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How To Save Money On Utilities

Updated on October 2, 2013

OVERVIEW

“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.

Pennies add up
Pennies add up | Source

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.

Prepare your home before winter drains your pocketbook
Prepare your home before winter drains your pocketbook | Source

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.

Saving money with nature
Saving money with nature | Source

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?

WEATHERPROOF

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.

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?

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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.

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)

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Love the ideas..Some people will have to do a lot of rethinking...including me. however where there is a will there is always a way. I will probably take up some of these ideas. The dishwasher..you mean my filing cabinet don't you?? Great hub and sharing around...

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Great suggestions. I already don't use a dishwasher, because I don't have one, lol!! But the toilet bowl one would be great if I didn't have a small child named Lily who thinks the toilet bowl is here own personal water tank to wash and bathe her hands in!! Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. But awesome article and have voted up all and shared all over as always!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol....LOL....yes, your filing cabinet. Love it! Thank you for my morning visit!

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 4 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Great Tips Billy, a few I already use, but a few new ones I'll have to try. Sorry though, I must wash my clothes in Hot water. :) Seriously though, Thank you for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, in my entire life I have never heard of a child doing that. You have a rare flower in that child. LOL Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jlava, so nice to see you! That's okay; if you are doing some of these then you are ahead of the game. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for sharing these neat ways to save, Bill. I will give them a shot and see if it helps my cost of living. Keep sending these great ideas my friend. whonu

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Whonu, I will indeed keep sending them. I'm glad if they help in some way. Thank you my friend!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Bill. I know what you mean about the smell of clean sheets dried on the clothes line. Did you know, a lot of neighborhoods don't allow clothesline (like mine)? But next year I'm going to use one of those fold up drying racks on my patio. Not to mention, the dryer heats up my house, causing the A.C. to run more in the summer. On another note, we do have a landline and cell phones. The reason-being, concerns of brain cancer and talking on the cell phone for long periods of time. You've got some great tips. I look forward to reading more.

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Really fantastic, practical tips. Sure, some might be a little tough for the average, modern, American (US) consumer to swallow, but I think that's good! Conveniences come at a cost, both financial and ecologically.

      Thanks for sharing! I also love the little glimpse we get into your life. :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Great suggestions, Bill, and will definitely focus on that refrigerator there! (gives me more impetus to cook! LOL!) Thanks for sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ktrapp, I did not know some neighborhoods did not allow clotheslines.....I guess I can see it in exclusive ones, or gated communities.....although it still seems weird to me. Anyway, thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      rmcleve, I have no doubt that some are hard for the modern consumer. Sigh! What in the world have we become? I'll be there are some people who have never smelled clothes that dried on a clothesline, and that seems sad to me. Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, I doubt you need much impetus to cook. :) Thank you my friend and have a great evening/afternoon/morning....whatever it is there. :)

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I lived without a dishwasher for years, but finally had to get one. Sheesh, it's amazing the number of dishes that get dirty in this house with only two people, two dogs and three cats.

      Tried hanging laundry out on the line, but we live in pollen central Tx and every allergen in the book is out there. Tried to convince Bob to wash in cold water, but he is a true stubborn as all get out Taurus. Pisses me off.

      Land lines - I absolutely hate them. We live in the sticks and I've tried every company there is to try to get high speed internet without a land line. No one will do it. We have to have DSL which only comes with a land line apparently. You do not know how much I hate my land line. Nothing but telemarketers call it.

      Other than that, I have implemented all of these suggestions and more. I rarely drive to town now. Maybe once per week. Saves on car insurance, gas and wear and tear on the car.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      I think the reason that clotheslines are against homeowner association rules in some communities that are neither "exclusive" or gated is because the houses are lined up one after the other where everyone can see their neighbors' backyards. But I'm going to use the portable clothes drying rack on my patio since I can take it in and out. Strange world we live in, I know.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Great tips as always! One thing many have forgotten is that the sun is also a natural "bleacher", taking stains out of sheets and clothing. I used to hang my cloth diapers outside and was amazed. Why do we buy nasty chlorine bleach?

      We added a land line over a year ago because it didn't add anything to our internet bill at all. Then we got tracfones that we use only for texting. We go through 10 dollars worth of minutes every 30 to 45 days or so. Aren't you impressed, my frugal friend? :D OH, and we don't need any climate control this time of year--we laughed the other day because we were actually excited to get the power bill! LOL But the little one wants Christmas lights on ALL THE TIME, so that's not as impressive.

      Love ya, Pops.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I am laughing too hard to respond...love ya, Pops! I didn't even realize the adoption papers had been finalized. Don't I get to try you out for a week and find out if you are house-broken??? LOL I suppose you want to be in the will immediately, too. Sheez, spoiled rotten kid!!!!

      I am proud of you, and I had forgotten the bleaching properties of the sun....duh!

      Thank you Liz! You gave me my laugh for the morning.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ktrapp, strange world indeed. :) Thank you!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great tips here. For some reason, I thought it was best to leave the computer on at night, but your suggestion here and other sources is true, so will turn it off starting tonight.

      We do a lot drying with a clothes rack in the summer, but Oregon doesn't cooperate all year. No landline for years, and nightlights are great. More suggestions are always good.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Great tips Bill, The rain barrel idea is a winner and easy to do!

      Mark

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I don't have a dishwasher or a washer-dryer setup. I will unplug the microwave, though. Some days, I don't use it at all.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Austin, we just recently got DSL without a landline, but it's been a long time coming. We live in the city and it was still a problem. Evidently technology is slow coming to some areas of the U.S.....as for pollen...that would definitely be a problem....and as for Taurus people....they can be pissers. :) thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, that computer issue has been floating around for years. The latest I read is that it is good to turn it off, but by next week that will probably change again. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, the barrels are so easy to do, I simply don't understand why every gardener doesn't have one. Thanks, buddy, and I hope you are well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I admit, we use the microwave a great deal, but most night we remember to unplug it. As for dishwashers, they annoy me and are more trouble than they are worth. :) In my opinion of course. Thanks Deb!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      This is yet one of your best. The Power company will feel this slap in the face. We need technology, but we cannot throw our money down the toilet. Not going to take a bath down the river, or cook in my back yard, using wood debris from Sandy. That would be an extreme measure! I agree with Mark, the rain barrel idea, was used way before pumps and motors were invented. Thanks my friend!

    • mrpip profile image

      mrpip 4 years ago

      Thanks for all the great ideas!!!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Pal, you are a frugal gourmet. Your hubs on frugal living are like going to a gourmet buffet and trying to decide what you want to try next. Power strips! Why hadn't I thought of this? It's so practical, cheap, and a simple solution to turning off multiple appliances at night. So yes, I admit, I get lazy sometimes because there are just too many things to turn off. You can bet I'll have power strips by the end of the week. :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joseph! Our Christmas gift this year will be a chain saw....it will help us gather firewood but it will also help neighbors when the wind storms knock down more trees this winter. I'm all about frugal, buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mrpip, you are welcome, and thank you for the following.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, in truth, I went years without them until the light bulb went off overhead one day and I thought DUH! What the hell have I been doing all this time? LOL I'm not always a quick learner, but I do eventually learn. :) Thanks buddy, and hugs to you!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Wow, Bill, even more great ideas. Just wqhen I think I've got it covered, you give me even more! Thank you! up and useful!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, I just keep tossing them out there, like noodles against the wall. See what sticks, what you can use, and leave the rest. :) Thank you my friend!

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Great ideas Bill! We have implemented several, but I still found some on here that I didn't think of.....We got rid of our land line last year and went with a magic jack. Only $19.99 a year for unlimited long distance, as long as you have internet connection. Works for me! I hadn't thought about unplugging the appliances that aren't in use during the day. I guess I figured since I didn't have the tv turned on, that it wasn't using energy...but I guess I was assuming wrong! Thanks for the tips and I look forward to learning more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Melissa, it's a pleasure having you stop by again. Your assumption is one most people make; I didn't realize it until I started teaching middle school science and realized that appliances use power whether they are being used or not. It only took me forty-five years to learn that lesson. LOL

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Excellent hub Bill with great ideas. I never use my dishwasher. Since there is only myself and husband, I wash dishes by hand. I use the dishwasher for extra storage such as bottles of wine, snacks and boxes of cereal. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's great, Gypsy! You are the second person today who says they store stuff in the dishwasher. I love it!

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Billybuc, These are great suggestions to help people save money. I have a portable dishwasher with broken wheels so I stopped using it because it is too much of a pain to try to roll it over to the sink...now I know I've been saving money to boot....Voted++

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Honey! Thank God for broken wheels, eh? LOL Sometimes we save money even when we aren't trying to, and how cool is that?

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great suggestions. I never ever had a dishwasher. There is one in this apartment and I don't care for it. These are great, practical tips!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Tammy! Your words of affirmation to me always mean a great deal to me.

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 4 years ago

      Favorite tip? Number one: shut down the power strips at night. I've heard this one a million times, but I just keep forgetting to do it! GRRR...

      Hey Bill, I forget if you still watch TV (or even still HAVE one), but I saw this show on Travel Channel a couple nights ago and as I was reading this hub, I remembered it and thought, "Bill would LOVE this."

      It was a show called Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, and it was about "Earthships" - homes made completely out of recycled "junk" and...get this: TOTALLY SELF-CONTAINED. Food, water, electricity, it's all produced in-house. They're totally off the grid, but still living quite well, not like a bunch of weirdos or anything.

      http://www.travelchannel.com/video/new-mexicos-ear...

      Aloha, Chris

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I love it, and you are right, Bill will love it. I'll check it out in a few minutes.....thanks for the info...as for those damn power strips.....LOL

      Thanks my friend.

      Aloha

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I just watched that video....unbelievable! I'm afraid to show Bev; she might want to move tomorrow. :)

    • profile image

      mjkearn 4 years ago

      Hi Bill

      OK what's the story. Here you are talking about being frugal and you've got two sinks, why? I've always managed with one for both dishes and car parts and I've never owned a dishwasher.

      I'm the auto garage opener and if I didn't park the cars and bikes in it I'd never find them in the morning as everything is white.

      What's a clothes drier and my wash machine is a little drum I rigged up in the stream.

      Dropped the land line years ago, literally. Seems the phone company can't read a map or just stuck their pole in my field because it was easier. Unfortunately their pole succumbed to chainsaw rot and they had to move it. They didn't offer me a new contract. I was very sad.

      Now Bill if I parked in the street it's a quarter mile hike to the house and that's not going to save the shoe leather. Though I could park in the street and take a bike to the house.

      Great job as usual Bill and thoroughly enjoyed this though I'm not sure I'm up for a million ideas.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MJ, as usual you have me laughing. The two sinks....I admit to overkill with that situation.

      You would be hard-pressed to find a modern family in America that did not have a clothes dryer. It's all about convenience here my friend, until the economy sucks everyone dry and then it's amazing how many clotheslines we see in the neighborhood. :)

      I'm thinking you get a pass on that garage thing; a 1/4 mile is a bit far to be hoofing it daily.

      And for you, a special dispensation....only a half-million ideas coming your way.

      Thanks for the laugh my friend!

      bill

    • profile image

      lambservant 4 years ago

      Great ideas Billy. I have got my winter bill down by about $25-$30 dollars. Got me a clothes line, hang clothes inside in the winter, unplug most everything at night, and put up storm windows. Makes a huge difference.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Great ideas billy, I go round every night to make sure that every plug is undone, no lights on and everything turned off. the night lights are a good idea, because I always have to grope my way to the bathroom at 3 in the morning, or put the harsh big light on. and yes, I agree with you about the washing, hanging it on the line is so much better, loved it, nell

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      lambservant, it does indeed. Thanks for confirming that this stuff works.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      So I hurt my arm trying to pat myself on the back....I always dry sheets on the line, never use hot water in my washing machine, only use the dishwasher when there are more than 15 people over for dinner, and stub my toe rather then turn a light on at night!

      Voted this up, useful, and very interesting.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Useful tips, bill

      Small things eventually do add up.

      Voted up as useful and interesting.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This takes a lot of getting used to, Hummm, I have radiant heat and it's quite expensive, you have to have an overhead fan to deliver the heat downward. I had no idea about turning the current off at night would save electricity. I have a dishwasher that i have never used. It was built into the cabinet design. The garage door is another thing, if i left my car outside, i would have to spend money for cleaning supplies, so i pass on that. The rest of your ideas are frugal and worth remembering. Thank you Bill.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great ideas and tips with great scientific explanation. Voted up.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I agree with so many of your ideas. I do a lot of them, but I do need to cancel my land line phone real soon, it's a waste of $25 a month. Excellent hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you have made such huge strides, we're going to let the garage thing pass without a comment. LOL Yes, I have heard that about radiant heat and a fan is necessary for sure.

      Thank you Ruby; you are appreciated greatly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, Vellur, thank you so much. It's always nice to see you.

    • patchofearth profile image

      patchofearth 4 years ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

      These are great tips. You are preaching to the converted. I already use some of them. I use a clothes line and I don't do laundry in hot water. I love nightlights too. I look forward to further tips! Keep them coming.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you! I'm impressed that you do so many of these.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bravo, Nell....you go girl! I was so excited the first time I got a night light; no more bruised big toes. LOL Thank you Nell!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, you deserve a pat on the back; here's one from me, too! Great job; I knew there was a reason I liked you so much. LOL Thank you Mary!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, they do indeed. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      patchofearth, I love your Hubname. Well done if you do most of these. It's so hard to change the way of thinking of some people, but it sounds like you are well on your way to being a frugal guru! :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You have great tips billy and I think I follow about all of them, I love saving money! I do have a home phone though besides cell and it is Magic Jack for $30 a year. Saves a fortune on cell when I spend so much time at home. Quilts and heavy things line dried save a fortune too besides the dryer and they can be tossed just a few minutes in the dryer when you bring them in to soften them up and make wrinkle free. Great hub! Should come in handy for many!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thanks, Bill, for some good ideas. I live in a building constructed in 1941. It has gorgeous architectural aesthetics, but the electrical leaves a lot to be desired. I discovered the only way to avoid burning out light bulbs once every 3 to 4 days is to leave the switch on. Now, the electrical on one half of the living room doesn't work, nor does the light in the ceiling fan in the bedroom. I've given up reading or painting at night! I'm figuring the cost is a wash between the electric that doesn't work and the light in the bathroom kept on all the time. As far as the maintenance crew, well it took 4 months for them to fix the electrical problem obliterating the outside porch light. I fell on the stairs taking my dog out twice before they hauled ass and fixed that. I wonder if this place would pass electrical code? Ah, well, it looks beautiful...in the daylight when I can see the place. LOL

      I'm with you on giving up the landline in lieu of a cell phone. I held out on acquiring a cell phone for a lot of years, even when I commuted 90 highway miles daily. I thank my lucky stars for the good soul that stopped when I got a flat tire on a cold, rainy, dark night driving home. I feel much safer, however, with the cell phone!

      Looking forward to more frugal tips, Bill. Thank you

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      What a fabulous hub. I do just about everything on here with the exception of parking in the driveway.. I mean I DO park in the driveway, not to save energy.. but because I don't have a garage! LOL I really love the ideas and helpful hints. ALL of us should be practicing these tips and suggestions. Gosh, could you imagine if EVERYONE would do this... Yeoooowza! Thumbs up, up, up and away! ♥

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, Yeooowza indeed! LOL Okay, you get a pass on the garage and still get bonus points. That's a win/win situation. Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, that's the thing about those great old buildings....they are pretty much useless other than to look at...unless you have thousands of dollars to upgrade them. I've always loved Victorian homes but you have to be a millionaire to live in one.

      Thank you my dear friend. Peace and happiness to you always.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Jackie! I have heard of Magic Jack but I don't think it's available here...for $30 a year it's hard to pass up that deal.

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      aliceleftinwonder 4 years ago from Somewhere along I-5

      Hanging sheets out on the line was one of my favorite things at one of the homes I worked at. Though I'll admit I am glad I didn't have to scrub six or sets of sheets in a basin!

      Thanks for the post.

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      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. KGO news was just talking about the unbelievable money that can be saved by disconnecting dormant electric devises, like chargers.

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      AudraLeigh 4 years ago

      Very useful hub Bill! Thanks for the write! I will pin this!

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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      You crack me up, BB. I KNOW your grandmother is smiling down on you. Hehe. Great minds think alike- I've adopted many of the strategies you see here. In fact, we have a dishwasher, but we have NEVER used it since we moved to this house 5.5 years ago. It's inconveniently located in the living room (lol) and it is just find to handwash. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alice, I'm not a big fan of washing sheets by hand. :) Thank you for the visit.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Martin! Most people don't realize that they are paying for dormant devices.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Audra! You are appreciated!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, I crack you up?? The dishwasher is in your living room??? LOL That's great! Now I have started my day with a great laugh. Thanks my friend and have a great day!

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Very useful suggestions, Billy! I'm glad to say that I use almost all of them already, except the rain barrel. I've always wanted to purchase one, but they are so expensive. Thanks to you, I now know I can find one on ebay at a very reasonable price. Voted Up, Useful and Interesting. Very good article as always.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I had no doubt that you did most of these. :) Rain barrels use to be around $25 here, completely outfitted...now you have to find one on your own and do the drilling and install a spigot....but it's so easy that I can do it, so that should be encouraging for everyone. :)

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Wow - I had no idea a freezer uses less energy when full. What a great tip! We always turn our thermostat down a few degrees at night. That helps with the gas bill.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, it does indeed; it's surprising more people don't do it. As for the freezer, less space to freeze means less need to run the motor. :) Thank you my friend, and I hope you are well and happy today.

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Billy - I grew up in a home where Dad chased after us turning off the lights, telling us to make the selection and close the damned refrigerator and reminding us all that we don't live in a barn or he isn't heating the entire Northeast.

      Now that I am older I can thoroughly appreciate his reasoning.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      You certainly have some good tips, especially about the hot water wash. Hot water has a tendency to shrink and fade clothes, too, so I’m sure your clothes will thank you, too. I just wish I could get Mr. B to turn off lights he isn’t using – in the daytime! That is our biggest waste, along with a 46 inch plasma TV that runs from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed. It can be quite irritating at times, too. We do unplug our computers at night when we go to bed in case of an unexpected lightening storm. One night lightening hit our house, and actually burned out a very powerful surge protector connected to the TV and sound system. We awoke to the smell of an electrical fire. Fortunately the television was OK, but it cost us $130 to replace the surge protector.

      Bill, if you decide not to use your dishwasher, it would be best to have it removed, otherwise you may be stuck with a big repair bill when you do decide to use it. My parents learned that lesson the hard way. My Dad was such a cheapskate that he objected to mother’s using the dishwasher in their new home. After several months of washing dishes by hand, they had company and used enough dishes that daddy gave permission to use the dishwasher. The seals had dried out and water poured into the floor. The repairman instructed them to use the dishwasher at least a couple of times a month to keep the seals from drying out or get rid of it. Just trying to save you some more money, my friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I wish I had a dollar for each time I heard that "we don't live in a barn" line, but yes, it is true, and now I'm the one who goes around turning off lights. I have become my father....a gentler version. :)

      Always good to see you my dear, and three times in one morning is a bonus.

      love,

      billy

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, that is something I never thought of but it is so logical. Thank you for that; ours is broken, and I doubt we will get it fixed, but I will keep that in the back of my mind if we do.....and I'll be fixing it anyway, so I'll remember.

      Tv's running all day long? I can't count the number of people I know who do that. I'm with you on that one...a waste of time, not to mention the energy. Oh well, he has paid his dues and deserves a few whims, right?

      Thank you for your second visit this morning; you are appreciated.

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Another great article filled with great money and energy saving ideas. The washer and dryer use up lots of energy, but the coffee maker is almost as draining. Guess we may have to resort to solar for this. Thanks for the tips.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, if I could afford those solar panels I'd have them tomorrow. Maybe some day, huh?

      Thanks my friend!

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, with the exception of the rain barrel, I practice all of these tips. Since I have not yet made a rain barrel, I keep one of my 'yard' cans right side up to catch the rain (which is not suggested in Florida due to attracting mosquitoes). I use it to hand water my hanging plants and those in pots.

      I shut my computer down every night, have night lights stragically placed throughout the house and also hand wash my dishes. I guess my diswasher is just there for looks! The black offsets the yellow cabinets and makes for a nice contrast. Ha ha!!

      Merry Christmas my friend! Hugs to Bev.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I think color balance is great in a kitchen. LOL No need to use the damn thing; as long as it looks good then all is right in the world. :) I love it; I hadn't thought of the mosquito problem with rain barrels, but I can definitely see what that would be a problem where you live. Here, no smart mosquito would even consider living here.

      Thanks dear friend; sending you warm hugs of friendship.

      bill

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Wonderful ideas yet again, Bill! Frugality is all about saving unnecessary expenses and you have done a great job on this topic as always.

      Voted up and useful.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, as always I am grateful for your friendship and loyal following. Thank you my dear friend; blessings to you and yours.

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      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Many people now do not know all of these little tips that can save so much money.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Nancy, hopefully this hub will help them. Thank you and have a great weekend.

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      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Very good hub Billy full of useful ideas. There is one I would not agree with and its the cold washing of clothes. In Ireland when I was growing up fleas where in abundance, the best item pharmacies sold was DDT. According to my neighbour who is a chemist what stopped the fleas in their tracks so to speak was the washing machine. It could heat the water hotter than the human hand could tolerate, so the flea eggs were destroyed before they hatched, elimnating or greatly reducing the fleas problem.

      I don't know of anyone in Ireland these days who has a flea problem. So maybe you should rethink the cold wash, just in case.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Highland, that is very interesting. Since we have three dogs I might have to consider it, although fleas have never bothered me. Evidently I don't taste that good. :) Thanks for the tip and I hope you are well.

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      Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

      Here in Florida we love the winter, simply because it does not get "cold" enough (well for my family anyway) to justify turning on the heat...and we CERTAINLY don't need the AC this time of year.

      Dishwasher.....FOREVER I hand washed dishes...and then we bought a new house with a NEW dishwasher....uhhh Guilty.

      But the many, many others you listed (outside line drying - ACK - 4 girls x laundry = TO MUCH TO LINE DRY) are awesome electric money saving ideas.

      I must say I consider myself "utility savvy" and you have quite a few new, unique ideas....Thanks for taking the time to put it together and share the info. $$$$

      ~Becky

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Becky; if I had four girls I would need professional help. LOL I can see where some of these suggestions would never work for you.

      I appreciate you stopping by and have a great weekend.

    • LadyLyell profile image

      LadyLyell 4 years ago from George, South Africa

      I couldn't help but get absorbed in this hub as you have hit onto my pet subject.

      I try all your suggestions to save on electricity costs but they are still too high. I have two guisers and have turned off one. Next thing I'll be down to cold water for all uses, oh no!

      It's just one payment that irritates me no end.

      Thanks for promoting cost cuts!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LadyLyell, I understand completely! They are soaring here and we have abundant energy in our state.....we all need to do better so we can live in some semblance of comfort without going broke.

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      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Good tips here, but I have to disagree with leaving your car outside at night. One of the reasons I have a garage is to keep my car from being stolen during the night. Also, if it rains, my car doesn't get wet.

      I no longer have a landline

      I no longer have cable TV

      I use cold water for laundry

      I don't own a dishwasher (never had one)

      I'm not allowed to hang my wash out on a line

      I voted this one UP, etc.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I understand on the car....I'm shaking my head on the clothesline....and then I'm laughing....unless you live in an apartment of course. There are some communities of houses that don't allow them either....that's why I'm laughing. Anyway, thank you for the visit.

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