It’s an expensive time to work and live in the UK, even more so if you contract from your home. With bills already increasing to an alarming rate and even more rises set to be announced in the autumn, now is the best time to review your energy consumption and make changes for the better.
In this blog we take a look at ways in which you can reduce your energy consumption, and ultimately keep more of your contractor money.
- Heat the human, not the home
Heating is probably the biggest expenditure we’re going to face this upcoming winter, so here’s some tips to consider:
- Only heat the room you’re working from. A cosy home is lovely, but it’s a huge waste of energy if it’s just you in one room
- Turn your thermostat down. If that’s too much of a shock try turning it down by half a degree every day or couple of days to help you acclimatise
- If your work room has windows try and to understand where its sunniest spot is and put your desk there
- Smaller rooms are cheaper to heat for obvious reasons, so if you’re lucky enough to have more than one room to choose working from, always go for the smallest one
- Heated clothing is set to be huge this winter, with a range of different options already hitting the market. From USB heated gloves, heated jackets, boots, etc – the list is endless! Focus on heating yourself, rather than your room
- Appliances left on standby account for almost a quarter of the UK’s electricity usage, and some appliances are worse culprits than others. These appliances that drain energy when on standby are called vampire appliances, and a full list can be found here. It’s worth a whip around every morning and at the end of the day to ensure you’re not spending money on thin air, by switching off appliances
- If you don’t have a smart meter, get one
Nothing makes you more aware of your energy usage (and therefore impending bill) than being able to see it throughout the day. If you’re yet to get a smart meter, it’s strongly advised to do so, so that you’re aware of your usage. It will also show you which appliances are using the most energy, and therefore might be due an upgrade to a newer, more energy efficient model.
It’s useful for also monitoring how much energy you use simply doing your job. You’ll have energy use which is part and parcel of you contracting, such as running your laptop, charging your mobile, etc, but if you like to have the TV on in the background whilst working and it’s a 200W TV, you could be spending an extra £170 per year on electricity (price is before the April energy price increase, so this figure will be greater). Maybe limit yourself to TV when taking a break or making a cuppa to reduce your energy intake and boost your focus and productivity.
If you’re considering upgrading an appliance or simply curious how much energy your current ones use, there’s a handy online tool on the Omni website which allows you to plug in your device’s wattage and see how much on average it could be costing you per year to run.
- Offsetting bills – by increasing your prices
The cost of living has increased for everyone, and therefore no one is immune to the effect, or unaware that prices have sky rocketed. So one way to offset your bills is to raise your prices. Before doing so ensure you do your research so you don’t price yourself out of the market, or make yourself unattainable. Always ensure you inform a client of your new prices in advance of them increasing, and explain your reasons for the increase.
- Offsetting bills – by renegotiating your bills
Now that you’ve sorted more money coming in, it’s time to look at reducing the money that’s going out of your business. Whilst there’s little to no wiggle room for negotiating better energy rates at present, phone contracts and the cost of broadband for example are fair game and there are savings to be made. Get in touch with all your suppliers to see what they can do in terms of shaving off a few pennies here and there. Whilst individually the amounts might be small, added together they’ll have an impact over the entire year, and will mean more money in your pocket.
- Reduce your travel costs
Since the pandemic, Zoom calls are now the norm, and there’s little need to travel constantly for work, should you role not require you to be present in person. When negotiating a new contract with a client, set their expectations with how often you’ll see them to try to work from home as much as possible, reducing your travel costs.
- Reduce the urge to shop in your lunch break
Whilst popping to the shops in your lunch break can be a welcome break, you’ll end up spending more money than you would if you were to do one big shop every week. Try to make a plan for what you’ll be having for lunch each day, and try to stay out of the kitchen…
- Check if you’re making the most from your tax breaks
Reducing the amount of tax and National Insurance you’re liable to pay can really help towards having more money in your pocket. Costs incurred wholly and exclusively for your business can be offset against your tax return. Take a look at our blog on which expenses you can claim from your Limited Company.
How can Aardvark help you?
As part of the ongoing support from your Aardvark Accounting team, it’s our job to ensure you’re considering the different ways in which you can save money. Be that through understanding your tax allowances, expenses, taking dividends, or even ways to save money when running your business, we’re here to help keep more of your money where it belongs – in your pocket! For more advice speak directly to your Aardvark Accountant.