Tips for Keeping the Cost of Utilities Under Control
Maybe you’re wanting to increase contributions to your retirement plan, saving up for something you’ve had your eye on, or simply wanting to make sure you’re staying within your budget—regardless of your motivation, you can start saving money immediately by following these tips for keeping the cost of your utilities under control.
Heating and cooling
If you’re interested in saving a substantial amount of money on your monthly utility bills, start at the thermostat. Depending on the climate where you live, keeping the temperature inside your home as close as possible to the outside temperature requires much less energy than say, trying to keep your home at a cool 65°F in the summer or a toasty 80°F in the winter.
While there’s no magic number to help maximize the amount of money you can save while still maintaining some degree of comfort, experts—including the U.S. Department of Energy—tend to gravitate towards setting your thermostat to 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter while you’re inside the home—and respectively, 85°F or 60°F while you are away.
Following these guidelines can save you up to 10 percent on your home’s annual heating and cooling expenses. If these temperatures seem absolutely unbearable, just know that each degree outside of your normal comfort zone is roughly equal to a 1 percent savings.
- If your bedroom is too hot to handle, try setting up some box fans to get the air circulating—which in turn, will help cool you down. Or, you can always put your sheets and pillowcases in the freezer before bedtime.
- If you find yourself freezing in the winter, using a space heater in your bedroom can often be more cost-effective than turning up the heat for your whole home.
Did you know the average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water every day, and about 64 gallons of that water is heated? In order to reduce the amount you spend on utilities each month, you should not only use less water but less hot water as well.
While there are many products available to homeowners to help them achieve a greater level of efficiency with their water/hot-water usage—as a renter, you often don’t have an option when it comes to choosing your household appliances, toilets, or faucets. Luckily, there are still lots of simple solutions to help cut down on the costs.
- Always wash your clothes/laundry on the coldest setting possible.
- Reduce the number of loads of laundry you do per week (consider using the same towel for multiple showers or hanging up lightly worn clothing so you can wear it again before washing). You can see how much you pay per load here.
- Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth, or even while soaping up in the shower.
- Only flush the toilet when necessary.
- Try to hand wash your dishes instead of using the dishwasher, and fill up the sink with water instead of allowing the faucet to run the entire time.
- While there are many more ways to reduce your water usage, these ideas should give you a good starting place on your way to substantial savings.
The final step to reducing your utility bills is to conserve and reduce the amount of electricity you use in your home. A great place to start is with replacing your incandescent light bulbs with a newer energy-efficient option. There are plenty of inexpensive versions available that not only last longer than traditional bulbs but also shine brighter while using less electricity.
You should also get in the habit of only turning on lights when necessary and turning them off whenever you’re going to be leaving a room for longer than 15 minutes. Try using natural light whenever possible. If you’re really serious about saving money, you could adopt a daily schedule that doesn’t require the use of any artificial light. By simply waking up with the sunrise and going to sleep when the sun sets, you can dramatically reduce the amount of energy you use in your home. Another option is to try replacing TV watching and internet browsing with activities that don’t require electricity.
For the best results, you should utilize all of these tips, and continue looking for new ways to save. However, even if you only take one of these cost-cutting measures, you’ll still be saving money!