Hey guys! I’m super excited to be back posting today with the second post in our how to stretch the family budget series with Pick Up the Values! Have you signed up for your awesome coupons yet?! If not, go do it right now!
Today, we are talking about lowering those utility bills! For the longest time, utility bills seemed like one of those things that you just had to pay, and there was really no way around it. Those types of things are hard, because where I live you literally could not survive without air conditioning, and we all use electricity in a million ways… However, over time and with a bit of research I’ve put together a list of easy ways that you CAN reduce your utility costs. While all of these options may not work for you, pick the ones that do, and try your hardest to remember them. It may not make your bill disappear (I wish!) but if you really work to implement these things it will make a significant impact.
You ready for this?
10 Easy Ways to Save Money on Utilities:
1) Avoid direct sunlight through your windows. I love natural light. In fact, I basically never turn any lights on in my house except for like one light at a time during a two hour period at night. That being said, in the hot summer months I try to avoid the harsh sunlight coming directly through the windows. It seems like a small thing, but just having your blinds tilted up slightly will avoid heating your house unnecessarily and still let in plenty of light.
2) Turn the lights off, unplug things, use “sleep modes”. This is the no-brainer, but so many people don’t do it. Anything plugged into an outlet sucks electricity whether it’s in use or not. An easy one for me is chargers. We have a “charging station” which is basically a tray with a bunch of cords and chargers on it. Things are only allowed to be plugged in if they are being charged at that time. It’s amazing how many devices one household can have and even this little effort can make a difference.
3) Limit oven use. Unfortunately for people like my husband who think ovens cook everything better, the oven is one of the worst appliances when it comes to heat efficiency. Using your oven (especially in the summer months) not only uses gas, but it heats up your whole house and then the air conditioner has to work overtime to cool things back down and this is not a cheap process. Microwaves and toaster ovens are way more efficient, or you could use our personal favorite method, the grill!
4) Switch out door bottoms and weatherstripping as needed. Out of everything we’ve tried to cut back on cooling costs, this has saved us the most money! Your air conditioner can only cool your house effectively if your doors and windows are keeping air in. The worse your seals are, the more expensive it will be to heat your house. How do you know if your seals need switching? A few ways you can easily tell is if you can see light of day through any of your cracks, if you get a lot of bugs in through a certain door or window, if your seals pull down or stick out at all, or if your seals are simply really old. Switching them out is as easy as 1,2,3 and new door bottoms and stripping is super cheap at places like Home Depot or Lowes!
5) Fill up a plastic bottle with water and stick it in your toilet tank (like this). Your toilet will flush just fine with less water, but you’ll conserve a lot and save money on your bill every month!
6) Hang dry your clothes. The dryer is another appliance that really sucks energy. I do this, but only to an extent. I don’t hang dry small things (underwear, socks, kids clothing) but I do hang dry basically all of Bryce and I’s clothes. Not only does this save on energy, it also preserves the lifetime of your clothing. Things don’t shrink, stretch weird, or get unnecessary wear. Invest in a clothing rack one time, and then get pumped to start saving money.
7) Take care of the systems you have. Your air conditioners should be serviced every year. Also, air filters need to be switched out about every two months (depending on what kind of filters you have) as well. I know it’s not fun to spend money on those things, but if your filters aren’t effective then your bill is going to skyrocket, or worse, your air conditioner will break on the hottest day of the year and you will be sol.
8) Make sure your fridge and freezer temperatures are set correctly. Fridge temp should be set between 35 & 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezer temp should be set between 0 and 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower than this is wasting you money. Also, freezers and fridges that are full conserve energy because it takes less time to cool the space. Also, frozen objects clumped together work to keep each other cool.
9) Make sure your water heaters temperature is also set correctly. Most water heaters are set higher than is necessary. This is another one that I believe has made a significant impact on our bill. If your heater is set at 150 degrees, turn it down to 120 or 130 and try it out for a week to see if you even notice a difference. If you don’t then leave it there. Water heating is a significant chunk of the utility bill and a place where you can make a big impact.
10) Evaluate what you really need. Is that guest room TV really necessary? What about that second fridge in the garage? If you really are really trying to buckle down and save where you can, wash your dishes by hand for a month. Try things and compare notes and see what works. Saving $15.00 a month on utility bills may seem like nothing, but that’s $180 a year and $900 in five years. Plus, you could save $30 or $50 a month, and then the money really adds up. Little changes in lifestyle can make a big difference.
Extra special thanks to Pick Up the Values for sponsoring this post, if you haven’t already, make sure you hop over to their website because there are some majorly awesome coupons RIGHT NOW! Also, thank you all for reading and supporting our sponsors, you really are the best.
Find the first post in our Stretching the Family Budget series here.