Are you like me, obsessively watching your smart meter and despairing at how quickly the cost of electricity and gas goes up throughout the day?

Energy prices rising (despite the energy price cap they are still likely to be more than last winter) and the mercury dropping certainly doesn’t help. With a long time to wait until the balmy (or at least warmer) days of summer coupled with the cost of living crisis, how can we keep warm without breaking the bank?

Sitting here on a chilly November morning with no heating currently on in my house, one easy, and I know a bit obvious tip, is to dress warmly. Layers really help in trapping air and insulating your body. I also have a blanket to hand and will pop that over me when I’m stationary, maybe watching TV or whilst working from home. It makes sense, to heat yourself first, rather than trying to heat whole rooms or houses. In addition to layers of clothing and blankets, hot water bottles, hand warmers and electric blankets can all keep you toasty and cosy when you are relaxing, or perhaps like me, working from home.

This, of course, is not enough but is a starting point. Once you put your central heating on, the cost to you and our planet in terms of carbon emissions really ramps up. So, what’s the most energy efficient way to run your heating? Firstly, turn the thermostat down! The average is set at 23°C which is actually the temperature of a warm summers day; T-shirt weather in fact. For every degree you turn your thermostat down you should reduce your bills by about 10%. You probably won’t even notice a degree difference in terms of temperature. For some people, who are less mobile or unwell, they may need to keep the temperature higher but for many turning the thermostat down and adding a layer of clothing is possible.

Other really simple things include shutting doors. I am the door police in my household, forever asking for doors to be shut! It really makes a difference to the warmth of the room. Draught excluders placed at the bottom of doors help too. Simply make one with old tights, filled with worn out or odd socks (though you could just wear the socks, who cares if they’re odd?). Also, shutting your curtains when it’s dark is another free way to save energy.

So, you’ve warmed up yourself, turned down your thermostat and done some simple things to insulate your house and reduce draughts, what about how long to have your heating on? Again, this may vary depending on an individual’s health and mobility. However, if you are active, getting up in the morning and going out to work or out and about it is more energy efficient to heat your home when you need it, i.e. when it is cold rather than to leave it on constantly on a lower setting. So, set it to go on in the morning, before you get up, then make sure it’s off before you leave the house. Then set it to come on in the evening but off at night when you are in bed. Obviously, there may be other times when you need it on, so pop it on to warm the house up if you need to but don’t leave it on constantly. My husband and I both work from home and we follow these ideas but still get cold when doing things like writing this newspaper column! We might put the heating on to take the chill off, say at lunchtime, drink lots of hot cups of tea and get up and do something active between the sedentary tasks sat at a computer.

These are just a few simple ideas. However, if they’re not enough and you are struggling to pay your energy bills you may be eligible for financial assistance. The government offers a range of benefits, grants, and schemes to help people pay their energy bills. You can find more information on the GOV.UK website.

As I’m writing I can feel my sock and slipper clad feet getting a bit chilly so time to shut the laptop, get up and get a warm snack. Mug of tomato soup anyone?