This weekend has been exceptionally chilly around the country and November can be quite a testing time when it comes to budgeting for heating bills.

Many householders pay monthly via direct debit, or put money aside each week or month, but when there's a cold snap no-one likes nasty surprises, so that means we need to be savvy when it comes to saving money.

With Christmas approaching at speed, we need to stretch our pennies to buy gifts for our nearest and dearest so by saving some money on fuel bills will be just what Santa ordered.

Martin Lewis, money saving expert

Money saving expert Martin Lewis, in his Sunday Mirror column, reckons it's actually better to use a timer with a thermostat - meaning it can detect the room temperature and turn the heating on and off accordingly.

He told the Mirror Online: "Using a timer's best, because your thermostat is designed to turn your heating on and off to keep your home at the temperature you set it."

Both the Energy Saving Trust and British Gas agree with Martin's advice - however, for those with a damp problem, some heating engineers say that keeping your radiators on full but with the boiler turned down can help reduce condensation.

Video Loading

Warmer temperatures can stop condensation building up within the walls, which encourages mould and can make properties even colder.

It is possible to switch energy bills using services such as uSwitch , Which? or ComparetheMarket to find a cheaper tariff.

The chill can feel unexpected and it often seems like we just don't know how to cope with it. So what's the best way to deal with cold spells - and not end up with massive heating bills?

Before you have the argument about if it is too soon to turn on the heating and how long it should stay on during the day, read these 10 ways to save money on your energy bills.

1. This one may seem like common sense, and apologies for sounding like everyone's dad, but put a jumper on. A jumper can add anything between 2C and 4C in warmth, depending on thickness, which can save some serious money over the course of the year.

2. Exclude those draughts. Whether it is a draught excluder for your doors, or draught-proofing strips for the windows, get plugging those gaps. A lack of draughts can save you £55 a year on heating bills alone, according to Ovo Energy,and that's not including the money you can save by turning your heating down a degree or two, due to your home being a bit warmer.

3. Get the boiler serviced. Boilers account for a huge proportion of our energy bills, so it makes sense to check it is running efficiently before whacking it on twice a day for the next five months.

Also most boiler break downs happen due to a small but persistent fault, so a service should hopefully help you avoid waking up in a chill in the middle of winter, The Bristol Post reported.

4. Do you really need the heating to be on an hour before you wake up? Twenty minutes should be enough to get the house warm enough before you have to leave the comfort of your bed, and the same goes for the evening.

Most boilers allow you to have different settings for different days, so if the children have after school clubs on Wednesday, or you know you are always home late on a Friday, adjust your heating patterns accordingly. There is no point in heating a house no-one is in.

Video Loading

5. Insulating your loft may mean shelling out the pounds now, but uninsulated lofts allow one quarter of your homes heat to escape. That means for every £4 of your heating bill, £1 of it has evaporated into thin air. If you can stretch to the loft insulation this year, it is definitely recommended.

6. Get reflector panels for your radiators. These sit behind your radiators, and reflect heat back into the room instead of allowing it to escape through an outdoor wall. To maximise your radiators you should also avoid putting large items of furniture in front of them, and make sure they have been bled.

7. Most radiators already come with a thermostatic radiator valve - the knob on the side with the numbers on.

If you don't have them they are well worth investing in as they can be used to regulate heat in individual rooms. Most of us do not need to heat our spare rooms to the same temperature as our bedroom, for example, so turn that radiator down.

8. Get a thick set of curtains. They may make the room darker when closed, but it is winter so this shouldn't really matter. And they do a great job of trapping the heat in to save you money.

9. Get a rug for your hard floors. They may be trendy but hard wood floors allow a lot of heat to escape. A rug can really make the difference.

10. And finally, turn down your room thermostat. While it can be nice to walk into a really warm house when it is cold outside, the reality is you don't actually need your home to be in the mid-20s. Most of us are happy in a home around 18 or 19C. And you can always put that jumper back on.

Remember every degree lowered can save you £65 a year.

Looking for a job? There are thousands available at