Save Money on Electricity:
1. Install a smart programmable thermostat like the Nest. It automatically adjusts to your normal preferences, has eco-saving options, and you can turn it on and off with your phone when you go out of town. Plus you can track your savings! The cost of the thermostate DOES pay itself off.
2. If the weather is nice outside, turn OFF your thermostat! Open doors & windows. If you need better air flow run a small fan in the house. We’ll turn ours off for weeks at a time when the weather is nice! If it starts getting too stuffy or warm we move the fan around by the doors & run it for a while. However, make sure you turn your thermostat on early enough in the evening if you need to run it so it isn’t working twice as hard to get back to the in house temp.
3. Unplug unused appliances. Did you know that even if your appliances are turned OFF they are still drawing an electric charge? Yep- you are still paying for a TV that’s turned off. How about that computer? Especially unplug when you’re headed out of town!
4. Replace your old light bulbs with new energy saving bulbs!
5. Help your freezer use less energy- keep it full! If you can’t afford to keep it stocked with food put some empty boxes & containers in there. Less air flow to keep the freezer cold = less electricity = less $$ spent!
6. Only wash laundry/dishes if you have a full load to run. Less loads to wash = less electricity = less $$!
7. Do all your laundry in one day – if you have to run the dryer run it back to back so that it stays hot instead of needing to re-heat up between loads!
8. Open the blinds and turn off the lights! Consider a family dinner by candlelight or an outdoor picnic once a week too!
9. Hang your clothes outside to dry. Install a clothesline outside & hang your wet laundry!
10. Did you know that it’s cheaper to do your laundry & dishes at night than it is during the day? The middle of the day is peak hours for electricity usage- so try doing your chores at night instead! Call your electric company to see if they have a price difference depending on the time of day!
11. In the winter open all your blinds during the day, the sunlight will help warm up the house.
12. Close off doors/vents in the house to rooms you don’t use! No need to cool/heat rooms you won’t be in!
13. Use electric heaters to save money on your gas bill. It’s FAR cheaper to use a few well placed electric heaters than it is to heat the entire house with gas – this one step alone has saved us a tremendous bundle each year!
Save Money on Water:
1. Install low flow aerators in your faucets and shower heads.
2. Don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth if you don’t need it! Same for the shower.
3. Don’t fill up the kids bathtubs as full. Trust me – it’ll be less mess and they won’t even realize it!
4. Shower instead of taking a bath – you’ll use far less water.
5. Rinse your fruits/veggies over a pot of water. Then use that pot of water to water your garden.
6. Don’t use running water to quick thaw your frozen foods. Put them in the fridge the day or 2 before you need them or fill up one pot of hot water and let your frozen foods soak in it for twenty minutes.
7. Wash your car after it rains. Park your car outside during the rain, then use soap & rinse! (or if you’re like us – just don’t wash your car at all!)
8. Cover wading & swimming pools so that you don’t need to add as much water later.
9. Going on vacation? Completely turn off the water supply to your house! You won’t have to worry about wasting water or having accidental leaks. (Trust me on this one- we went on vacation for a week and got back to a $300 water bill!)
10. If you water a garden or plants consider creating a rain water collection system.
Save Money on Landline/Internet/Cable/TV:
I lumped all of these together because they can typically be billed at the same time or discounts can co-exist with the other. This is one area where doing your homework can save you a bundle – and it can vary wildly from year to year! We have never paid for cable but did get it free for a couple of years because it was a “free bonus” in a special promotion (and it was cheaper than the standard bill!). Sometimes we’ve gotten our internet bill CHEAPER simply because we added a landline on to it – weird right!? Make sure you ask what the prices of ALL of their packages and promotions are and call around to several companies to compare.
Don’t forget to compare prices to things like adding on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. (this is what we do)
Save on Cell Phones:
Ahhhh the age of smart phones, iPhones, and all sorts of other “must have” technology. We didn’t have cell phones for years because we couldn’t afford it but now I feel like I couldn’t go back to not having a cell phone! It’s convenient! Of course always shop around for the best price but consider alternatives too. Pay as you go phones, Pay by month phones, etc. are other options if you really need to have a cell phone on hand but can’t swing the cost of a regular contract. Also, consider buying your phones second hand – just make sure that the carrier you will be going with accepts that type of phone!
***Paying Ahead TIP: One way we help to budget for our utility bills is that we pay a flat amount every month- by our choice. Say your water bill runs about $15, choose to pay $20 every month. Every month you’ll carry a credit, and even though your bill may only be like $2 after your credit, pay $20 anyways. That way if you are having a tight month on your bills- you’ll be able to skip a month of payments because of the credit. Generally in the summer we do not have any extra income, so after paying $20 a month the rest of the year, I will not have to pay any money during the summer months for my water bill. This especially comes in handy if you have LP gas.***