Higher interest rates will start to bite many homeowners whose fixed-rate loans expire this year and this will be on top of the rising cost of living. As homeowners, we’ve become adept at managing our budgets but it will mean many of us will spend more time at home this winter as we choose to save money by cooking and entertaining ourselves in our homes.

Making our homes more comfortable

Now, more than ever, we’re spending more money making our homes more comfortable. Many people found during the pandemic and during the last recession that investing in a home cinema, additional kitchen appliances like an espresso machine and even a spa or a bar is more affordable than going out.

And setting up your home office can be cheaper and more convenient than commuting into the city two or three times a week.

Of course, this will mean that energy costs will rise with us being home rather than going out, so what can we do about it?

How to minimise rising energy costs

As we’re coming up to winter, we want to try and keep our heating bills as low as possible. There are plenty of ways to do this including:

  • Draught-proofing windows and doors. Draught stoppers for doors can be both inexpensive and often whimsical. But, they have one primary purpose ‒ to keep the cold out. Additionally, it’s easy to add some weather-proofing strips around your windows to keep the cold air out.
  • Add heavier curtains. Heavier, lined curtains will help to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make. And, you can pack these up and store them over the warmer months ‒ although if your windows get full sun in summer, your curtains can help maintain a cool interior.
  • Consider solar panels and battery backup. Using the sun to generate your own power is a great way to save on energy bills. Many people find the initial investment well worth it in the long run.
  • Use an electric blanket at night. Rather than heating the bedroom, an electric blanket is much more cost-effective at keeping you warm at night. Also, consider a nice, thick doona filled with down.
  • Heat only the rooms you’re using. There’s no point heating the whole house if you’re only using one or two rooms. This only makes your heating work harder and pushes up your energy costs.
  • Wear warmer clothing and layers. Invest in some cosy soft jumpers and add layers underneath to keep you warm. Even wearing leggings under your pants or jeans will make a difference.
  • Invest in a heated blanket. When you’re curled up to watch TV or read a book, cover yourself with a heated blanket. This will keep you cosy and warm and means you can lower the overall temperature for your heating.
  • Use the oven to cook dinner. Consider using your oven to cook a delicious casserole. To minimise energy costs, think about cooking several casseroles at the same time. Not only will they cook faster when you have more than one in the oven, using your oven will warm up the kitchen.
  • Take shorter showers. Time yourself in the shower to keep those water-heating bills down. Or, you could go full-on hardcore and opt for cold showers. This takes a little getting used to but will help to boost your endorphins.

Other ways to reduce energy costs

To keep your electricity bills as low as possible, be vigilant. Turn off all appliances at the wall when you’re not using them. This includes your kettle and your coffee machine as well as your Wi-Fi and TV. These all consume back-up power while they’re sitting idle. It isn’t much but over a billing quarter, back-up power adds up.

If you have ceiling fans, put them on reverse to push the warm air down. Not many people know this but often, ceiling fans have a switch on them that reverses the airflow. While in summer you want the fan to pull the warm air up, in winter it’s better to reverse them so that they push the warm air down.

Can we help with your Inner West home?

Whether you’re ready to sell or need help to rent your investment property, we have the experience and local knowledge to make your property journey easier.

Looking for help selling your home or renting your investment property? Our team at Belle Property Balmain support homeowners across Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove, Rozelle and Lilyfield. Feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation discussion or property appraisal.

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