I was brought up in a small mining village called Maltby in South Yorkshire , UK. As a baby boomer in the 1950's we had an enjoyable yet a hardy upbringing. This aspect wasn't obvious to us growing up - we were just living through what was commonplace and not at all challenging. We didn't have central heating or double glazing. We often huddled around a coal lit fire for warmth in a loving environment. I can remember waking up in at the morning and my head felt so cold, and having glanced at the icicle patterns on the window would pull the sheets over my head to savour the cosiness and warmth of the under blanket.
So these days with so many modern amenities keeping us warm - are we getting too soft? I listen to people complaining about the high cost of energy ( which is certainly the case) but often they don't want to take any common-sense advice. Almost that constant warmth is their right.
I remember an elderly friend of my mother who had cheaper gas - I think it was called StayWarm and was provided for those who fell into the vulnerable category. She enjoyed temperatures which would not have been out of place in the south of France. When she was too warm she would open a window!
One of the chiefs of the energy companies commented that the cheapest unit of energy is the one you don't use. He was met with a torrent of abuse and criticism - but he is right! If you examine the number of appliances which are on standby and the rooms you are heating which are not in use you could probably cut the bills.
In discussions with family and friends as to how we we could make some savings and keep warm we collectively came up with these suggestions…..
- Fix tariff with UK energy suppliers before 1st December 2013. Most are increasing charges by up to 10% from this date
- Turn down the temperature of central heating - apparently one degree less and you can save on average £131 per year.
- Wear more clothes! This again was ridiculed but something we were always told by our parents.
- Check items on standby….switch them off.
- Exercise for an hour a day. If you are retired or work from home - going for a brisk walk will get the circulation going and will make you feel so much warmer and you won't need the heat on during this time.
- Clean the house…using the hoover certainly makes me feel warm!
- keep busy don't fall into the trap of being a "couch potato"
- Use the warmth of the oven! By cooking nourishing meals in a batch - you have hot food and the incidental heat from the oven to raise the temperature in the kitchen
- Visit friends and have a coffee
- Invest in a couple of clothes racks. I have found that using a clothes drier is very expensive - get used to hanging out clothes again where practical
- Switch off unnecessary lights
The elderly are often depicted as some little old dear wrapped in a shawl suffering from the cold. Don't let this stereotype prevent you from taking matters into your own hands and give a more positive spin. Most people are quite resourceful - certainly we baby boomers are! No one says its easy to manage but we can still use our brains despite what some people think! We also have the advantage of having lived through real austerity which was far worse than anything that we face now!
Do you have any energy tips??