When the pandemic hit and the “stay at home” order was issued, households around the country faced a curious dilemma. On the one hand, they’d never had so much time to spend together. On the other, that “quality time” may have come at a cost.
Suddenly solo sarnies turned into family mealtimes, three times a day; the TV was on; the games console was on; home schooling computers jostled for bandwidth with parents working from home; and we haven’t even got on to washing machines and bread-makers.
In short, it wasn’t just the scientists demanding circuit breakers — our wallets were crying out for them too.
Hidden costs of COVID-19
A year on and there’s full steam ahead on the vaccine rollout in the U.K. as life returns to a new normal. However, while kids may now be back with their classmates, the past year’s school closures could have cost more than just their education.
It seems parents have also paid a significant price, not just in their own ability to work, but also in energy bills. According to ONS latest Families & Household data, there are 8,043,000 U.K. families with dependent children. According to our study, 67% of these have seen increased bills averaging £68.33 more a month.
Even though no more closures are on the horizon for now, current regulations are hitting in other ways. Your school may have issued guidelines, for example, requiring daily washing of uniforms and masks to improve hygiene and keep coronavirus in check.
This sounds simple enough, but what if there’s nothing else to wash that day — it makes that one expensive lot of laundry. And if the weather is poor and you need to pop it in the dryer or turn the heating on to air it, the costs soon rack up.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy reports that using a washing machine and dryer can cost you between 48p and 90p per hour. Add to that other consumer price rises and you can see why we have seen the highest public-sector borrowing in the financial year ending March 2021 since records began in 1947. It is perhaps no surprise then to learn that 6 million U.K. adults have fallen behind on their household bills.
Savvy time to switch?
So, with those figures in mind, now may be a beneficial time to think about swapping suppliers. It’s actually dead simple, especially as we offer a quick and simple energy switching service in partnership with Decision Tech to help save you money. Through both our app and our website, you can easily get quotes for cheaper gas and electricity tariffs from different providers, then get your switch underway.
There are potentially some great savings to be made by changing providers. And you can find deals to move on to new suppliers for your internet, TV and phone too. Even if you’ve been with the same supplier for several years, your loyalty may not be rewarded.
So by leaving, you may not just save yourself some much needed cash, you could also find you’ll end up with improved service. Making a move could also help to boost your credit score as better deals mean you would be more likely to keep up with payments — a win-win for everybody.
The bottom line
So why not investigate switching suppliers for your financial and emotional well-being? Whatever life throws at you — whether it’s nonstop washing, a bread-making obsession or a Fortnite marathon — you’ll be able to sit back, relax and know you have found the best possible deal for yourself.
Credit Karma commissioned Qualtrics Research to interview 1,280 U.K. adults (including 516 U.K. parents with dependent children) between 31 July – 13 August 2020, alongside a commissioned poll by 3Gem questioning 2,000 U.K. adults between 17 August and 20 August 2020.
According to ONS latest Families & Household data, there are 8,043,000 U.K. families with dependent children. According to our study, 67% of these have seen increased bills averaging £68.33 more a month. (8,043,000 x 67% x £68.33 = £368m)
According to a Populus poll, the extra energy used by the average household due to lockdown equated to an additional monthly cost of £32.31 (more than half of the amount reported by parents with dependent children).
The Centre for Sustainable Energy reports that running a washing machine and tumble dryer for an hour costs 69p per hour (31.5p + 37.5p), there are 21 working/school days in September (21 * 69 = £14.49)
Parents report that their children have spent 5.26 hours a week playing video games, 5.09 hours on streaming TV shows, and a further 5.88 hours weekly on watching television.
3GEM asked parents to rate their children in terms of wastefulness with energy in terms of the likes of leaving lights on, using multiple electronic devices at the same time, creating the most laundry, etc. Boys aged 11 to 15 years old were deemed the most wasteful (5.99) followed by daughters aged 16 to 18 (5.97)