Resident making a coffee in the kitchen of her Pocket home.

How to save money on gas and electric bills [tips for first time buyers]

The UK’s rising cost of living has affected us all, but if you’re a first time buyer, you might feel particularly keen to keep your finances in check. If you’re wondering how to save money on gas and electric bills, there are many simple ways to reduce your outgoings, particularly by living more sustainably.

Our residents are first time buyers on middle incomes, so we know how important it is to them to make savings wherever possible. Buying a new build home is a great start, and by making an energy savings plan, you can reduce your bills and rest assured that you’re taking measures to live more efficiently and cut down on unnecessary costs.

Read on to find out our tips for saving money on your bills. They may seem small but can make a big difference over time, so start now to let the pennies begin to add up!

Shop around for the best rates

First time buyer searching on her laptop in a Pocket Living development's communal space.

Knowledge is power, so the first step in saving money on energy bills is comparing prices between different providers. Comparison sites allow you to do this for free, but you can also simply browse rates directly on energy companies’ websites.

Be aware of hidden fees, and always check if there are any discounts or special deals available. You should also think about whether a fixed or variable rate is better for you. Keep in mind that with the current rising cost of living, companies may be offering fewer deals to new customers at the moment.

If you do find a cheaper energy provider, make the switch. The energy provider you’re moving to will be able to process the switch without loss of supply, usually within a few weeks.

Install a smart thermostat

Heating and hot water costs account for half of your energy bills, so it’s no surprise that something as simple as turning your thermostat down by one degree can save you around £80 per year. Switching to a smart thermostat can also make a big difference by ensuring that the only rooms being heated are ones that are being used.

Smart thermostats also help you track your usage and give you more control, so they are a great option for the energy conscious. They can even be controlled by your phone, giving you the option to open the door to a warm home when you’ve been out.

Many Pocket homes already have a smart meter, and if not, residents are able to switch to a smart thermostat. Register for a Pocket home if you’re interested in finding out more.

Use energy-efficient lighting

The living room in a Pocket home.

Pocket homes are fitted with LED lighting as standard, but if you have older bulbs at home, switching to LED light bulbs can save you up to £3 per year for each traditional halogen bulb you replace. In the average UK household, if all bulbs were replaced, this would save about £40 a year.

Energy-efficient bulbs use significantly less energy than conventional bulbs, and they also need to be replaced much less often. Since lighting accounts for a significant part of your electricity bill, this switch is not to be sniffed at!

Make your home warmer in winter

There are several ways you can keep heat in your home without your bills going up. Let’s start with curtains and blinds – you should keep them open during the day to let the sun in and closed at night so that you lose less heat through your windows. You can also consider investing in thermal insulated curtains for even better heat retention. Finally, keep doors shut to prevent heat from escaping.

Next, think about furniture placement. Keep large items away from the radiator to allow hot air to circulate, and the same goes for curtains and wet clothes. You can also use a radiator panel to direct heat towards the room rather than the wall, which isn’t too expensive and would be easy to install.

If you’re looking to buy your first home, then consider a new build, as standards of insulation will be much better in newer properties than in older homes. This will save you significant amounts on your heating bills (the HBF estimates that a new build flat is 46% cheaper on average to heat compared to an existing property). If you purchase a flat, the higher up in a building you are, the more you will benefit from the heating of those homes beneath you, too.

Make simple switches

The kitchen in a Pocket home.

Small lifestyle changes can add up to big savings if you do them consistently. Switching devices off at the plug when you’re not using them, only boiling the amount of water you need and washing clothes at a lower temperature are all good habits you can start implementing straight away.

If you have the means to do so, you should replace old appliances – ideally with energy-efficient ones. With many brands available at different price points, finding something within budget shouldn’t be too difficult. If you buy a Pocket home, some energy-efficient appliances will be included with your purchase (our preferred supplier is also carbon neutral – another win!). Remember to turn them off when you’re not using them, or you can even use timer plugs to schedule when they turn off.

Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact, especially when you’re doing them consistently. Implementing the above tips into your everyday life will save you money in the long term and reduce your impact on the planet.

Our mission is to help aspiring homeowners onto the property ladder, so if you have any questions about buying a Pocket home, email our friendly sales team at If you have any queries on affordability, we’ll put you in touch with a mortgage broker.

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