Saving Money: Lower Your Gas and Electric Bills
Whether it's the frigid winter or the dog days of summer, there's almost no way around paying through the nose to keep your family's butts warm or cool. According to the government's EnergyStar program, Americans spend an average of $2,200 a year on utility bills—that's a lotta gas! So make a commitment right here, right now, to get your family to use less energy so you can pay less for it!
Here are some tips to lower the amounts on your utility bills:
- Cut your usage. It's the easiest and the first thing you can do to lower your utility costs. Try these six little things:
1) Turn the lights off when you're not in the room (electricity costs $0.10 per kilowatt hour!)
2) Use energy-efficient bulbs known as Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL).
3) During the summer, raising your thermostat UP from 72 degrees to 78 degrees can decrease cooling costs by almost 20 percent.
4) In the winter, turning your thermostat DOWN from 72 degrees to 68 degrees can decrease your heating costs by up to 15 percent. (Your body will barely be able to tell the difference, but your wallet will!)
5) Kill the vampires. Did you know that even when your electronics are turned off, they still leak energy? It's called vampire power, which sucks up about 20 percent of your energy, leading to a bigger bill. So instead, use power strips to turn off all your electronics at once.
6) Only use the dryer and dishwasher for full loads. Both appliances use up the same amount of energy no matter the size of the load. So, for smaller loads, hand-wash dishes and hang your clothes outside to dry.
- Get a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can be set to automatically lower the temperature inside your house by 5 to 10 degrees at night and, totally turn it off completely when no one is there. You can fix it and forget it—and automatically cut your heating bills by up to 20 percent a year!
- Shop around. Energy costs may seem fixed, but sometimes they're flexible, so take advantage! First, head to LowerMyBills.com to find out the cheapest service. Then pick up the phone and get your haggle on: Call your utility provider and ask if they can put together a less expensive payment plan for you. You may be surprised at their answer!
Want more money-saving tips? Check out our Recession Proofing Boot Camp!