Energy prices are rising rapidly this autumn and they are making people think about how best to use their budget.
Not only that, but there are many energy companies that have ceased operating, as they no longer have a sustainable business model, with the wholesale cost of gas exceeding the price that the energy regulator, Ofgen, allow them to sell it for.
So while there are those who thought they had a good deal being transferred to other suppliers at less favourable rates, those whose suppliers continue to trade are also seeing a rise in prices.
As a result, some of those on low and limited incomes are facing some really tough choices, including the ‘eat or heat’ problem and that’s a horrible choice to have to make.
But there are ways to take account of rising household costs and some of them are not new ideas, they are just methods that some of us may have moved away from.
A few years ago, when our family income was limited, we thought we should make some cutbacks and one of the areas we selected to be more economical with was heating our home.
We decided that we could reduce the the room temperatures with a small adjustment to the thermostat to reduce out energy use but to do this, we did invest in a couple of extra blankets to snuggle into while we were watching television.
Equally, in our formative years, in the 1970s and 1980s, the use of heating was far more limited.
One of us grew up in a home where there was a gas fire in the living/dining room and some heaters on the walls elsewhere in the house. These were used sparingly, when they were really needed, but if the room was to remain empty, there was no need to heat it.
The other of us grew up in a home where central heating had been installed and the heating was ‘on’ at certain times of the day, in certain rooms, which were all downstairs. The bedrooms were only heated in exceptional circumstances, such as someone was ill or there were sub-zero temperatures outside.
In the latter case, there was also an open fire in one of the rooms which was great in the winter for making toast on the dark evenings.
Of course, it wasn’t warmer in those days to allow people to have low heating or no heating, but we just accounted for the cooler temperatures by wearing more layers.
And we can use the same principle today - there is no need to set the thermostat to a temperature that allows us to wear a T-shirt in the house. Just turn it down a few notches and wear two or three layers inside.
On a cold day, that probably prepares you better for the outside temperatures than stepping out from a home where you are feeling so warm that you need to take your outer layers off.
Not only will turning the thermostat down save on your household budget, it will also reduce your carbon footprint and so help the environment at the same time.
There are many ways you can cut back on your energy use, just take a look at the Energy Saving Trust’s website to see the advice offered there.
So, as the winter progresses, turn the thermostat down, wear a few extra layers and snuggle up in front of the television, safely ensconced in a warm blanket.
These measures will reduce your outgoings and your carbon footprint - so it’s good for your bank balance and the planet at the same time.