You’ve finally made it out of your parents’ house and are starting to realise that living costs are – well, costly. Don’t fret, there are some tips and tricks that can help you save hundreds, if not thousands in your new home. Here are Octagon Capital’s top recommendations:

Reduce your telecoms bills

The average home could save £156 per year on TV subscriptions, phone packages and broadband by simply negotiating a better deal with the provider’s sales representatives, according to Consumers’ Association, Which?.

Don’t hesitate to call your provider to haggle a more affordable price, using competitors prices to strengthen your negotiating power. And you don’t need to spend hours researching different suppliers – just use a price comparison site to find a cheaper deal.

Cut your water bill

Did you know that household in the UK uses on average around 330 litres each day?

To reduce the cost of your monthly water bill, consider these tips:

Install a water meter

The average family decreases their water usage by 10% to 15% after water meter installation, according to the UK’s Water Industry Research. How does it work? A water meter measures your water usage and means you only need to pay for the amount of water you use. Once the meter is fitted, people automatically become more conscious of their water usage, and naturally try to be less wasteful.

The amount you can save varies depends on your type of household, but estimates put average savings to over £100 per year, or more in some cases. For a better idea of how much you can save by installing a water meter, use an online water meter calculator.

Bath less and find a water-efficient shower-head

The rumours are true – you can save money and still have a hot and powerful shower. Another way of cutting the cost of your water bill is to switch to showers instead of baths and use a more efficient shower head.

A power shower may give you the freedom to adjust the temperature and water pressure, but it can quickly use more water than a bath.  A family of four could save £75 on gas bills and £120 off their water bills on average by fitting a water meter and replacing inefficient shower-heads with a water-efficient ones, according to the UK Energy Savings Trust.

That brings us onto the next benefit of water savings – it can also reduce your energy costs. On average, 15% of a typical gas-heated household’s heating bill is from heating the water for showers, baths and hot water from the tap.

Turn it off

We know that leaving a tap running is wasteful, but did you know it wastes over six litres of water per minute? You can save those pennies by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or wash your face.

Upgrade your light bulbs

You can save up to 80% on your electricity bill by switching your old lightbulbs to energy-efficient lightbulbs such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light emitting diodes (LEDs). They may cost a little more, but last three to 25 times longer and use 25%-80% less energy than traditional lightbulbs.

Seal windows and doorways

Up to 15% of a property’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors, according to the EPA. These leaks often prompt homeowners to turn up the heating.

To seal off air leaks, use weather stripping around movable structures such as doors and windows, and use caulk to fill cracks and gaps in stationary components such as floors and doorways. Most weather-stripping is a DIY job. Many varieties of weather-stripping are available, so consider how durable the material needs to be: Is it a heavily used door, or a window that is almost always closed?

You can also use window putty to seal gaps around loose window panes. And to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping under doors, attach sweeps to their bottoms.

Insulate your hot water tank

The hot water tank is where your hot water is stored after it is heated by the boiler. If it is poorly insulated, it’s heat will quickly dissipate and more energy will be needed to re-heat this water. You can save up to 9% on your utility bill by insulating your hot water tank with an insulating blanket. This is an easy money saver as it prevents heat loss and wastage in the winter months.

Say goodbye to bottled water

Buying bottled water regularly can easily start to soak up your grocery budget. Water filters are easy, cost-effective alternatives and the savings can be great. A Brita water pitcher could save you hundreds of pounds each year.

Switch energy tariff

Consumers can knock around £300 off the average yearly gas and electricity bill by switching energy tariff, Ofgem estimates. Comparing energy tariffs and switching providers is simple, and taking the time to shop around will pay off.

Some Ofgem-accredited energy comparison sites include:

  • The Energy Shop
  • Runpath
  • Simply Switch
  • My Utility Genius

A couple more energy saving tips: reducing your thermostat by just 1°C could cut 10% off your heating bill, according to recent research from Ovo Energy. In addition, using a direct debit rather than prepayment or standard credit could save households on average £70 on gas and £50 of electric each year.

Use a programmable thermostat

Nest thermostat

You can save 10-12% on heating and 15% savings on cooling on average with a smart thermostat, according to a white paper commissioned by Nest. Smart thermostats let you remotely control your home’s temperature via your tablet, smartphone or desktop. And at these savings rates and a retail price of, say, £180, a smart thermostat could pay for itself in one or two years- depending on your utility costs, the type of heating or cooling system you have, and the size and average temperature of your home.

How do smart thermostats work? By learning your schedule and heating preferences, smart thermostats make it simpler for you to be energy efficient, automatically dropping and raising of the home’s temperature while you come and go. You can even find a simple one for £35.

Keep on saving

These eight tips are just the tip of the iceberg. To find out more about budgeting and managing your money, check out our post on money-saving tips for first-time home owners.