When I was married, I obviously thought that money grew on trees. It wasn’t that I had much money; I just spent it carelessly. I took for granted that I’d always have extra money coming in if I were to ever get in a bind. In hind sight, I should have been much more money conscious. I nearly had a heart attack when my first round of monthly bills came in the mail. I knew immediately that the best strategy was to lower the largest bill…my utility bill.
After only a month of changes, I was able to cut my utility bill in half. On the energy report that my electric company sends out, I’m now almost at energy-efficient status. Yay, me! Why hadn’t I done this before?
Here are seven ways to lower your utility bill…
1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
One of my awesome friends gifted me with a programmable thermostat when I separated. Best gift ever! I am able to program my thermostat to a more energy efficient temperature before I wake in the mornings and when I’m gone. I’ve easily gotten used to a higher temperature in the summer and a lower temp in the winter. I think it’s really cool, too, that I can control the thermostat from my recliner with the use of an app on my phone.
2. Install Timers
Using timers is a very simple way to lower your utility bill. First, I installed a water heater timer. No longer do I have to run my water heater constantly. Now, it only runs for a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours at night. To keep the water hot longer, I bought an inexpensive water heater blanket to insulate it. I was worried about cold showers, but I’ve had no problem at all…and I am the queen of long showers.
I also bought a couple of cheap timers for my lamps. If I get home after dark, I don’t have to fumble to turn on lights. Also, as a single girl, a few lights make me feel more secure. Not having to remember to turn them off is very convenient!
I’ve had a timer on my pool pump since the pool was installed, but I’ve never used it. This year, I put my timer to good use. I limited the amount of time my pool pump ran. I even ran the pump on low the entire summer. While this probably wouldn’t be recommended by a pool professional, it worked fine for me. We just kept an eye to make sure the chemicals were balanced.
3. Purchased Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
I’ve changed over all of the bulbs in my lamps and most of my overhead bulbs to LED lights. The LEDs are more energy efficient and they last for years, which is more convenient. The only bulbs I haven’t replaced are the ones in the chandeliers. Hopefully, they will make prettier bulbs soon. I just can’t bring myself do the half-white bulbs. At least, not yet.
4. Reduced Outside Lighting
I have outside accent lighting on the front of my home. It makes me feel secure when I’m home alone. Rather than having them on from dusk to dawn, I’ve set the timer so that they are on only for a few hours. For my other outside lighting, I use motion-activated lighting.
5. Limit Washing Machine Use
Instead of running several small loads, I only wash clothes when I have a full load. For myself, I usually wash one gigantic load a week. Unless I really need it, I usually wash in tap water, instead of hot. Warning….you may need to buy more underwear and towels. And, by the way, only wash clothes during the off-peak hours.
6. Limit Dishwasher Use
When I was married, I’d run my dishwasher nearly every day. Now, I place all my utensils, glasses, and greasy items in the dishwater. I wash my plates and bowls by hand, because they are quick and easy to wash. So far, I’ve been able to run my dishwasher only once or twice a week. I use the energy efficient setting on my dishwasher, as well as the air-dry feature. Don’t skimp on the quality of the detergent. A good detergent makes your glasses sparkle. I learned the hard way that not all detergent is the same. Once again, run your dishwasher during the off-peak hours.
7. Unplug Appliances On Standby
I’ve read that plugged-in appliances use more energy on standby than you’d think. I now unplug all chargers, my laptop, and my printer. I even unplug the upstairs television and speakers when I’m not actively using them. It’s not that much of a pain. It only takes a second to plug and unplug.
As a single girl, I’m still discovering that I have a lot to learn. There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment from lowering a bill! Making those seven changes brought out the thrifty diva side that I never knew existed. The more money I can save on utilities, the more I have to spend on clothes and shoes. Those are the fun things on which to spend money!
I’d love for you to share your tips for saving on your utility bill !