If you are like the me, you are always looking for ways to save money in your budget. One area of your budget that you've probably overlooked is in the cost of your utility bills, because most people believe them to be “fixed” costs. While there are some fixed costs in your monthly budget, your utility bills aren't one of them. Utility bills can be reduced by employing a few simple strategies.
Turn it Off and Unplug it if You Aren’t Using it!
This seems rather obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people leave small kitchen appliances plugged in at all times. It only takes a moment to plug them back in when you are ready to use them, and the savings from unplugging does add up. Another quick fix is to shut your computer down and make sure any unnecessary lights are turned off before you go to bed each night.
While you’re thinking about conservation, consider also how much water you could be wasting. Changing your water usage habits could generate additional savings on both your water bill and your energy bill. How do you accomplish this? Turn the water off while brushing your teeth or shaving, and install low flow faucets or restrictors. Did you know you can install an inexpensive shower timer to limit the amount of time your teenager spends under the shower head? I should know, my parents used this one on me back in the day!
Turn Down Your Water Heater
Use caution here with this tip. OSHA states water heaters set below 140 degrees Fahrenheit encourage growth of Legionnaire’s Disease Bacteria and other microorganisms. However, your water doesn’t need to be scalding to do the job, either. Keep it a little above the minimum for maximum savings on your electric bill of between $2.00 and $8.00 per month.
Turn Down Your Thermostat
You can save as much as 3% off your heating bill for every degree you turn your thermostat down – or up for cooling. Turning the setting down before you go to work and while you sleep is like having free money. However, if you don’t want to have to turn it up or down manually several times a day, you could also install a programmable thermostat. You can purchase one for as little as $30.00 at any home improvement store, and the savings and convenience quickly makes it worth the purchase. These days you can also purchase "smart" thermostats that you can control with your smartphone too. I might have to install one of those myself! 🙂
Do a thorough home inspection and make note of any repairs needed. You may be losing money down the drains with leaky faucets, or out the doors or windows from areas that need weather stripping, caulking, or insulation. Fixing these problem areas is cheap and easy, and you can generate a monthly savings of anywhere from 5% up to 40% on your utility bills.
Change your furnace filters regularly. If you have a large house and pets, you might need to change it once a month. If not, maybe every other month will do. But setting up a schedule based on how quickly it gets dirty is a good idea. Changing the filters will not only result in cleaner air in your home, but it will improve your furnace's efficiency. The savings just from changing your filters could be anywhere from 5 to 15% on your bill.
These are only a few of the ways you could be saving on your utility bills each month. With a little thought, you can probably come up with other ideas that would reduce your utility bills even further. Pick a couple and give them a try. You have little to lose, and you could gain a lot.
Have you used any of these methods to save on your utility bills?