Could you give up something you love to save money?


Being cold in bed is no fun.

What could you not live without? And you can’t cheat and say your kids. Pick the one thing that you use every single day and could never give up. Then give it up for a week. Anxiety setting in yet?

Could I save money on the One Week Energy Challenge?

This is what MoneySuperMarket asked me to do last week, to see if I could save money, and how tough it felt to do so. I asked if I could give up Facebook – I could definitely use some motivation to take that time-sucker out of my life. But no, this was the One Week Energy Challenge, and it had to be a household item, something which consumes energy, like a phone (I nearly passed out at that suggestion!), my car, or the microwave. Rather cunningly, I thought, I chose my electric blanket. I often joke with a friend on the school run about our mutual dependence on a warm mattress, the first-world problem of sliding into a comfortable bed without electrically-enhanced cosiness being lost on me at that point. Rarely have I underestimated myself as much as as I did with that gem of a decision. Here’s how my week went:

Night one:

Climb into bed as usual. Knackered, as usual. Cold feet, cold sheets, switch on blanket, as usual. Oh, wait. Switch off blanket. Lie down and think about ice blocks at end of legs. After 20 minutes start rubbing toes together and realise I can’t feel them. Contemplate risk of frostbite – do toes actually break off if they freeze? Drag feet frantically back and forth on sheets to create friction warmth. Wear self out and fall asleep.

Night two:

Get home after the usual Tuesday taxi service I perform for the kids, plough pasta into mouth, chivvy kids into bed, and settle down on pillows for a good long read. Normally results in sleep sitting up with book open and dribble on chin. Manage to read 16 chapters before realising it’s gone midnight. Decide to leave dressing gown on and fall asleep quite quickly. Wake up in panic that have been burgled and tied to bed. Turns out to be dressing gown cord tangled in legs.

Night three:

Am getting savvy: take warm bath, with bubbles. Oh yes, have this nailed, can totally beat the blanket ban tonight. Snuggle down for night of peaceful dreaming. Wait, blood sugar monitor is alarming. Get up, prick finger, go downstairs to fridge for Lucozade, chat to child while waiting for sugar to kick in. Go back to bed. Feet now frozen. Bed feels like groundsheet at camp site. Can’t get to sleep.

Night four:

Dig out fleece pyjamas from bottom of drawer. Find Grandma socks and put on two pairs. Am militarily prepared for night in bed. Consider mittens and woolly hat. Feel cosy, this is good. Damn, can’t stop thinking about how cold nose is.

Night five:

Steak night. Therefore wine night. Fall asleep on sofa. Hurrah, have found solution. Wake up at 2am with stiff neck to freezing cold house. Drag self upstairs to bed. Put blanket on full power. Only for a minute. It’s not really cheating. No-one will know. Wake up with sandpaper mouth, drenched in sweat, 2 hours later. Turn blanket off. Have failed.

Night six:

Am so tired, fall asleep instantly. Don’t notice how cold bed is. Blanket? What blanket? Who needs heat? Losers. Am cured of blanket addiction.

Night seven:

Shiver under duvet. Try not to think about feet. Can you get chilblains in a ’60’s semi? Can’t sleep. Get up and eat half Easter egg to boost serotonin levels. Sink happily into pillow. Teeth don’t matter, is only one night. Teeth do matter. Get up an brush teeth. Damn this bathroom floor is cold. Can’t sleep now…

Cold feet


Apparently, using an electric blanket on maximum setting for one hour, costs the same as boiling a litre of water in a kettle. I put mine on when the kids go to bed, so my bed is toasty when I go up. So more like 3 hours every night. I know. The shame! My mother would weep. But even there, I’m only racking up around £6 per year. It’s not exactly breaking the bank. In fact, if you offset the savings against the tank full of hot water I used in the medicinal bath, I’m probably in negative equity.

But that’s not the point of the exercise. When families are struggling with their fuel bills, their first thought is to cut costs. What can they give up that will save them money? And whilst we’d all benefit from walking more instead of driving, in more than just the financial sense, there’s often a simpler way to save even more money, simply by switching energy providers regularly. I know this, because I’ve done it myself, on energy, and insurance providers, and saved sensible amounts of money each time.

MoneySuperMarket is the UK’s biggest, totally independent price comparison site, with a vast range of services dedicated to saving you money. From energy to mortgages and insurance to holiday deals, MoneySuperMarket is dedicated to providing the best possible deals on providers to switch to, should you want to. If you’re struggling with costs, it’s well worth checking with them whether you might be able to save money by switching provider.

This post is in collaboration with MoneySuperMarket, but all thoughts are our own. Pug in bed image courtesy of Shutterstock.

6 thoughts on “Could you give up something you love to save money?”

  1. Okay, so here’s a biggy for me: I’m giving up using the kettle during the day, for a MONTH, to see if our energy usage decreases. Realistically I drink far too many coffees and should drink more water so, following that first cuppa in the morning, until 7pm in the evening, the kettle is out of bounds. Currently I must boil it about 10 times a day so I reckon the hole in the ozone will disappear, global warming will stop and I’ll get a letter from Greenpeace saying thank you if I don’t use it for a month.

    Mind you, I might spend my days in Costa instead, but you get the point.

    • Wow. That is tough. I thought about giving up my microwave, but then I realised that – since my milk frother doesn’t work – I’d need it for my morning latte. And if I missed that the day would never get started! Good luck!

  2. I can’t believe you’ve still got Chocolate Easter Eggs!
    (and hey, you wouldn’t be able to eat them in bed if you had your electric blanket on anyway would you)

    Off to scare MIL with those facts – she loves her blanket…
    And, brilliant timing too for Earth Day this week btw!


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