Premium Bond Win, plus my New Gadget

Just because there’s crap going on at work, I don’t want to just blog about doom and gloom so here’s something on a lighter note.

I recently read that it was going to get even harder to win in the Premium Bonds – the odds of winning any prize were being reduced from 26,000:1 to 30,000:1.

However, I received what is now a ‘regular’ email from NS & I – does 3 wins in 6 months count as ‘regular’?


Ok, so it was just another £25 win, but it’s not bad for what I consider as my ‘cash under the mattress’.

As I’ve mentioned before, premium bonds are rubbish investments, so just as well I don’t consider them as investments!

As before, I think I’ll chuck the winnings at my recently depleted emergency fund.

Here’s hoping for some more (and bigger) wins!

Shiny New Gadget

I also got myself a new ‘gadget’ recently.

It was a gadget which I didn’t really need, or even something I particularly wanted.

Still, the main thing was that it was completely free!

Yes, I got myself a smart meter fitted and my new gadget is the little monitor that came along with it.

For those who don’t know, a smart meter is a meter which can digitally send meter readings to your energy supplier. I’ve only had this fitted for my electricity and it will apparently ensure more accurate energy bills and the monitor should help me understand my energy usage better.

It shows you how much electricity you are using (either spend or wattage), compare different days, how much you have spent/used in the past etc.

With just my fridges, fridge freezer, clock radio plugged in and nothing else switched on, it appears that I spend £0.02 an hour.


My ‘standing’ electricity spend per hour

Put the kettle on for a brew and this goes up to £0.45 an hour!


Sticking the kettle on pushes up the spend by quite a bit!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that to save money I’m going to stop putting the kettle on, stop using the hair dryer or washing machine, but I will think twice about taking my time when ironing (including leaving the iron plugged in to go to make a cuppa….).  I also have a habit of pre-heating the fan oven and then forgetting about it, so the oven ends up being on a lot longer than it needs to be.

Switching the lights on in the kitchen also causes a spike, which means that I’ll need to make sure that I replace the old light bulbs with more efficient LED ones.

Does anyone else make use of these kinds of gadgets?

14 thoughts on “Premium Bond Win, plus my New Gadget

  1. We’re with OVO for gas and electric and had one of their smart meters fitted recently. With a dual fuel charge, we’ve already seen the benefit of using the washing machine and dishwasher only between the hours of 0100 – 0800 (half price). No, we don’t get up at 0100! But we are up at 0600 and have created laminated cards to remind us to switch them on as soon as we’re up. We’ve also seen how much power our kettle is using when on the high-power setting on the induction hob – shocking. Every little helps!

    • Hi Paul
      Yes, every little helps. I’m on the cheapest gas tariff at the moment in my area but when the contract is up, I’ll be looking to see if I can save more with having dual fuel with the same supplier.

  2. We have one at our home which measures both the gas and electricity. Luckily we have a new house so we dont lose to much on heating. But we apparently spend it little less than the people around us on gas, but more on electricity.

    Guess i have to turn off the computer once in a while..

  3. Hi Weenie,

    Congrats on the PB win! I actually had a win this month as well – as you say they arent really an investment but a good place to park some cash – I use it as its tax free income if I get anything from them, and use it as the majority of my emergency fund (1 month cash that I can get at in a matter of days, the rest in PBs – I’ve never had to withdraw from them so no idea how long it takes!)

    When we moved we had a Smart Meter, although I dont think its quite as fancy as yours, but it flags up when you are over budget on both Gas and Electricity but not the immediate link you have! I have to say the novelty has worn off and it didnt change our habits, but then we are pretty careful on our usage anyway, so we dont use that much!

    Keep up the good wins with the PBs 🙂
    London Rob

    • Cheers LB and congrats on your win too!

      Yes, I also see the cash as ultimately emergency money – the PBs would get cashed in before I was forced to sell any shares/funds.

      It’s been a while since I cashed any in but I recall it was a fairly quick turnaround – probably easier now that it’s all managed online, although their website isn’t the best.

      The immediate link to the smart meter is pretty handy, I can go around switching things off if it looks higher than normal!

  4. If you want to get a proper feel for energy usage, i.e. what watts mean, then take up cycling. Cycling is all about power output, or power output per kg of body mass if you cycle in the hills. You quickly get a very visceral understanding of what it takes to power a 2kW kettle. You never use energy in quite the same way again. If you like toast then check this out..

    • Thanks very much for the youtube link – very interesting to see the physical output required, incredible, and it will make me think next time I’m having toast or putting the kettle on. It was exhausting just watching Robert (and mind-boggling that his thigh is thicker than my waist…)

  5. Nice win weenie!

    We have a smart meter as well but pretty sure it hasn’t got the “usage now” mode which is really useful! I will go and have another look though in case I’ve missed that, as without that it’s a pretty boring gadget, although at least it means you don’t have to send through readings any more! 🙂


    • Cheers TFS.
      I only found the ‘usage now’ option by playing around with the gadget – it wan’t really advertised in the instructions, so you may have it on yours.
      Yep, no need to send through readings is a bonus, although it was always a bugbear of mine as my meter is outside of my house so it wasn’t like I ever needed to be at home for them to come round to read it – they just couldn’t be bothered!

      • Cheers for the headsup, I found it!

        Much more useful as you can go around switching things on and off and seeing what the difference is!

        This is awesome! Definitely going to do some geeky stuff now when I get a chance and map out the biggest juice suckers in our house 🙂

  6. Nice. We have had the smart meter installed, but no funny/smart output method just yet to evaluate our electricity use. Still, it’s nice to have the option.

  7. Hey Weenie,

    That’s really cool being able to see your usage real time so you can work out what the big energy zappers are. Once we’re more settled in the new house and now that we have broadband up and running we’re planning on getting a NEST thermostat and smoke alarms. I think this allows you to check your usage online. I’ve not had one before but my other half used to have one and it seemed pretty impressive.

    Well done on another premium bond win – you’re on a roll!


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