Best ways to keep cool economically, during heatwave

Fan Review Round Up for Heatwave Help

We’ve tested 15 fans, but this guide contains the eight best that are worth buying. There are two that stand out. If you want something small and light that can keep you cool while you work or sleep, the Evapolar Personal Air Cooler is the model for you. For use all year round, the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link is a great choice, cooling in summer and heating in winter.

How we pick the best fans

A fan is an efficient way to keep cool in warmer weather, aiding the evaporation of sweat to reduce your body temperature. How much air a fan can move helps dictate how good it is for cooling, and how big a room it can be useful in. To test this, we use an anemometer to measure air speed in metres per second, testing fans at their minimum and maximum settings at a distance of 15cm and 1m.

While these measurements are important, we base our opinion on the type of fan reviewed: we’d expect large tower fans designed for whole-room cooling to push more air than a smaller personal desktop model.

To a certain degree, it’s easy to make a fan that can move more air by spinning its blades faster; this has the downside of making greater noise. To that end, we measure the sound that fans produce at the minimum and maximum speeds at a distance of 15cm and 1m. The ideal fan moves a lot of air quietly, so that you can use it comfortably at night while you’re sleeping. We also measure power usage at minimum and maximum, to determine the most efficient model from the least.

1. Evapolar Personal Air Cooler


Pros:

Intuitive controls
Neat lighting
Keeps you cool
Cons:

No cartridge replacement warning
Replacement cartridges are relatively expensive
If you spend a lot of time at a desk or need something to keep you cool while sleeping, the Evapolar Personal Air Cooler could be for you. This sleek-looking cube is an evaporative cooler, which means it uses a tank of water, cooling via evaporation. In other words, it’s more effective than a plain fan, particularly in dry heat.

A neat LCD screen displays the current temperature and the output temperature, showing you how effectively the Evapolar Personal Air Cooler is working. Using the dial on top, you can control the fan speed.

Testing in a room with an ambient temperature of 22.8ºC and 53.2% relative humidity, I measured the output from the Personal Air Cooler at a cool 16.3ºC. The cooling effect is fairly narrow, so you can’t move too much if you want to keep cool.

For the desk-bound among us, or for keeping cool while sleeping, the Evapolar Personal Air Cooler is a great choice.

Buy Now: Evapolar Personal Air Cooler from £296 / $172 from Amazon

2. Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link


Pros:

Smooth air output
Plenty of modes
Heats and cools just as well
Nice remote control
Great app
Cons:

Few onboard controls
Very expensive
The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link is more than just a traditional fan. As well as blowing cold air, it can heat up the air and monitor air quality, too, automatically purifying it. And, best of all, the fan is completely controlled via the Dyson Link app.

Dyson’s Pure Hot + Cool Link looks fantastic. It has the traditional Dyson bladeless design, giving the floorstanding fan a central hole through which you can stick your head – if you wish.

The front of the fan is home to a power button, leaving the remote control – which attaches magnetically to the top of the unit – for most features and settings. From here, you can adjust fan speed (ten settings), set cool mode or heat (up to 37ºC), toggle oscillation and set the sleep timer.

With so many fan settings, the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link goes from almost silent, with a gentle breeze, to a full-on rush of air. Even at the maximum setting, the fan isn’t too intrusive, and there’s little noise from the motor itself. It’s more air movement that makes the sound.

Thanks to Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology, the airflow from this fan is far smoother than that of a traditional fan. Heating is impressive, too, quickly bringing the temperature of a room up to a comfortable level.

You can control every feature of the fan through the app, and it also lets you monitor your home’s air quality. Dyson claims the Pure Hot + Cool link can remove about 99.95% of allergens and particles down to 0.1 microns. The fan is sensitive, kicking into life when we started cleaning and spraying chemicals. This soon turned our air quality from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’.

Yes, this fan is expensive, but it’s also exceptionally good. If you need a fan that you can use all year round, and you want to improve the quality of air in your home, this is the ultimate model.

Buy Now:Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link at £ 439 / $575 from Amazon

Swan Retro Desk Fan

Swan Retro Desk Fan

3. Swan Retro Desk Fan
Pros:

Great styling
Good airflow
Low noise
Cons:

Needs a lower speed
Those who have a penchant for 1950s styling will appreciate Swan’s 12-inch Retro Desk Fan. It’s certainly one that you’ll be happy to have out on display. Available in nine colour options including cream, blue, orange, black and red, it will be easy enough to find a model to suit your decor.

As is typical for this type of product, some assembly is needed. Aside from the single screw that holds the metal cage together, the rest of the fan uses plastic thumbscrews. I had my sample built and ready to go in only a few minutes.

The bottom of the fan sits 140mm from its base, which is just about right for desk use. Height adjustment is possible, plus there’s an oscillating switch that makes directing air comfortably simple.

This fan has three speed settings. The minimum speed produced airflow of 2.9m/s at 15cm and 1.2m/s at 1.5m; at maximum, the fan produced 4.1m/s at 15cm and 1.8m/s at 1.5m. If anything, the Retro Desk Fan could do with having a slightly slower bottom speed for more gentle cooling.

Noise wasn’t too much of an issue, and is more a result of the whoosh of air moving rather than the fan motor. I measured the fan as producing 56.8dB on the minimum setting at 15cm and 63.9dB at the maximum setting. This fan is quite power-efficient, too: it drew 41.4W at max speed and just 32W at minimum.

If you want a stylish fan for your desk, available in a decent selection of colour options, then the Swan Retro Fan is a great choice.

Buy Now: Swan Retro Desk Fan at £52/ $99 from Amazon

Fine Elements Oscillating Remote Control Tower Fan

Fine Elements Oscillating Remote Control Tower Fan

4. Fine Elements Oscillating Remote Control Tower Fan
Pros:

Remote control
Low noise
Takes up little room
Cons:

Needs slower minimum
Airflow drops at range
Tower fans are a great choice where space is at a premium. The large Fine Elements Oscillating Remote Control Tower Fan (model ES2017) is designed to cover a room. Built from grey and black plastic, this smart-looking fan looks great and should blend in with most people’s decor.

It offers a smart design, too, with a large LCD showing the current time. All of the fan’s controls sit beneath a flap at the top, which also houses the remote control (no batteries supplied).

With either set of controls, you get the standard options: you can turn the fan on or off; choose between the three speed settings; and toggle oscillation. There are some more advanced settings, too. Using the Timer button, you can set the sleep timer in increments of 30 minutes up to 12 hours.

There’s also a Mode button, which adjusts the fan’s output. In General mode, fan speed is constant. In Natural mode, fan speed is occasionally ramped up to make it feel more like ‘real’ wind. Sleep mode dials down fan speed, before cycling back to the preset speed. I have to say that the constant speed mode is the best option; I found the other modes a little distracting.

At 15cm, I measured airflow at 4.2m/s at maximum and 3.2m/s at minimum. That’s an average range for a fan of this size, but I’d like to see a more gentle minimum. At 1.5m, I measured fan speed at 1.4m/s at maximum. That’s a bigger drop-off than with a blade fan, which will be more powerful. As such, this fan is better suited for close-range operation or slightly smaller rooms.

Noise wasn’t too much of an issue, at 60.4dB at maximum speed and 56.2dB at minimum speed from a distance of 15cm. The Oscillating Remote Control Tower Fan doesn’t produce an annoying sound, with air movement being the main culprit. Power consumption is good, ranging between 27.9W and 38.3W.

If you want a room fan that won’t take up a lot of space and offers plenty of options, this is a great choice.

Buy Now: Fine Elements Oscillating Remote Control Tower Fan from £59

Fine Elements Mini Tower Fan

Fine Elements Mini Tower Fan
5. Fine Elements Mini Tower Fan
Pros:

Small
Efficient and quieter
Cons:

Fan speeds give little variation in airflow
Tower fans are a great choice where space is limited, and the Fine Elements Mini Tower Fan is the smallest model we’ve seen. Its tiny column is ideal for a desk, since the fan doesn’t take up anywhere near as much room as a traditional bladed model.

Although it has a plastic body, the Mini Tower Fan feels well made, and its matte finish makes it quite unobtrusive. Three simple controls sit on the top of the fan; the power button cycles through the two speed settings before it turns the Mini Tower Fan off. A blue LED indicates which setting you’re currently using; it’s quite bright, so you may want to put a bit of tape over the light for use in a bedroom.

It’s nice to see a sleep timer. Tapping the button lights up the indicators beneath the 1h, 2h and 4h labels. Fine Elements has used a binary system, so the sleep timer goes 1h, 2h and then 3h (1h and 2h) – and so on, up to a maximum of seven hours. Finally, there’s a button to toggle the oscillation mode on and off. As is usual for tower fans, there’s no height or pivot adjustment.

I measured the air speed of the fan at 3.4m/s at 15cm on the max setting. Moving to the lower setting, this dropped to 3.1m/s. A little more variation in fan speed would have been nice. Moving to 1.5m away, airflow dropped to 1m/s at the maximum setting and a similar 0.9m/s on the slower setting.

The Mini Tower Fan is relatively quiet. While not reaching Dyson levels, fan noise at maximum was 61.5dB at 15cm; the slower setting produced a similar 59.2dB. I didn’t find the sound annoying either, with the whoosh of air responsible for much of the noise, with little sound from the motor. This is an efficient fan, too, using 26.9W on maximum power and 19.6W on the minimum setting.

You get more control and airflow from a desktop fan, but if space is at a premium, then the Mini Tower Fan is a great alternative.

Buy Now: Fine Elements Mini Tower Fan from £20

Logick 16″ Gun Metal Pedestal Fan

Logick 16" Gun Metal Pedestal Fan

6. Logick 16″ Gun Metal Pedestal Fan
Pros:

Classic looks
Excellent price
Lots of airflow
Cons:

Needs a slower minimum speed
Quite noisy
As smart as tower fans and Dyson’s models can be, there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned pedestal fan. This is particularly true when the fan looks as good as the Logick 16″ Gun Metal Pedestal Fan. With its dark metal finish, this fan has a smart art-deco look to it, making it an object to appreciate in a room, not one to hide away.

Some assembly is required, but I found that the Pedestal Fan went together easily enough. The four fan blades feel a little thin to the touch, so handle them carefully as you assemble. A height adjustment between 930 and 1250mm means it’s easy to line up the Pedestal Fan, no matter whether you’re sitting at a desk or on a low sofa. A pivot option enables the fan head to be tilted down, too.

Three speed settings are available. If anything, the minimum speed is still a little fast, pushing air at a considerable speed of 3.2m/s at a distance 15cm; the max setting is only a little faster at 4.1m/s. At 1.5m, I measured the minimum setting at 1.1/m/s, and 2.3m/s at maximum.

Such high fan speeds have an impact on noise, and the Gun Metal Pedestal Fan is quite noisy: 61.5dB on the minimum setting. Power consumption is good, ranging from 37.2W to 47.6W.

Given its great price, top looks and adaptability, the Logick 16″ Gun Metal Pedestal Fan is a top choice for hot days when you need plenty of air movement. A slightly slower minimum speed would have been nice, though

Benross Portable Air Cooler 60 Watts

Benross Portable Air Cooler 60 Watts

7. Benross 42240 Portable Air Cooler

Pros:

Cools the air
Large water tank
Efficient operation
Cons:

Basic-looking
Confusing controls
If you want to cool down a room, you need something that will actually lower the air temperature. The Benross Portable Air Cooler 60 Watts can do just that. It’s an evaporative cooler that uses a 7-litre tank of water to turn dry, hot air into wet, cool air.

Since evaporative coolers are most efficient in dry climates, the Portable Air Cooler has two additional cooling methods. First, it ships with four freezer bottles that you fill with water. You can attach any bottle to a cord, and drop it into the main reservoir to cool the water before it’s evaporated. Second, there’s an ice cube tray on the rear: when full, air is expelled through the ice, cooling it further.

The Portable Air Cooler is about the same size as a bit of carry-on luggage; it looks like a portable air-conditioning unit. It’s a lot lighter, though, particularly when it’s empty of water.

Filling up is a little fiddly, as you have to pour water through the spring-loaded flap on the side. I found it easiest to use a 2-litre drinks bottle. With water consumption at 0.45 litres per hour, the 7-litre tank gives a runtime of 15hrs 30mins, which is enough to get you through a hot night.

On top of the cooler are the controls. The speed setting dial is a little confusing – it has the numbers 0 to 3 written twice. All this means is that you can turn the dial in either direction to get your speed setting. The fan vents at the front are manually controlled, letting you direct air up or down, and there’s a swing button to activate a mechanical sweep. A sleep timer lets you automatically shut off the cooler, stepping up in 10-minute intervals up to one hour.

In basic mode, it’s only the fan that operates; you need only turn on the Cooler switch to engage the evaporative cooler. I measured airflow at a speedy 5.5m/s at 15cm on maximum power, and a fast 4.6m/s on the minimum setting. Moving back 1.5m, the Portable Air Cooler managed 2m/s on the maximum setting and 1.8m/s on minimum.

Performance depends on the relative humidity. Measuring in a room with relative humidity at 50%, with an ambient temperature of 20ºC, the Portable Air Cooler output air at a temperature of 16.8ºC. This was using water, ice in the tray and an ice pack.

In terms of running costs, the Portable Air Cooler uses just 53.8W at maximum fan speed. An air conditioner will cool a humid room faster and further, and a fan is a good choice for cooling your body. If you want something low-cost to output colder air to keep the temperature of a room under control, the Benross Portable Air Cooler 60 Watts will do a good job.

Buy Now: Benross 42240 Portable Air Cooler from £44.99

 

Dyson AM08

Dyson AM08
8. Dyson AM08
Pros:

Very quiet
Easy to position
Smooth and comfortable airflow
Cons:

Few controls on the fan’s body
Expensive
It’s so easy to spot a Dyson fan, with the bladeless head sticking out immediately – there’s something exceptionally cool about being able to stick your head through the gap. The Dyson AM08 doesn’t only look good, it’s practical, too. With no blades on display, cleaning is just a matter of wiping a cloth around the edges. More importantly, the design uses Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology, which creates a smoother jet of air than a traditional fan.

It certainly works, and the AM08 is far more comfortable to sit in front of than a regular fan. At a distance of 15cm, it’s harder to take an air-movement reading, since the fan creates a thin blast of air from around the outside of the head. Even so, I measured air movement at 3.5m/s on the max setting and 0.8m/s on the minimum setting. Moving to 1.5m, the airflow dropped to a reasonable 1.8m/s at the max setting. Bladed fans typically have a larger drop, showing the power of the Air Multiplier system.

Since the AM08 has ten speed settings, it’s more flexible than a lot of fans, and can be adjusted for a gentle breeze to circulate air, up to a full-on gust to cool on the hottest day. Such a range in fan speeds means that the AM08 is often far quieter than a traditional fan. On the lowest setting, it measured just 40.08dB. In simple terms, you can have this fan on at all times, and it definitely won’t disturb your sleep. So many fan settings gives a great range of power usage, ranging from just 5.1W up to 50.7W.

The base has a power button only, with everything else controlled via the remote. This attaches to the top of the fan magnetically. You can use it to adjust fan speed, toggle power, turn on oscillation mode and use the sleep time mode (from 15 minutes to nine hours). The AM08 is height adjustable and has a pivot. In both cases, you just pull or push the fan where you want it to go, and there are no fiddly controls or thumbscrews. If you want the most flexible pedestal fan, this is the model to buy – but it is quite expensive.

Buy Now: Dyson AM08 from £325/ $365 from Amazon

Those are our picks of the best fans. If you want to know more about choosing the right model, read on.

Fan buying guide

Best fans – Can a fan cool a room?

A fan can’t change a room’s temperature; it merely circulates air. However, the breeze from a fan on your body aids sweat evaporation, which makes you cooler. In humid environments, fans don’t work so well, as less sweat evaporates. For this reason, you may want to think about buying a dehumidifier, too, which will improve a fan’s performance and make your room feel more comfortable. The increased air circulation can also stop a room from feeling stuffy.

To actually cool a room you need something that can lower the air temperature. Air conditioning is the main option in this instance, but a second option is to use an evaporative cooler. These feature a tank of water, which slowly evaporates to help cool the air, and work best in dry, hot climates.

Best fans – Which fan type is for you?

Desktop fans are the traditional models. These let you tilt the fan to direct airflow; you turn on the oscillation mode to let the fan sweep from side to side.

Pedestal fans look like tall desktop fans, and are designed to stand on the floor. Typically, they have larger blades, so take up more room, but this makes them more powerful. With most models offering height adjustment, in addition to pivot and oscillation, pedestal fans are easier to configure for the perfect cooling breeze.

Tower fans take up very little floor space and blow air out of a tall column. For the reduction in size you do sacrifice some power, and you don’t get height or pivot adjustments either – just oscillation. As a result, you may need to use a tower fan closer to you, but they’re a great choice where space is at a premium.

Best fans – What other options should I look for?

Noise is important, particularly if you want to sleep with a fan turned on. We’ve measured every fan’s sound levels at both maximum and minimum to help you decide.

A fan with a remote control can be a good option if you want to adjust settings on the fly. This is particularly true in the bedroom, where you may not want to get out of bed to turn off your fan. On that note, look for a fan with a sleep timer so that it will shut off after a set time.

More advanced options on high-end fans include air filters to help clean the air, or heating elements so that you can keep warm in the winter

Best Fans 2018: Desktop and tower coolers
Keep cool this summer with our guide to the best fans on the market, including desktop, tower and evaporative air coolers.
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Fathers Day, Are we Getting it Wrong? Our Fantastic (Cheaper….Cough) Alternatives to a Gift

Fathers Day, Are we Getting it Wrong? Our Fantastic (Cheaper….Cough) Alternatives to a Gift

Here at It’s Your Money, we believe that Fathers are more appreciative of a helping hand or asking him for some advice, rather than a bunch of flowers. Which coincides with the idea of frugality and also practicality. According to this article by the BBC

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40260169

Father’s Day facts

  • The modern Father’s Day is an American invention, with the first widespread celebration taking place on 1910, two year’s after the first Mother’s Day celebration
  • While Mother’s Day was officially recognised by the US government in 1913, Father’s Day had to wait until 1972
  • Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is celebrated on the same day in the US and the UK – the third Sunday in June
  • Portugal, Spain and Italy are rare exceptions, celebrating Father’s Day on 19 March, which is also St Joseph’s Day – the date chosen to celebrate Joseph, the husband of Jesus’ mother
  • Father’s Day started to be marked in the UK after World War Two
  • More than 70 countries now mark Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June

In Conclusion

We apparently spend a third more on Mothers Day gifts than Fathers Day ones, so I think our advice would be much more personal and well received. Alternatively there is always a Champions League Final Ticket for next year…….

Saving Money on Energy

Cheat Sheet on Energy Bills

Remember when you received that call regarding your energy bills from that chirpy telesales agent and you told them you wasn’t interested and slammed the phone down? Well, the chances are they might had been able to teach you a few things about your bill that your energy company was happy for you not to know.
Despite the continual rises in our costs, even when the energy firms costs have got cheaper, the vast majority of UK households are still buying their energy from the Big Six companies on their standard tariffs. Over a million consumers made the move to smaller firms last year and saved themselves a packet in doing so.

Isn’t it about time you started to understand your TCRs from you kWhs and stopped burning money too? I’m going to show you how to understand your energy bills better and save money at the same time.
What is a unit rate?
This is the rate that your gas and (or) electric is charged at. Energy is calculated in kilowatt hours, shown as kwh on your bill. If for e.g. your unit rate is 10.9p you will be charged 10.9p for every kilowatt hour you use.
What is a standing charge?
Is a daily rate you pay regardless of usage. For instance, if your property lay empty with no appliances hooked up to the energy supply, you would still continue to pay the standing charge. Some companies offer contracts with no standing charge but their unit rate is usually higher.
What is a tariff comparison rate?
Shown as TCR on your bill. Many see the Tariff Comparison Rate as energy’s answer to the money market’s Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This is because it is designed to provide an easier way to get an indication of how your rate compares to other plans and suppliers.
In the energy market, this is done by giving an effective price-per-unit rate for every gas and electricity tariff — a rate which factors in elements a normal kWh rate wouldn’t, including standing charges and discounts.

It is worth noting that TCR will always be calculated based on medium energy use— a household that uses 3,100 kWhs of electricity and 12,500 kWhs of gas per year. Keep this in mind if your household falls in the low or high gas and electricity user range.
In general, you should consider TCR as only a guidance to what you are paying or will pay.
Also know that TCR is not yet available for time-of-use meter customers, such as those with Economy 7 and Economy 10 meters.
Where is my TCR shown?
A TCR can be found wherever a gas or electricity tariff is outlined on your energy bills. That means the plan you’re currently on has a TCR, and any plan you may be thinking of switching to will have one as well.
In fact, the point behind the TCR is to compare your current TCR to the TCR of other plans on the market to get an idea of how competitive your plan is. So, how do find these figures?
The TCR will be outlined on energy suppliers’ own websites and on price comparison sites.

You can find your current energy plan’s TCR on your energy bill and on your annual statement.
Ofgem’s changes will also see your bill feature what is referred to as a Tariff Information Label. This label will include your current plan’s TCR, along with other helpful info such as your plan’s actual kWh unit rates, plan end date and standing charge amount.
How to use a Tariff Comparison Rate
Ofgem is very clear that a TCR is not intended to be an exact calculation of what a consumer can expect to pay for an energy plan.
Rather, it is intended to provide an indication of how the costs of one plan compare to another, and ultimately motivate the customer to perform a full-market energy comparison using an Ofgem-accredited price comparison website such as Energylinx, UK Power or uSwitch.
Accredited gas and electricity comparison sites will be able to provide a much more accurate calculation of your expected energy costs because you will be asked to provide information about your consumption and postcode — two factors that greatly impact your energy bills and their costs.
Economy 7 meters
An Economy 7 meter has a night unit rate as well as a day rate. At night, usually between the hours of 12-7, or sometimes 11-6, the unit rate is cheaper. You often find these in properties which have electric only and those with storage heaters.
Economy 10
Just like Economy 7 meters, these meters come with a cheaper rate at set periods of the day/night. The difference is that these come with one during the day too. The cheaper day rate can differ from meter to meter so always check with your supplier to see when the cheaper day rate is set for. As mentioned above, using timers to bring on appliances in the cheaper periods can really help to cut down costs.
What is a standard tariff?
It is a variable rate of energy, or in plain English, if the cost per unit of energy goes up with your supplier and you continue to use the same amount of energy, so does your bill. If it comes down then your unit rate/bill reduces. Anybody who hasn’t slept for the last decade will tell you the cost only comes down in the warmer months after the winter increases have taken place so effectively it never really comes down– yes your loyalty means that much to them.
What is a fixed a rate?
This means your energy is set at a fixed price for an agreed period of time that you and your supplier contractually agree to. This is usually between 12 and 24 months. N-power were offering a 4 year fix last year and the year before, but after the fiasco they’ve had with billing and customer service over the last 2 years it didn’t turn out to be a very good deal for many of their customers – unsurprisingly they sit at the bottom of the Which? energy supplier league table for customer satisfaction with a paltry overall score of 41%.
Be mindful that a longer fixed term will be set at a higher unit rate than a 12 month fix as the supplier will be offsetting it against the likely price rises to avoid taking too much of a hit on their huge profit margins.
What are early termination fees
Basically a cancellation fee. Most, not all, suppliers will charge you a cancellation fee if you leave before the end of your contract. They can range from £5 right up to £50 per fuel so make sure you check your bill or contact your supplier first before making any attempts to switch.
What is a Personal Projection
This is what your supplier thinks you’ are likely to spend over the course of a year. It is just an estimation and not an exact amount so please bear this in mind. For instance, if you we had an extremely cold winter, or even an extremely hot summer (here’s hoping), you may use more or less energy than predicted by your supplier.

Common misconceptions of energy bills
I will lose supply during a switch
You will not lose your supply whilst your switch is being processed. You gas and electric all comes from the same place, The National Grid. Your energy supplier purchases your energy from the National Grid and then they sell it on to us, the consumer, at a profit.
Your current supplier’s energy is no different to the next company. The only difference to you or me is the logo at the top of our bill and the rate we are charged. Ask yourself this question, would you buy a bottle of milk from a shop selling it for £30 or would you go to another shop selling the exact same thing to get it for £1?
I’ll be better looked after by remaining loyal to one company
If this were true nobody in the country would be on a standard rate of energy. If your supplier really wanted to reward your loyalty they would call you and transfer you to their cheapest available tariff. The reality is they are happy to leave you paying the standard tariff, and therefore paying way more than you need to, until you decide otherwise. The rule of thumb is loyalty doesn’t pay where energy is concerned.
It is always better to be with one supplier for both gas and electric
In most cases but not all. Sometimes when you have prepayment meters it can be cheaper by splitting the energy supply between two suppliers which is why you should always do a comparison to be 100% sure you’re are getting the cheapest possible deal.
I cannot switch if I have arrears on my prepayment meters
You can take a maximum of £500 worth of arrears for each fuel to another supplier if you pay by prepayment meter. Ecotricity have capped this at £200. Ultimately it will be down to the discretion of the supplier, but in most circumstances as long as you meet the criteria above, you can switch to a cheaper supplier.

Top tips to cut energy bills
Fix the price
There is no sense in paying more than you need to, it is expensive enough. Fix down the price and avoid any potential price hikes.
Pay by Direct Debit
You get a cheaper rate and it takes away the danger of running up arrears
Choose an online tariff
Your supplier will offer you a further discount for eliminating paper bills. It is also much easier to upload your meter readings, meaning no waiting in massive queues on the phone or navigating your way through annoying automated services! You also eliminates the possibility of losing your energy bills.
Give regular meter readings
I do it monthly on my online account. It means you never get into arrears and when it comes to switch your actual consumption shown on your bill will be accurate. It also means your energy bills will never be under or over estimated.
Compare your energy bills and switch regularly
At the end of your contract do another comparison. It could be that your supplier is the cheapest in the area again and you just simply fix down the price for another year with them. If not then switch supplier and remember the golden rule… LOYALTY DOESN’T PAY!
Ask your supplier for your exact annual consumption before starting a comparison
This means that any potential saving will be as accurate as possible. You can also find your annual consumption on your energy bills. Just be careful to check it is an actual amount and not an estimated amount.
Don’t believe everything your supplier tells you
When you attempt to switch you may receive a call from your supplier to try and convince you to stay. You may be even offered a better rate than you saw on the comparison sites. Don’t just take their word for it that this new price is the cheapest out there, have them email it to you and check it thoroughly yourself to be certain. Retentions agents, or whatever fancy equivalent they are known by, are trained to make you stay, whether it is of any real benefit to you or not.

Here are some dos and dont’s from Be Clever with your cash

Eight mistakes you make when switching energy

 

Is it woth switching to a water metre?

Is it worth switching to a water meter?

Step one – work out how you’re paying

There are two ways you can pay your water bill:
You pay a set price per year. This is called rate-able billing. How much you pay depends on your home –

You have a water meter. This means you pay for the water you use.
If you’re not sure how you pay, take a look at your bill. You can read more on https://www.thameswater.co.uk/My-Account/Billing-and-payment/Your-bill-explained


Generally speaking, the bigger your home and the fewer people that live in it, the more likely you are to save money with a water meter. But, don’t try to change without checking with the calculator!

Step two – work out if it’s worth switching
If you’re on rate-able billing, you can choose to get a water meter instead. This can be cheaper, but it isn’t always. To see if it’s right for you, use a water usage calculator.You can use the calculator on the Consumer Council for Water website.

http://www.ccwater.org.uk/watermetercalculator/

You’ll just need to estimate a few details about your water use – like how often you flush the loo – and it’ll show how much you could save compared to your current rate-able bill.
Use the Consumer Council for Water’s calculator.
If your water use changes – perhaps when the kids leave home – you might want to try the calculator again.
Can’t get a water meter?
If your water supplier can’t provide you with a water meter, they are obliged to offer you an alternative to compensate. This alternative is called an Assessed Charge , this is usually results in a saving of about 1/3 or on average £150 per year.
Some water company s allow you to change back to rate-able value based billing – Thames Water does allow this, Affinity Water does not!

If you have a metre, here are some tips on how to save water

https://www.affinitywater.co.uk/water-saving-programme.aspx

Also here are some free water saving gadgets

http://freebies.thameswater.co.uk/

If you are having problems paying your bill, below are some links for how to get help

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/my-account/billing-and-payment/help-paying-your-bill/customer-assistance-fund

https://www.affinitywater.co.uk/struggling-to-pay-your-bill.aspx

Save

How Easy Is it to switch Utilities ?

Tips on Switching Utilities

By now you’ve probably heard the message that switching can save you money hundreds of times. But still some people get put off, thinking it’ll be too much hassle and too complicated. But is it?

A survey by comparison site GoCompare has looked at just how easy people find switching, and found home and car insurance the easiest to change, with more than 80% of adults who have switched saying it was easy.
Switching your banking accounts – whether credit card, current account or savings account – were viewed as almost as easy, with around 75% saying it was simple to switch. Positive comments about changing gas and electricity were about the same.
Communications such as broadband, mobile phones and landlines didn’t fare as well, with under 70% feeling it was easy, while mortgages were viewed the most difficult. However, more than half (61%) still said it was easy.
The difficulties with switching
For those that struggled, the survey found a third of people thought it took too long to switch. A quarter also found the process too complicated.
How to switch
The process is different for what you’re trying to switch.
For most, including insurance, credit cards, energy and telecoms, it’s well worth using a comparison site. You’ll be able to filter by the different deals and find what works best for you.
You rarely need to tell your old provider you’re leaving them, but it’s important to check. Some, including insurance policies, may auto-renew if you don’t cancel.
Others, such as most phone and broadband switches, and all energy changes, will talk to your old supplier on your behalf.

Either way it’s worth checking your final bill. It’s possible you could be owed money by your old account and it’s not always sent back to you unless you chase them.
Current accounts are slightly different as you can have more than one account at any time. To take advantage of switching offers you need to make sure your new bank is part of the switching service which guarantees payments will be automatically transferred. You’ll also need to tick a box that says you agree to fully close your old account.
If you want to switch your mortgage, pay attention to the fees and charges with both your old and new lender. You might find it’s actually more expensive to move once these are taken into account. It’s worth talking to a mortgage adviser to help find the best deal for you.

How Easy Is It to Switch Utilities?

Tips on Switching Utilities

By now you’ve probably heard the message that switching can save you money hundreds of times. But still some people get put off, thinking it’ll be too much hassle and too complicated. But is it?

A survey by comparison site GoCompare has looked at just how easy people find switching, and found home and car insurance the easiest to change, with more than 80% of adults who have switched saying it was easy.
Switching your banking accounts – whether credit card, current account or savings account – were viewed as almost as easy, with around 75% saying it was simple to switch. Positive comments about changing gas and electricity were about the same.
Communications such as broadband, mobile phones and landlines didn’t fare as well, with under 70% feeling it was easy, while mortgages were viewed the most difficult. However, more than half (61%) still said it was easy.
The difficulties with switching
For those that struggled, the survey found a third of people thought it took too long to switch. A quarter also found the process too complicated.
How to switch
The process is different for what you’re trying to switch.
For most, including insurance, credit cards, energy and telecoms, it’s well worth using a comparison site. You’ll be able to filter by the different deals and find what works best for you.
You rarely need to tell your old provider you’re leaving them, but it’s important to check. Some, including insurance policies, may auto-renew if you don’t cancel.
Others, such as most phone and broadband switches, and all energy changes, will talk to your old supplier on your behalf.

https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub

Either way it’s worth checking your final bill. It’s possible you could be owed money by your old account and it’s not always sent back to you unless you chase them.
Current accounts are slightly different as you can have more than one account at any time. To take advantage of switching offers you need to make sure your new bank is part of the switching service which guarantees payments will be automatically transferred. You’ll also need to tick a box that says you agree to fully close your old account.
If you want to switch your mortgage, pay attention to the fees and charges with both your old and new lender. You might find it’s actually more expensive to move once these are taken into account. It’s worth talking to a mortgage adviser to help find the best deal for you.

 

Top Student Deals April 2018

Top Student Deals April 2018

Free Amazon Prime Student for 6 months
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amazon-Student-Free-One-Day-Delivery/b?ie=UTF8&node=2973324031

Free MS Office

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/education/products/office/default.aspx

Streaming Deals

My rules to spend less on streaming film and TV

Sky Sports for the end of the footy season £20 for the month

Cheapest ways to watch Sky Sports without a subscription – inc £20 month pass | 30% off week pass| free day pass



£4 off Deliveroo
https://www.myunidays.com/GB/en-GB/partners/deliveroo/micro/online?p=AQI

Free Pizza
https://becleverwithyourcash.com/food-deals/?utm_source=Be+Clever+With+Your+Cash+Newsletter&utm_campaign=99475a98a7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dea6c5fc3-99475a98a7-37165285

Pringles Now TV free Sky Sports Day pass
https://www.bigmatch.pringles.com/

£15 cashback at Just Eat
https://www.quidco.com/incentives-just-eat-15-march/?

Free Mushroom Growing Kit
https://www.growwilduk.com/form/sign-your-fungus-teams

2 Chicago Town Deep Dish Pizzas for £1
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/search?query=Chicago+town+2+deep&source=awin&awc=7052_1522842554_de62e2afec25dcc7836867615b2a441d&sc_cmp=aff*awin*ghs*Save+the+Student_95750&utm_medium=ghs&utm_source=affiliate_window&utm_campaign=aff*Save+the+Student_95750

Sub of the day is back £2.49
https://www.savethestudent.org/student-deals/food-and-drink/sub-of-the-day-is-coming-back.html

Free Greggs Bake
https://www.greggs.co.uk/rewards#878909099

Secret Sales Websites
https://www.savethestudent.org/shopping/the-best-secret-sales-websites.html

 

10 Energy Saving Tips

10 Energy Saving Tips

1. Turn off electrical appliances – leaving them on standby wastes energy and money. You could save around £85 a year by switching them off.

2. Turn down the thermostat by a degree – it’s simple but it could slice £65 off your bills each year. Chances are you won’t notice the difference.

3. Get insulated – the Energy Saving Trust reckons cavity wall insulation could save you up to £160 per year, and loft insulation could save you about £140 a year. Hefty initial outlay, though, so could be a few years before it pays for itself.

4. Invest in a lagging jacket – to put on your hot water tank and make it more energy efficient. It’s a good idea to insulate pipes while you’re at it.

5. Wash clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 – it’s easy to do and could easily reduce your energy bills. Most washing powders perform well at lower temperatures.

6. Descale your kettle – to make it work more efficiently and last longer. Fill the kettle with equal parts water and vinegar and let it soak for an hour. Rinse it out a few times before using it again.

7. Replace your light bulbs – using an energy saving bulb instead of a traditional one could save you around £3 a year, or £50 over the lifetime of the bulb, says the Energy Saving Trust.

8. Upgrade your boiler – although it won’t come cheap, replacing your boiler could save you hundreds of pounds a year on your bills. Boilers are rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. So if yours is at the lower end of the scale, it could be time to replace it.

9. Bleed your radiators – this will make your heating more efficient and keep your bills down. Follow our step-by-step guide.

10. Switch your energy tariff – head over to our comparison channel to check whether there’s a cheaper tariff out there for you. It’ll only take a few minutes and could save you hundreds every year.