My grandma used to say if you mind your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. There are many sayings like this that remind us that the little things can add up in big ways. Here, we are going to review small things to be done to reduce the cost of monthly utilities that can really benefit a budget in a big way.
Not only will these changes help save money (to pay off debt, save for vacation, build an emergency fund, etc.), but they will also help conserve energy and resources. Good on you!
It is amazing what a few degrees on the thermostat will do for the power bill. Many power companies have programs that will actually provide you with a digital thermostat that will allow you to control the settings remotely. Many even allow you to set automatic adjustments according to your schedule; no need to keep the house so warm/cool if no one is there.
In both the summer and winter, these will help to circulate the tempered air and save money on the power bill. Don’t forget to change directions when the seasons change. In summer the blades should rotate counter-clockwise (blows air down) and in the winter they should turn clockwise and on a low speed.
Many electronics are still using energy if they are plugged in, even if they are not turned on. Unplugging things like lamps, coffee makers, computer/printer, and TVs (to name a few) can really keep from using electricity unnecessarily. To make this even easier, you could get a surge protector power strip that has a power switch that will let you kill the electricity to everything with just one flip.
Not doing laundry isn’t really an option, but I have combined several tips in one when tackling this never ending task. For starters, do a full load. Multiple smaller loads use much more energy. Use cold water when possible, too.
When it comes to your dryer, be sure to show it some love. Clean the lint trap after each load and the vent should be cleaned out every 4-6 months for most efficient performance. Lastly, consider adding dryer balls to your loads to help shorten drying time. Of course, air drying clothes skips this all together.
Water (One time)
There are several aspects of water control to consider when talking about controlling utility costs. A leaky faucet can drip about 5 gallons of water a day and a leaky toilet upwards of 200 gallons a day. What a waste! These should be fixed immediately. There are also water-saving faucets available for sinks and shower heads that will limit water flow. Also, consider how hot your water needs to be. Turning down the temp on your water heater by 10 degrees can save you about $30 a year.
Turn it off. Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers. I know it can be tough, especially during the winter when a hot shower can be the best part of the day. But doing these thing consistently will yield results on your bills.
One thing that will keep your heating and cooling costs high is leaks. Gaps around windows and doors lets your air leak out and keeps your systems working harder to maintain your preferred temperature. Small cracks and gaps can be filled with caulking, weather stripping and draft stoppers help for doors. Keep the air you paid to temper.
Doing just one of these things may not seem to produce major results, but all these small things together can really make a difference. Mind your pennies.