- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
How To Save Money On Utilities
“The weather outside is frightful.” Yes, winter is here, and with winter comes increased utility bills. For some people, the utilities double and even triple during the winter months, and suddenly that well-designed household budget is not working for you quite as well as it did in September.
For those who live in the Southern climates, summer could be the time of year when the utilities rise, what with the air-conditioners cranked up and breathing relief into the home.
Wherever you live, there are ways to save money on utilities. It may be impossible to live without the electric heat in Buffalo, New York, or without the air-conditioning in Phoenix, Arizona, but it is still possible to lower your utility bill by implementing some of the following tips.
Turn off Electrical Items at Night
Unplug un-necessary electrical items at night. For seven hours, while you sleep, save energy by shutting down the current to the computer, microwave, and any other money-sucking items you don’t need. Simplify this job by getting power strips so you only have to turn off a couple switches.
Get in a habit of doing this each night and you will see a noticeable drop in the use of electricity.
Quit Using the Dishwasher
I know, this is blasphemy for the modern dweller, but believe it or not, our ancestors managed quite nicely without the use of a machine to clean their dishes. Get a dish tub, fill it with soapy water, and wash by hand. Stack the dishes in the other sink, and then when you are all done washing, rinse them all at the same time. Hand dry and you are done.
This writer does dishes by hand every single day. It is one of my household chores. Dinner dishes take me ten minutes, and that ten minutes is worth it to me because of the money I know I’m saving.
Let Nature Do Its Thing
Plant deciduous trees on the southern side of your home. During the summer, the leaves will provide shade for your home, keeping it cooler; during the winter, the trees will provide a windbreak that will keep your home warmer. If your prevailing wind is from the north, especially during the winter, then plant trees to the north side as well. You can also plant shrubs along the side of the house. If you plant them a foot or so away from the foundation, they will trap warm air against the home, cutting down on the amount of cold air that reaches inside the house.
Use Nightlights Throughout the House
Out of a dead sleep you wake up at three a.m. and have to go to the bathroom. If you have nightlights, there is no reason to turn the lights on during your little trip.
In fact, we are in love with our lights in modern society, and it is all such a waste of energy. Turn the lights off during the day and leave them off. Use motion sensor outdoor lights that will only come on when someone approaches them. Leaving a porch light on is like tossing your money out of a moving car or, if you prefer, flushing it down the toilet.
Use a Clothes Line or Clothes Drying Rack
There are parts of the United States where there is no reason to use a clothes dryer for a good nine months, if not longer. The only reason people use them is because they are convenient. They are also huge users of energy.
Believe it or not….again….there was a time, not so long ago, when people did not own a clothes dryer. They hung their laundry on the clothes line, and took it down later in the afternoon, and everything smelled divine. Is there anything greater than the smell and feel of clean sheets that have dried outside? You all know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
This really goes without saying, doesn’t it? Do you really need to be told to insulate your water pipes, or caulk around the windows, or put plastic up on the windows during the winter? Do you really need me to remind you to do that?
Basic science lesson: warm air rises! Make sure your upstairs and attic have adequate insulation, or you will be making the critters happy outdoors as you heat the neighborhood.
Save money shopping
- Frugal Tips For Grocery Shopping
The battle line are drawn. It is you against the giant retailer. Read these suggestions if you are interested in saving money on your grocery bill.
Park in the Street or the Driveway
It is all about the use of energy and the cost of energy. If you were to park in the driveway instead of the garage, you wouldn’t use the energy to open and close that automatic garage door. Yes, it is a little thing, but little things add up over time, and eventually the savings to your pocketbook will be large rather than small.
ELIMINATE THE LAND LINE
In today’s world, I’m not sure why anyone would have a land line, unless they are of the minority that does not have a cell phone. This writer did not have a cell phone until three years ago, and now there is just no reason to have a land line. Why pay for both? I am as old-fashioned as anyone you are likely to meet, but I refuse to pay twice for a same service, even though I once loved land lines.
Is your home energy efficient?
Fill up That Freezer
Your freezer uses less power (energy) when it is full. Even if you don’t have enough food to fill it, you can fill it with jugs of water or whatever else you have at hand.
The same can be said about the toilet bowl. Put a solid object in the toilet bowl and you will use less water every time you flush.
Quit Using Hot Water to Wash Clothes
Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I used hot water in the washing machine. I know, this is a sacrilege to some people, but hot water uses energy, and that means I’m spending more money, and I don’t like spending more money. My clothes are clean using cold water; they may not pass the test if inspected by my grandmother, but she died fifty years ago so I really don’t have to worry about that now.
How To Make A Rainbarrel
Get a Rainbarrel
If you are a gardener then you really need to install a rainbarrel outside to catch the spring and summer rains. Why pay for water when nature is providing it for you?
This is a no-brainer and I’m amazed more gardeners don’t use these. They are very easy to install; in fact, if you glance to the right you can watch a video showing you how to do it. You can pick up a barrel on ebay for around $10, and it won’t take you long to make up that ten dollars in savings on your water bill.
Save during the holidays
- Frugal Christmas Ideas: Living Simple
Christmas does not have to be a season for going into debt! Living Simple ideas like these will bring you warmth and enjoyment without breaking your personal bank.
More to Come
Trust me, I’ve got a million of these suggestions. Take what you want and leave the rest, but I promise you, they will all save you money, and that is what frugality is all about.
Stay tuned for the next installment in frugal living, and keep your eyes peeled for a frugal living calendar, coming soon! On it you will find helpful suggestions for the entire year.
If you are at all concerned about the economy, or if you would just like to learn how to live with less, then these frugal tips will help you. They have changed this writer’s life and they can do the same for you. The key is to be willing to change!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)