Post-Holiday Bills Getting You Down? Time to Save
Now that the holidays are over, your credit card and utility bills will be rolling in, showing you just how much fun you had. While we’re sure it was worth it for all the joy the holiday season brought, you’re certainly paying for it now.
While you can’t undo the damage you’ve done, you can prevent it in future. Live frugally by making some responsible choices that can reduce your household bills. Many of these tips can be applied all year long — not just during the post-holiday squeeze.
If you want to reduce your bills, these tips will help you get started!
Baths are a luxury
Unless you are taking really long showers, baths use roughly twice as much water. Of course, there are exceptions — such as having to bathe children — but you generally don’t need to fill the tub as full for kids. All adults in your household should take short, efficient showers when possible. Yes, you can treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the tub sometimes, but try not to use it as your primary method of getting clean. Your water and electricity bills will go down if you reduce your usage.
Buy a programmable, smart thermostat to ensure you’re not using too much heat while you’re not home. Many of these new thermostats link to an app on your phone, allowing you to set the temperature lower when you’re out, then up when you return. This way, you can be comfortable when you’re home without wasting energy when you’re not.
Rather than keeping a set temperature all season, you can adjust it so that the heat isn’t running unnecessarily.
Was your New Year’s resolution to learn a new skill? Now’s the time to learn some skills that will come in handy around your house. Whether you teach yourself to fix a leaky faucet or repair a loose doorknob, it can save you money if you always call someone to fix everything around the house. There are things you should call in professionals for, but there are plenty of little jobs you can do yourself.
Flip the switch
When walking from room to room, turn off the lights. Make this a habit. You don’t need to light up your whole home like a Christmas tree! If you leave a room, turn off the light — it’s simple. If you want to light up dark hallways, get plug-in night lights with motion sensors. That way, they will illuminate only when you walk by.
Embrace sweater weather
In addition to having a programmable thermostat, you should also set it to a lower than normal temperature. If you can walk around your house in a T-shirt and bare feet, it’s set too high. Put on cozy slippers and a warm sweater, and turn the heat down. Stay comfortable without blowing your utility bills out of the water.
Wash in cold, hang to dry
We all have literal dirty laundry we need to deal with, but that doesn’t mean we have to wash it in hot water and tumble dry. Today, there are plenty of detergent brands with cold water formulas, so there’s no need to be afraid of the cold setting. Even better, you won’t shrink anything!
Buy a drying rack to hang your clothes to dry, even in the winter months. You might not have room to hang everything out to dry inside, but if you can reduce the number of loads you do in the dryer, that will help.
Seal air leaks
One of the biggest culprits driving costs up is air leakage. These happen around windows, exterior doors and vents. Air leaks cause warm air from your furnace to escape, replacing it with cold air from outside. In the summer, it’s reversed. Maintain control over your indoor temperatures by ensuring all escape routes are sealed.
Unplug — literally
Not using the toaster until breakfast? Unplug it. Cellphone charger plugged into your wall charging nothing? Unplug it. Basically, any small appliance or electronic device you won’t need to use can be unplugged to prevent wasting electricity. While it might seem insignificant, these items are drawing power when not in use, so why leave them plugged in?
Use high-cost appliances at capacity
The appliances that end up costing you the most on your energy bills are the ones you need to be most diligent about in terms of efficiency. While you can buy Energy Star refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers, it will still cost you a lot if you don’t use them effectively. And to use them effectively, you need to fill them, when possible, to their capacity. That is to say, don’t run your dishwasher with just a bowl and a spoon loaded in. This means you can do fewer loads, and for your fridge, it means it doesn’t have to work as hard to cool a few items.
Try these tactics and see the numbers on your next round of bills shrink.
What do you do to reduce household costs?