Monday, September 16, 2013

Saving Money - The Electric Bill

We all want to save money for one reason or another. It could be to get out of debt, save for retirement, plan a trip or vacation or simply just to make it from one month to the next without needing an emergency fund bailout. So I wanted to talk about ONE of the MILLIONS of things that I am trying to save money on to clear out our debt. My electric bill. My electric bill is one of the single most painful things to open at the end of the month. So I often institute a number of things to help me keep my light bill down especially in the summer and winter. 

1. Don't touch the thermostat!  My husband and I used to have a problem with this.  I'm cold natured and he's hot natured.  I often wake up freezing and he wakes up sweating to find that either of us has bumped the air up or down.  But after receiving electric bills that seemed to seem shock waves down our spine, we decided not to touch it.  I think the standard for the summer is 78 and winter is 68 degrees.  This is where we keep ours.

2. Put on clothes in the winter. (for the cold-blooded like me) I'm cold natured but I like to lounge around the house barefoot in tank tops and complain about being cold half the day. Put on a long sleeve shirt, socks and pants to keep warm.

3. Close or open blinds/curtains. In the hot months, close your blinds during the day to keep the sun out therefore not making the house any hotter. In the winter months, open them to let in the natural light therefore using less light and increasing warmth.

4. Use fans and space heaters.

5.  Put rugs on the floor and throws/blankets on or near sofa.  Stepping on a cold floor in the winter easily puts in the mood of feeling cold therefore I usually want to go straight to the heat and bump it up a few degrees.   The rugs simply increase my comfort level while keeping me away from the thermostat.  I can also just grab a nearby throw or blanket if I'm cold and usually I'm the only one.

6. Open the windows. Let the cool air in on and nice day. This could keep you from touching the thermostat.  I on the other hand would likely be wondering what could be crawling in the window. 

7. Only do laundry early in the morning or late at night. This is a rule I've been using for years after one company told me they raised the rates in the day time years ago. I will only wash clothes before 12pm and after 6pm. So during the hottest times of the day I am not running appliances that will likely use more energy.

8. Wash clothes in cold water. You really don't need to use hot water to wash your laundry.

9. Use foil in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet. I've been trying this for about a month now and finds that it actually works. Ball up a piece of aluminum foil and pop it into the dryer.

10. Skip the dryer all together. I've never fully skipped the dryer but there have been some times where I have hung some things up to dry or laid them flat over using the dryer.

11. Change the lint filter. Forgetting to change the lint filter keeps the dryer from functioning properly.  It takes longer to dry clothes.

12. Take the clothes out of the washer or dryer. By this I mean laziness or forgetfulness. Last week, I spent two days washing the same load of pillows because I kept forgetting to take them out of the washer. Also stop spinning those clothes in the dryer. I'm guilty. Letting the dryer run a second or third time because we don't want to take them out and fold or iron them.

13. Turn off and/or unplug all appliances and electronics not in use.

14. Turn off all lights when not in use.

15. Replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Some lights might also require more than one bulb. The lights in our house have covers over them but each one uses two bulbs. We only put one bulb in each light.  Using two makes it too bright.

16. Use nightlights. When AJ was little we used to leave his bathroom light on all night so he wouldn't be afraid of the dark. We finally got the bright idea. We stick nightlights throughout the house and the kids have glow in the dark stars in their rooms.  Ones that go off on their own means you don't have to remember to unplug it.

17. Insulate properly. Make sure you seal all the cracks and crevices around doors, windows and even outlet covers.

18. Use small appliances more. A microwave is going to use a lot less energy than an oven.