Saving money by choosing not to spend it can be empowering when taking control of our finances. There are, however, expenses that we must incur to run a household, like electricity, gas and water that we can’t avoid altogether. How can we save on those regular utility bills?
When purchasing a new appliance, make energy efficiency a requirement. Even if an energy efficient appliance costs a bit more initially, you’ll recoup the extra cost over time with the energy savings they provide. As much as we may like to, we can’t go out and replace all our existing household equipment at once, so be sure to maintain your existing appliances in tip-top condition to maximize their performance. Keep them clean and dust-free so they’ll run at their optimal level, which will keep their energy usage as low as possible.
Beyond maintaining things in good condition, we must take actions to minimize the resources we require them to use. Here are some tips for saving on utility expenses:
Use less electricity:
- Don’t waste it. Be vigilant about turning off appliances when they’re not actually in use.
- Unplug unused appliances. Anything plugged in draws electricity so unplug anything you can when not in use. Electronics chargers use electricity even when they’re not charging anything. Plug all chargers into a single power strip that can be plugged in as needed.
- Replace incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Their initial cost is a bit higher but they use much less energy.
- Unscrew unnecessary lightbulbs from fixtures. Some lighting fixtures have more places for light bulbs than are needed for adequate lighting. Remove some from the fixture and save the energy they would draw.
- Invest in solar decorative lighting. While a bit pricier initially, outdoor solar lighting is extremely energy efficient.
- Use appliances at off-peak times. Electricity costs less during late night or early morning hours.
Use less gas:
- Natural gas is used in some homes as heating and cooking fuel and for heating water.
- Use cold water whenever possible. Avoid running hot water whenever possible. Washing machines use a significant amount of heated water. Wash as much laundry in cold water as possible.
- Insulate your water heater. Make sure the water that’s already heated stays hot.
- Use your oven and stovetop only when necessary. Use a microwave or toaster oven instead, when appropriate.
Use less water:
- Turn water off while you shower. Once you’re wet, turn off the water while you lather up.
- Collect the water you need in the sink. Rather than letting water run continuously during shaving or washing dishes, fill up the sink.
- Water gardens and pots with a hose. You’ll waste less water than using a sprinkler.
- Recycle leftover water. Rather than pouring it down the drain, consider other uses for it, such as watering plants.
- Conserve on flushing. Displacing some of the water in your toilet tank with a brick or jug of water makes it flush using less water.
One tip for saving on all of the above:
Cook big. When you’re already in the kitchen with various utensils and pots and pans already in use, cooking and prepping for several meals instead of just one eliminates the need for extra dishwashing, so you’ll save on both water and the heating of it. This is also an opportunity to take advantage of an already heated oven which will save either electricity or gas.
It takes some forethought and diligence but you can make a big impact on the amount you spend on your utility bills by making these relatively small changes.