Reduce Your Utilities – 52 Week Money Savings Challenge
Can you believe we’re already on week 5 of the 52 Week Money Savings Challenge?!?!? This week’s deposit is $5 which brings us to a total of $15 in savings so far, if you’re deposits are following the number of weeks. If you aren’t following the same schedule, which way did you decide would be best for you? I’d love to hear how it’s going and what method of savings you chose.
Last week, I talked about creating a budget and how to go about that. Creating a budget will help you know where you are at financially each week and month, or where you should be! This week, we’re tackling ways to reduce our utilities. Because of the drought that California has been dealing with the last several years, we have learned ways to reduce our water, but there are many things we can do to reduce our cost of living in utilities overall.
15 Ways to Reduce Your Utilities
- Cut the cable – If you’re budget is still in the red, cable is one bill that you will more than likely be able to eliminate altogether. I’ve seen many comments from people who are very happy with a digital antenna, where they can get local stations and only paying the one time purchase fee.
- Reduce water usage – Make sure you are filling up your washing machine and dishwasher to full capacity. Doing small loads will only use up more water. Read other ways to reduce water usage.
- Shut off and unplug – Leave small appliances out? Make sure to unplug when not in use. I have found it’s easier to leave unplug if they are hidden beneath the counters. Find a spot to get them out of site and you won’t have to remember to unplug them as often. Also, use a power strip, if you’re able, for things like the TV. When you have a lot of cords plugged in, if you plug into a power strip, you’ll have just one cord to unplug.
- Turn the water heater down – Instead of having your water heater at 140 degrees or so, turn it down to 120 degrees. You’ll save by no longer keeping your water at a higher temp or having it heat the water so high.
- Seal leaks – Are there leaks by your windows and doors? Head to your local hardware store and find an inexpensive foam or caulking to seal those leaks.
- Know your usage – There have been times when our bills are higher than normal. Turns out, meters were read wrong. Read and keep track of your own meter and usage. Compare it to your bills and let your utility company know if there are any discrepancies.
- Buy energy efficient – Compare pricing and how much you’ll save by purchasing energy efficient lights and appliances. Make sure the products are worth the investment. Some energy efficient upgrades won’t cost you much more than the normal thing, but some upgrades might.
- Adjust your thermostat – Like your home extra cool in the summer or cozy warm in the winter? Adjust your thermostat to a new number, one that doesn’t require the heat or AC to come on as often. For us, we have an evaporative cooler and either it’s on or off in the summer. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good in the summer when our temps reach triple digits, but it helps circulate the air and is definitely cheaper than AC.
- Use a clothesline – Instead of using your dryer, hang a clothesline or umbrella line outside to dry your clothes on warm sunny days.
- Advance pay or Auto pay – Our insurance charges $7 a month extra if we pay monthly. If we pay even two months at one time, one of those charges gets waived. If we pay it all at once, all the $7 fees are waived. Auto pay can be similar. We have a couple bills that will give a discount if we choose auto pay, however, auto pay can be tricky if your budget is really tight. I would say that if accidentally over drawing your account isn’t an issue, go for it, but monitor it carefully. If your budget is really tight, auto pay is probably not the way to go, at least for the time.
- Add insulation – We are planning on adding insulation to the rest of the underneath part of our home this year. We’re on a raised foundation and know that adding insulation under the house where it was never added (older part of the home) and in our attic as well, will definitely help reduce our heating/cooling bill.
- Goodbye landline – If you have cell phones, you probably don’t need a landline (though there are exceptions). We were able to eliminate our landline and both went to cell phones. It wasn’t a huge savings, but still made a difference. This year, our 2 year contract will end and we’ll be getting pay-as-you-go which will cut our current cell bill by about 50%.
- Avoid peak times – Find out when the peak times are for your area and avoid running your washer, dryer and dishwasher, as well as any yard watering, during those times.
- Blackout Curtains – I’ve discovered these make a noticeable difference in our own home in helping keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Consider Solar – I know the initial cost might be high, which is why you need to sit down and factor in the costs verses savings. How long will it take before it pays for itself. For some, it might be a lot sooner as some electric companies run much more pricey than others. It won’t hurt to get quotes and weigh the pros and cons.
What are ways that you reduce your utilities? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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I’m so glad to have you on this journey with me. I’m looking forward to each week and I hope these posts and the emails are not only helpful to you, but encouraging as well.
- If you are new and just now joining, subscribe to the weekly email and download your own copy of the 52 Week Money Savings Challenge printable. All current subscribers are entered into an Amazon drawing held at the end of the month.
- If you want to catch up on the reading of each week, go to our 52 Week Money Savings Challenge page and check out each week listed, as you’re able. Don’t worry about catching up on savings amounts unless you’re able to, just start with the current week and add extra if/as you’re able.
- Want to open an online bank account to help keep things separated? I personally use Capital One 360 and have for years. It takes a few days for transfers to complete if you’re using a local bank.