The post “Genius Ways to Slash Your Utility Bills” is all about helping you save money. Find out the little-known ways you and your family can reduce this monthly bill. This post may contain affiliate links, and you can learn more about our affiliate policy here.
What is the one monthly bill you just hate paying every month? The mortgage is annoying but at the end of it all, you’ll have a house to call your own. Is it a car payment? Well, you can always sell the car and get a cheaper one or take public transportation. For me, it’s the utility bill. Electricity, gas, and water help make our home comfy to live in, but I just hate shelling out so much money on something so…boring! Fortunately, there are some very easy ways to slash your utility bills so you can save your money for something fun!
Power Meter Plug
Electricity tends to be the most expensive utility bill for many households. This is a good place to start when slashing your utility bills. We like to use a power meter plug because it tells us exactly how much power our devices are sucking up. Something like this will do the trick. Plug in things around the house that use electricity and the device will tell you how many kilowatts hours (kWh) of electricity are being used!
A power strip is an easy way to stop your appliances/devices from sucking up energy when they’re not in use. Did you know that many electronics draw power even when they’re off? It’s a hassle to unplug everything that’s not being used and then have to plug them in again. A power strip makes it easy because you can plug in multiple electronics and simply them off for good with the flip of a switch.
Keep Your Fridge Full
A full fridge helps the fridge stay cool better so the fridge doesn’t have to work as hard. Whenever you open a fridge, you’re letting in warm air. Having a full fridge minimizes the amount of warm air that gets in. Think about when you pack your lunch box or a cooler for a picnic. It’s hard to keep the contents cool when you just have a couple of water bottles in there. When the cooler is full, the items in there stay cool longer.
We try not to run the AC constantly during the summer months because it’s such an energy hog. We have ceiling fans and standalone fans that we use when the temperature’s hot enough to be uncomfortable but not quite hot enough to crank on the AC. Fans work especially well when there’s a gentle breeze. Open up those windows and circulate the fresh air throughout your house.
A compact fluorescent light (CFL) may look kind of funny but it uses only 1/5 to 1/3 of the energy as a traditional incandescent light bulb and it can last 8 to 15 times longer! The initial cost to purchase the CFL bulbs may be higher but you get to recoup that cost and save money because these bulbs last longer and use less energy.
Join Utility Company’s Energy Saving Program
Nevada’s power company offers an incentive for residents to use energy during off-peak hours. It does that by offering a lower rate for energy use outside the hours of 1pm-8pm. This is such an easy way to save. We have no trouble with this on weekdays since we’re at work for most of the day. On the weekends, we run the washer, dryer, and dishwasher in the early morning hours or later in the evening. It takes so little effort that it would be silly to not participate. Inquire with your utility company to see if they offer similar programs.
Wash Clothes in Cold or Warm Water
Conventional wisdom tells us to wash clothes, towels, and bedding in hot water. There’s really no need because it’s just a waste of money. It takes a lot of energy to heat up all that water to wash our clothes. Maybe you grew up learning hot water is needed to dissolve detergent. That may have been true once upon a time. These days, detergents dissolve just fine in cold water.
But, you say, hot water disinfects! Look, most of us don’t have jobs that cause our clothes to get super dirty. Cold water cleans just fine and it’ll actually help your clothes last longer. Hot water can fade colors and shrink your clothes, leading you to have to replace them prematurely.
Line Dry Clothes
After washing your clothes in cold water, I highly recommend line drying them. Dryers certainly save time but they shrink your clothes and are very tough on fabrics. I like to use my drying rack like this one to air dry my clothes. My clothes get the gentler treatment and I don’t have to use energy to run the dryer. I set my drying rack next to the laundry room. If you want, you can certainly dry your clothes in the sun. Solar energy is free and it has the added benefit of making whites whiter!
Turn Down Water Heater Temperature
Did you know that you can change the temperature on your water heater and doing so can save hundreds of dollars a year? Turns out, many manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140°F. But, setting the water heater to 120°F saves money and can save you from scalding yourself.
Use Solar Chargers
I cannot emphasize enough how much I love using solar chargers. We use this model to charge our phones, tablets, and other small electronics. On a sunny day (which occurs often here in Vegas), our devices charge up in no time. I love knowing that I’m using renewable energy rather than racking up the electric bill.
The solar charger is also super handy when we go camping as we don’t have to worry about finding outlets to charge our phones. On our recent trip up to Oregon to observe the solar eclipse, we set up the charger on the car’s dashboard and it took care of our power needs.
Install Programmable Thermostat
When no one is home, why waste money heating and cooling an empty house? A programmable thermostat helps eliminate this problem. It’s an easy way to crank up or lower the temperature for those hours when the family’s at work and school. In the summer, we keep the AC at 82°F when no one’s home and keep the heater at 65°F in the winter. Your AC and heater won’t have to work as hard when you’re not home and this easy tip will also help slash your utility bills.
Enjoy Fresh Air
We like to give our AC a break every now and then to enjoy the fresh air. Yes, even in the scorching desert heat of Vegas, it’s possible to enjoy fresh air rather than constantly run the AC. In the cool early morning and evening hours, we open up the windows to enjoy the gentle breeze. Not only is it free, it also helps air out your home.
Plan Ahead Oven Use
I hate to turn on the oven just to bake a cake or bread, so I like to plan out my oven use to maximize efficiency. If I’m making baked goods, I like to toss other items in the oven to take advantage of the fact that it’s already going to be on. Potatoes and sweet potatoes work well because I don’t have to worry about over baking them and they’re so versatile for weeknight meals.
Do you have any tips for cutting back on utility bills?