and, in many cases, also lasts much longer, meaning we need to replace our bulbs less often. Different low-consumption bulbs are available on the market, for instance, the popular LED bulbs, which consume, on average, just a quarter of the energy a conventional bulb does. But halogen bulbs or energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs can also be a great alternative. It is up to us to choose the most suitable option, depending on our individual preferences. It is worth upgrading our homes this way, even if it initially may seem like a larger investment: after the bulb replacement, we can enjoy the same quality of lighting while consuming much less energy.

Lower temperature, lower costs

How we wash our clothes also impacts our utility bills, and with a bit of consciousness, we can reduce the amount we pay, particularly if we wash with relatively cold water. The washing machine temperature and the energy used are in direct proportion as the washing machine uses energy to heat the water, meaning the hotter the water is, the more energy the machine uses. Therefore, it might be worth washing clothes at 20 degrees if such an option is available on our washing machine since the difference between washing at 20, 30, or 40 degrees is little in terms of killing bacteria which might require 60 degrees. So, the laundry lesson is that we should wash at low temperatures and wait until our washing machine is full, as this way, we can minimize both the number of washes and our energy consumption. Instead of heat, the bacteria should be destroyed by special products such as disinfectants designed for laundry.

Clean it to ensure it works effectively

We can take several steps concerning our water heaters to save money. One of them is to clean our electric water heaters regularly. It is important not to forget to clean as if we do it not only damages our appliance, but the build-up of limescale also makes the proper operation impossible, resulting in higher energy consumption. Thus, regular cleaning is an effective way to prevent problems. The frequency of necessary cleaning may vary from water heater to water heater, but usually, it means cleaning every six, twelve, or twenty-four months. It is also worth adjusting the temperature of the hot water on the heater: if we set it lower, we can save energy as we need to mix the hot water only with less cold water for the same temperature we are used to.

Unplug what you do not use

We tend to forget that keeping certain devices powered all the time is unnecessary and wasteful, as we leave our unused kitchen appliances, TV, or even phone charger plugged in. We can save a small amount of money by paying attention to this issue, as devices can also consume electricity in standby mode. To make regular unplugging more convenient, it is a good idea, for example, to connect the machines that are not in use at night to one power strip. In this way, they can be disconnected from the power source with a single move.

Smart grocery shopping: rarely, and with a list

Besides energy prices, food prices have also skyrocketed. Inflation in Hungary reached 20% in September this year, affecting everyone and forcing many people to become more conscious about their grocery shopping. To save money, it is worthwhile to discover which shops offer the lowest prices for the essential products we need and then establish a grocery routine: the less frequent we go, the better for our budget. The reason behind this strategy is simple: it is more cost-effective to go consciously to the grocery store with a list once a week than impulsively shopping every two days and buying what we want at the moment. We should plan our list in advance instead of writing down random items. We should buy the ingredients that we are sure to use in the coming period or that do not spoil easily. It is also important not to do groceries when we are hungry because, with an empty stomach, it is almost inevitable that we put unnecessary snacks in our baskets.

Buying and cooking in bulk means lower prices

Many people argue that with the current food prices cooking is no longer worth it as it is almost as expensive as going out for lunch daily, not to mention the time and energy saved in the kitchen. This claim sounds convenient, but it is not entirely true. Batch cooking and eating the same meal a few times is still much more economical than eating out every day. Moreover, a few small tips can help us save even more money. Firstly, we should aim for bulk shopping as larger packages are cheaper than smaller ones if we consider the quantity we buy. Secondly, batch cooking is also recommended as this way we can prepare our food for several days by using energy only once, not to mention the time we save.

+1 tip

Homes heated with wood are excellent since there is nothing cozier than a crackling fireplace on winter days. But they also have a practical advantage: stoves are perfect for heating water. If we heat with a stove, we can also easily use it to warm the water we need for tea, washing dishes, or virtually anything else. So, we do not need to waste energy with a kettle or gas cooker.

Graphics: Roland Molnár

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