Tips For Reducing Your Utility Bills
Utility bills are items that we all have to deal with, and they can be a huge chore to pay. Not to mention, the more people you have in your home, the higher they get.
Though these bills may seem never ending, there are ways to pay less each month. These tips for reducing your utility bills are sure to save you hundreds every year – you just have to make sure that your entire household is on board!
Turn Off the Lights
This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how much keeping your lights off helps. In fact, the best way to keep your lights off is to not turn them on unless you have to. Use the sunlight during daytime hours, and keep the lights off as long as you can in the evening. Pull apart the blinds and open the curtains to make the most of the gorgeous sunlight. You may even find yourself opening the windows and turning off the air conditioning (gasp!) when it isn’t too hot out.
Another way to keep those lights off is to use candles whenever possible. I know that at first it might feel weird, but make a “thing” of it! Have a few “romantic dinners” with the family every week. They don’t actually have to be romantic, but finding a name for a change in lifestyle definitely makes it more fun. The bottom line though – the less you use your lights, the more power and money you will save.
Get on a Utility Budget
Most electric and gas companies have programs where you can get on a budget throughout the year. This will have you paying approximately the same amount of money each month so that you don’t have to deal with the financial strain of those peaks and lows during the year. Instead of paying $600 in the summer and $150 in the winter – or vice versa – you can more accurately plan for what you will owe.
Talk to your utility companies to find out if a budget will help save you money and start being able to plan for your costs each month.
Cut Down on Water Time
The warm water massaging your back can really cost you at the end of the month. Limit your showers to 15 minutes to cut back on your water bill, electricity, and/or gas. While this might not be a tough change for you, this may be a challenge for the teens in your house. Consider buying a waterproof shower timer so that you can all actually see the minutes ticking by while bathing. You never realize how long your showers are until you see the proof in front of you!
You can also cut back on the number of days that your children – or you – bathe. Little ones don’t need to shower every day – unless they’ve been out making mud pies! – so spend a few more minutes together reading books rather than getting in the bath.
Additionally, don’t prewash your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher (most dishwashers are capable of cleaning almost anything) and turn off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth and scrubbing your hands with soap. You can also set a bucket outside to collect rain in order to water the plants.
Keep Your Freezer and Fridge Full
Did you know that food acts as insulation in your freezer and fridge? When you keep them full, they run less, which means that they use less electricity. The more you keep those cold boxes packed, the less they will run. What does this mean for you other than having more food to choose from for meals? It means that your electric bill will go down.
Don’t Use the Dryer
We tend to forget that the simplicity of life costs us more in the long run. Whenever possible, line or rack dry your clothing. Make a single investment in a nice drying rack and you will save money over time. There are also lots of clothes that you can dry flat, so lay down a few towels and dry all of your sweaters on the ground.
You can actually save up to $.50 per load by not drying your laundry, so consider how many loads you do per day and pull out the calculator. It’s time to go old-school and remember, less is more.
Turn Off Power Strips
Did you know that a huge amount of your electric bill is due to electronics that aren’t even being used? That’s right: refrigerators, toasters, coffee makers, televisions, Blu-ray players, computers, sound systems, cell phones, Alexa/Siri products, and other electronics consume energy when they are plugged in. Whether you are using them or not, they are using your electricity because they are waiting for you to need them. That’s the deal! We plug in what we need and it is available as soon as we flip the switch or call out to our favorite artificial intelligence.
If you want to save on your electric bill, there are a few things to try. First, consider unplugging everything (other than the necessities – don’t unplug your fridge!) and only plug in what you need when you need it.
If you’d rather not deal with that inconvenience, buy a handful of power strips. Plug your computers, laptops, phone chargers, stereo, etc. into them and flip them off when you go to bed at night or when you will be out of the house. When you wake up, turn on the strips that you need to use at the time and flip them off when you leave. Even small changes will make a large difference in your electric bill!
Use Insulated Curtains All Year
You can cut down on energy costs all year long by using insulated curtains or thick blackout curtains. These curtains keep the heat out during the summer and the cold out during the winter. A good portion of heat and cold air are lost through the windows, so the more you can insulate them with a curtain barrier, the more you will save.
Get LED Lights
LED light bulbs are specifically designed to save you more on your utility costs. The makers of LED light bulbs claim that they use up to 90% less energy than incandescent light bulbs do. It’s a tough one for the everyday person to measure, but even if they use 70% less energy, that’s a huge difference.
LED lights can cost a little more upfront compared to incandescent light bulbs, but they will likely save you hundreds in the long run.
Be Smart with Your Thermostat
Whether you are of the thought where you leave the thermostat at one temperature all day long or you reduce the thermostat when you are gone and raise it when you come home, the key is to be smart. There are different schools of thought for why both of these strategies will save you money in the long-run, so do what you think is best.
That said, you’ll want to keep your thermostat at a reasonable temperature (69-73 in the winter and 70-74 in the summer) and adjust your clothing for additional temperature changes. Wearing a tank top and drinking a cold beverage will help to keep you cool in the summer (instead of making your air conditioning 67 degrees) and wearing a sweater and slippers will help you keep toasty in the winter.
Keep up on Your Maintenance
When your appliances and vents get caked up with dirt and debris they have to work harder. Keep up on your cleaning and maintenance so that you are using less energy. Change the filters in your furnace and/or central air conditioning, clean your dryer vent, clean the coils on your fridge, and clean your heater vents to help everything run smoothly and efficiently. If you don’t keep an eye on maintenance, not only will your utility costs go up, but you may end up with costly repair bills.
There are lots of ways to cut down the costs of your utility bills, it’s just a matter of making some small changes here and there. Do what you can and reap the benefits of the savings!