Tips for Saving Money on your Utilities and Monthly Expenses

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Fear not! There are countless ways you can save on utility payments without compromising your comfort levels. Some of these may seem obvious, but investing in them can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Consider the following:

  • AC unit maintenance – make sure it is working efficiently, with no objects obstructing the vents. A programmable thermostat is also key – this allows you to set the desired temperature level and rest easy.
  • Air leaks and insulation – if your home’s construction is out of date, all the cool air (or hot air in the winter) may be escaping through poorly insulated windows and doorways. Getting these renovated may well be worth the money.
  • Close ‘em up! – We’re talking doors to rooms you are not using, but that’s not all. Sealing vents in rooms you rarely visit, along with your fireplace (if you don’t light it much) also help to decrease costs. But this goes both ways – make sure the vents are open where you want them to be, especially if you just moved to a new home/apartment! And if you have a laundry room? Keep that door closed all summer, and open in the winter for the added warmth.

And some other small changes that help save on electric bills:

  • Your parents may have told you this all the time when you were young, but turn off the lights when you leave the room! Simple enough, and a habit we could all cultivate.
  • Unplug electronics and appliances after you are done using them – they still drain electricity if they are off, but still plugged in. This means that desktop computer, too!
  • Switch to fluorescent lights – now, I can’t say I love a fluorescent light on its own. But if you have a lamp where the bulb itself gets filtration, these bulbs are your best bet. They are less expensive, shine brighter and last longer.

Next, saving on water:

  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth or shave – you’re losing close to 4 gallons for every minute the water flows from your faucet. The same goes for when you are hand-washing dishes. And speaking of dishes…
  • If you are using a dishwasher, be smart about the way you arrange plates, and try to fill the washer rather than doing small, individual loads. Also, skip the dry cycle (saves energy costs) and consider pre-soaking or pre-rinsing the pots and pans that are more heavily soiled (but be wise and don’t leave the water running the whole time!).
  • Thawing food – consider using the “Defrost” microwave setting instead of running the frozen food under hot water.

Tips for major appliance usage:

  • Turns out electric companies often charge lower fees for appliances used during off-peak hours. Call your electric company and find out what these are (they tend to be after 8 pm).
  • Load clothing into your washer to a realistic capacity (don’t over-stuff, and be especially mindful of this with sheets and towels). Using a cold water setting helps, but not as much as you’d think. Washing a load twice isn’t saving you much, so be wise about the temperature you choose.
  • Your dryer is likely smaller than your washer, and should be filled up only 75% of the way – remember to leave room for clothes to expand as they dry, or you will end the cycle with damp clothes. Of course, if you have the space, air drying will save you the most money on heating costs!
  • If you are cooking small portions or cooking for one, a toaster oven will win over the conventional oven every time, when it comes to energy costs. And if you are cooking or baking something for more than an hour, preheating is virtually unnecessary.

Other tips and ideas that save you money:

  • Consolidate your debt from many separate credit cards to one to save on interest. In fact, give your credit card company a call – if you are in good standing with them, you should be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. And by all means, avoid late fees by paying on time, even if it’s just the minimum amount.
  • Communicate better – try to find a company that provides phone, internet and cable services. Also, shop around when it comes to prices, and evaluate your phone bills. If you are using much less than the allotted minutes, consider switching to a different plan or a new provider (many give significant discounts to new members).
  • Make a list for grocery shopping – this way you don’t lose focus of what you need. And don’t buy in bulk just because certain items are on sale. If they are perishable, the sale price ends up being negated. And bring lunch to work – you’ll see a significant decrease in your spending on food.

We hope these tips come in handy!

Sources:

http://www.accountnow.com/content/budgeting/how-to-save-money-on-monthly-expenses/

http://lifehacker.com/5953039/how-to-reduce-your-energy-bill-with-no-cost-or-sacrifice

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