JON STUART: Making a difference with money advice
KAREN and Paula are home/school link workers offering support, advice, guidance and a listening ear at The Federation of Riders Infant and Junior Schools.
The Work Out Your Money team met them at a network meeting earlier this year and has visited the school to engage with parents on money-saving tips and ideas.
Karen said before the team visited she had no real concept of what energy costs she was paying.
She said she paid her direct debit each month and that was it.
But Karen started to realise that the costs were high and her family helped her change supplier.
Karen said: ‘I knew I was excessive with my central heating but I had no idea as to what individual items were costing to run.
‘I had no idea that my older children were costing me hundreds of pounds by taking such long showers.
‘I have changed my behaviour and now turn appliances off at the wall instead of leaving on standby.
‘I wash up by hand when possible and look for brighter days to do my washing so that I can use the clothes line as opposed to the tumble dryer.
‘I have started to change my light bulbs to energy-saving options and no longer leave the lamp on while I am out.’
Paula too is turning off appliances on standby.
The Energy Saving Trust advises people to turn lights off when they are not being used.
If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light.
This will save you about £15 on your annual energy bills.
Karen has already secured an £80 refund from her energy supplier so far and is interested to see what her December bill will show.
With regard to heating, the Energy Saving Trust also advises turning down room thermostats by just one degree to save between £85 and £90 a year.
Work Out Your Money has been running financial capability sessions in the community and secondary schools since December 2014.
Do you belong to a community group that would benefit from a Work Out Your Money presentation?
Please get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us on (023) 9247 6013.