When thinking about how much you spend on an annual basis on utilities, are you shocked? Or perhaps you just think this is the norm. In reality you can easily cut 5-10% off your utility bills, and use the savings for something much more fun.
This savings doesn’t come without some minor sacrifices though. Your spouse may have to give up their 45 minute hot showers, and you can’t just plop down in front of the fireplace and read all afternoon. You will probably want to have a few extra sweaters and blankets on hand for the winter, and a fan or two for the summer months.
Here are some ways that you can cut down on your utility bills:
- Programmable thermostat – this is one of the best ways to cut back on your heating bill. Today’s programmable thermostats are inexpensive and easy to use.
- Cut back – now that you have your programmable thermostat in place, be merciless. Whatever you normally let your house warm up to, cut that by about 1 degree per week for 3 weeks. You will hardly know the difference.
- Turn it off – during the day, drop the heat down another 3-5 degrees when no one is home, and consider doing the same at night. Personally, we turn the heat off at night and our kids have oil heaters in their rooms to keep them warm.
- Be heat specific – if you have an office or other room where you spend most of your day, consider a space heater to keep the area warm. Why heat the whole house when you don’t have to?
- Turn it down – consider turning your hot water heater down by one or two degrees
- Cover up – if you have any single-pane windows in your home, cover them with plastic over the winter to keep the heat in and the cold out.
- Find the cracks – our front door always had a heck of a draught coming in over the winter, so we bought new weather-stripping. Now we are as cozy as ever, and spending much less to keep the house warm. Find all those places where cold seeps in and take care of them.
- Close up shop – if there are rooms you rarely use, close the registers to these rooms and keep the doors closed. You shouldn’t be wasting heat on places you rarely go.
- Insulate – one of the main reasons why our utility bills are so high is that heat is escaping our home. If you own an older home you may actually save money by putting in more insulation.
- Cozy up to cold – use cold water wherever possible, like for washing your clothes, and turn off the heater in your dishwasher and let your dishes air dry. Get a clothesline for the summer and reduce your dryer usage.
Even if you only take on a few of these suggestions you can save every month on your utility bills. And don’t forget that the same thing applies in the summer – try to cut back on your air conditioning usage and see the savings roll in.
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