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Big Ways to Cut the Utility Bill

Updated on February 20, 2015
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When (or if) you make the decision to have one parent stay at home, you will most likely have to take a serious look at your finances and budget. Cutting out little splurges here and there will add up, but if you really want to make serious changes to your spending, you need to evaluate the heavy hitters. For us, that meant the utility bill.


Now, I’m not going to waste time telling you to turn the lights out when you leave the room. Because honestly, that’s not going to make that big of a difference (I know this from months of trial and error…). If you want to seriously cut your utility bill, you need to make some serious changes.

Here are some big ways to cut your utility bill:

If You Can Live Without It, You Should

We live in an era of automation, so a lot of the time we forget about the things that are constantly running in the background. If you have a device or appliance that is running full-time, ask yourself whether you can live without it. Because if you can, you should disconnect it immediately. Anything that runs full-time will use up an immense amount of energy. We had an extra refrigerator that we used pretty frequently, but when it really came down to it, we knew we could make adjustments to just use one. By disconnecting that one appliance, we cut out utility bill by 25%! That was a big deal for us - and honestly, we soon realized we didn't even need it! Other devices to consider are air filters, fans, computers, and even coffee machines.

By cutting out our extra refrigerator, we cut our utility bill by 25%

Don't Cool an Empty House

When you are home, its tough to skimp on heating and air conditioning if it’s going to make you uncomfortable. But when you’re not home, you’re literally just blowing money out of your vents.

If you’re gone for work, the weekend, or a vacation, turn your heat and air conditioning to the absolute bare minimum. In the winter, you need to be careful that your pipes won’t freeze, so don’t go crazy - many people recommend not going lower than 65. But in the summer you really don’t have any reason to be cooling off the house, so consider just turning the air off while you’re gone.

Insulate

You probably heard this time and again from your parents, but if not I’ll be the first to tell you - “Don’t heat the neighborhood!”

Now, usually this is said when you carelessly leave a window open after turning the heat on, but it's also true if you aren't properly insulated. In fact, it can have the very same effect.

There are lots of pretty simple DIY ways to insulate your house, so don't make the assumption that this is a huge undertaking. Start with the most obvious place to insulate - the attic. This is the place that typically releases most of your heat.

Another common culprit is a crawl space. If your floors feel chilly, then you're probably losing heat through them.

Upgrade Your Windows

Yes, it will cost you to replace the windows, but the amount you save in your utility bill will more than pay for it (and it actually increases the value of your home as well). Windows are usually the biggest culprits when it comes to heat sneaking out of the house.

Duck Brand 281506 Indoor 10-Window Shrink Film Insulator Kit, 62-Inch x 420-Inch
Duck Brand 281506 Indoor 10-Window Shrink Film Insulator Kit, 62-Inch x 420-Inch

If you want to avoid the cost of new windows, consider purchasing extra window insulation, especially if you have windows where you can literally feel a draft. Most are easy to install and can be removed when you don't want them anymore.

 

High-efficiency Appliances

High-efficiency appliances have 1 sole purpose - to cut your energy usage. The problem with these appliances is usually that they are relatively expensive. However, this is where you need to get creative - look into tax credits, rebates, or subsidies. Depending on what state you live in you may be surprised to find that you can get these appliances fairly cheaply.

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Since our weather is hot and humid, we don't use air cond, uae ceiling fan, don't eat outside, eat at home, turn if electrical appliance when not in use

    • GardenHarbor profile image
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      Nikki Schilling 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      That's amazing!! I never really considered that, but it's brilliant...and you still managed to get a huge break :) Thanks for the extra tip!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      These are great ways to save. We actually went beyond and had solar power installed, eliminating a large percentage of the electric bill. The problem is we had a situation where the U. S. government cover 30% with tax breaks and the state cover 50%, The 20% we had to pay for cos about $5,000, so it will take a few years to be=reak even, but then the savings start, and the sun never gets a rate increase from the Public Service Commissioner.

    • GardenHarbor profile image
      Author

      Nikki Schilling 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      It's so true! It's hard to spend the initial money, but in the end you really end up saving.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      For years my husband has told people that upgrading their windows is a must, yet they don't. Covering them with plastic and only do so much.