Give Your House a Vacation, Too

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Vacation money-savings tips abound, but what is often forgotten are the expenses left behind. Yes, your house is costing you money even when you’re not there using it. While you can’t exactly suspend your mortgage payment, there are ways to save on utilities and extras you won’t miss while away on vacation, leaving you more money to spend on your trip or at least your bank account a little less light after your vacation spending. Here are a few ways to give your house a vacation, too.

Suspend certain services such as phone, Internet, cable, etc.
If you’re planning to be away more than a week or two, you might consider suspending amenities you won’t be using while away, but will still be racking up a bill. Many phone companies allow you to put your land line on vacation mode, which suspends your normal service with the exception of emergency calls to 911.  Surprisingly, you can even suspend your cable, Netflix, or Hulu account for periods of time without damaging your service contract. If you don’t already know if your cable or Internet service providers have vacation options, find out. If they don’t, you may still be able to bump your plan down to a minimum while you’re away. You might even discover once you get back that you didn’t miss them at all and decide to save money more permanently.

If you’re taking your cell phone with you, you might want to save yourself roaming charges and temporarily switch to a nationwide plan. These are more expensive than state-wide or area plans, but way cheaper than roaming charges. Determining to simply not answer your cell phone can also work as long as you don’t cave in, but you may need to in case of an emergency.

Another useful tip is to turn off ‘data roaming’ on your smart phone if you’re out of the country to avoid hefty overage charges. Utilize your Wi-Fi settings and locate free Internet locations such as cyber cafes if you need to check your email.

Unplug major appliances and re-set heating and cooling temperatures.
You won’t be needing hot water at 6am while you’re gone, so reset the thermostat and timer on your hot water heater as well as your home’s heating and/or cooling system and your refrigerator. Major appliance such as the computer, television, stove, washer, and others pull electricity even when they’re not being used. Unplug anything that doesn’t need to be working while you’re away.

Pull blinds and close curtains to keep out the sun and maintain the temperature in your home naturally; also close doors to rooms without vents that don’t need to stay cool (or warm).

If you are using a security light system to turn your lights on automatically at various intervals, change these lights to CFLs to save even more electricity since they’ll be getting used more heavily.

You’ll be surprised how much you can save by following these tips – as much as 10% of your electric bill, 25% of your home cooling and heating bill, and potentially several hundred dollars on suspended amenities.  So the next time you go on vacation, make sure you’re letting your house take a little break, too.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

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