i like big butts and i cannot lie - water butts that is

Is it possible to save on your water bill?

As part of my No Spend Challenge for the Year I am looking at my ‘fixed’ bills. I have found that actually a few of them are less ‘fixed’ than you might think. The first is my regular £60 a month Direct Debit to the water company. This amounts to around £720 a year.

How can I reduce my water bill?

We are two adults in a three bedroomed house. It is a small three bedroomed house but it is still assumed that on average most houses this size will have three or more people living in them. However the water company will make a judgment based on the rental yield for your property. So our three bed in the midlands would rent for more than our three bed in West Wales. Hence the massive jump! Now obviously some households will use more than the average for that rental and some will use less.

Meaning sometimes they lose money and sometimes they make money. SO by asking to pay by a meter you are asking to pay for the units you use and only the units you use.

How does my water bill work?

All bills come in two sections;

  1. the fresh water that comes from your taps – hot or cold
  2. the sewerage drain off, sometimes referred to as foul water or grey water. It is what goes back into the sewers and is estimated at around 95% of what goes in.

If you have a vacant property for any length of time have a look at the governments help site, Ofwat.gov.uk.

Is a meter right for me?

The average household water bill is at around £400 pa. We don’t love to waste water as it has to be treated and there is an environmental impact that comes with that. So we believe that even with a garden we will save money on a metered service. This decision may not be the right one for you so there are a few sites which allow you to check like a water meter calculator.

After having used the calculator I can see massive savings for us with a meter!

Firstly let’s make sure we are still all on the same page for how to save water!!

Disclaimer – there are affiliate links in here which I may receive a small fee for, without any additional cost to yourselves.

How do I keep my usage low?

Ban the hose

like seriously completely ban it. Not for watering the plants, not for cleaning the car and not for filling the pond! We have two water butts that we managed to buy in the sale from Water Butts Direct.


We don’t even use a watering can that we have bought as we are that frugally minded that we use Plastic Bottle Recycled to a Watering Can.

That is just the zero waste eco warrior inside of me coming out but it does save money by not buying a watering can!

For washing the car use water in a bucket and rinse down with a fresh bucket and sponge.

When you fill the pond with rain water it allows for a wider spectrum of native wildlife to flourish and themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk has a lovely article outlining the reasons why and some fun ideas for getting a small pond started.

Share a bath?

Well this is one of the more popular ideas! We tend to shower and don’t take long as we are always in a rush to leave the house. I do like a bath occasionally though and when I do I make sure I enjoy it to the maximum. I use lots of bath bombs and lots of bubbles. Hopefully this year I will share some ideas for making your own as some of them do still come wrapped in single use plastics! The one shown here is organic and wrapped in paper, and very suitable for a luxury bath!

Turn off the tap!

An obvious sounding one, but when cleaning our teeth we use around 6 litres of water a minute. Now I’m pretty sure I take longer than a minute to brush mine, but only dip the toothbrush under the tap two or three times. What about rinsing under the tap before you wash up? That sounds a good idea.

Are you flushing away money with the water?

For those of us who hate the phrase ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’ perhaps we could look at a toilet cistern block like a
Hippo the Water Saver.These are specifically designed not for the slimline type cistern but for those without a limiter. You can still avoid a few flushes throughout the day if you like too!

Washing up versus a dishwasher!

By using products which are not harmful to the environment like you can reuse your washing up water for the plants! So this also leads on to always using a washing up bowl, you will use less water and it will be immediately transportable. Even if you are just topping up the water butt.

If you use a dishwasher there are savings to be made, but only when you fill it up completely!

Keep a fresh cold drink of water at hand

As simple as that keep a jug filled with tap water in the fridge. You wont need to run the tap to get it cold.

What next?

For us we are going to get a water meter. The calculator that I used shows we can save around £350 every year. So it is a simple yes. We may be able to save even more if we follow our own advice. Eventually we will look to build our own off grid homestead and then we can get super serious about rainwater harvesting!

I would like to leave you all with a link to a small article from Oxford Brookes on the environmental impact of ‘cleaning’ water for human consumption. As you may have a large family and it may not initially seem achievable. So if the financial costs aren’t an incentive perhaps the carbon ones will be?

WE love saving money and the hopefully contributing to saving the planet too. So if we have inspired you at all please do share this and get involved with our other media via our Facebook Page or even our Facebook Group Zero Waste No or Low Spend Ideas and Inspiration.

The main thing is to try and reduce your usage and then decide if you are ready as a household to take that plunge! I would advise it to anyone with more rooms than people living in the house, but also to all those who can be economical with their use.


  1. get a big butt
  2. turn off the tap
  3. shower or get cosy in a bath
  4. think before you flush
  5. wash up to create grey water
  6. chill the tap water ready in the fridge
  7. hand wash your car
  8. get a meter if you are confident that you fit the criteria!