5 Tips to Lower Utility Bills

5 Tips to Lower Utility Bills

Utility bills seem to shift frequently, due in part to instability in the energy sector and the volatility of certain environmental issues, including fracking that may endanger water wells and land management jeopardized by gas pipelines. Whatever the reason, most of us don’t see our utility bills dropping by much, if any, each year. Instead, they seem to rise almost predictably over time. Since utility company employees need to eat as customers do and our bills must be paid to maintain a good credit rating, we should pay utility bills on time. But there are simple things you can do to lower costs.

Double-Check Your Rates

Even a utility company can make a billing mistake. Double-check meter readings or compare to the previous month’s or year’s bill, and call the billing office to discuss any discrepancies. If a statement seems high, find out if a raise went into effect or if you have accidentally been overcharged, which can sometimes happen.

Compare Utility Providers

If you find that a utility company keeps raising rates consistently, or if there is a spike in the regular rate, check out the competition for lower prices. Your current provider may be willing to lower its rate to match one by a competitor. Alternately, you can switch to the lower-cost provider, but carefully check all costs to find hidden expenses before changing over to the new company.

Turn Off When Not In Use

Make a habit of turning off unused appliances like the television, computer, or lights when leaving a room. Equipment with lights that stay on during disuse can impact monthly utility bills. Collectively, several appliances that are turned off when unused may help to lower monthly costs. Check for leaky faucets and fix them to keep the water bill low. Close heat vents in unused rooms and close the door to avoid paying to heat unoccupied rooms.

Use Utilities Minimally

Cut back on utility use when possible. For example, instead of running the air conditioner around the clock in summertime, turn it on during the hottest part of the day and set it to the highest setting that will cool you off without draining the budget. Do the same for winter heating utilities involving gas, oil or propane, setting the thermostat to 68 degrees if everyone in the household can tolerate it, wearing sweaters and socks to ward off any residual chill. Use cool or warm water for the laundry instead of hot water, and consider hanging clothes outside to dry in good weather rather than using an electric or gas dryer. Opt for the basic cable television package rather than the deluxe version.

Include Utility Supplements

Instead of running air conditioners in the summer, consider installing ceiling fans or use table fans. Space heaters in cold weather can help reduce whole-house heating bills. Some people use wood burners or fireplaces in the winter to offset gas heating expenses.

Don’t let household necessities gobble up your monthly budget. A few simple steps like these can pare down those costly utility bills and save money for other important things.

The Different Types of Consumer Loans

Most people come to a point in their lives where they need a loan for one reason or another. You could be in debt, funding a new business venture or want to make a large scale purchase. Regardless, there are different types of loans that can help you. Depending on what you need, there are different loans to meet those needs.

Personal Loans

The most common and easily accessible loan is a personal loan. Most banks offer these types of loans by reviewing your income and credit score. They are a good option if you are not in need of a large sum of money. A downfall of these loans are that the interest rates are typically high. People refer to this type of loan as an unsecured loan because there is no collateral backing it (like a car or home).

Credit Cards

Most of the population has credit cards and most merchants accept them as payment. Credit Cards are loans since you are allowed to use their money and pay back at a later date. They are known for their easy and quick application process. Similar to personal loans, they are known for high interest rates.

Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Line of Credit

You can use the equity on your home as collateral for a loan. A home-equity loan is a loan determined by the unused equity in your home. You can determine the equity available for a loan by taking the difference between the home’s market value and the amount still owed on the mortgage.

A home-equity line of credit is very similar to the home-equity loan. With a loan, you receive a sum of money and pay it back. With the line of credit, it is revolving meaning you can keep paying it back and using the loan again.

Title Loans

Title loans are available to use your car title as collateral. If you own the title of your car, it is a possibility for you. You can apply for title loans online as well, which makes it quick and easy. These loans are typically for smaller amounts of money and for short periods of time.

Small Business Loan

If you need a loan to start a business then a Small Business Loan may be a good option for you. With these loans you need to submit a business plan that must be approved by the small business association or lending institution. Being approved is not easy. Most institutions also require you to personally back the loan.

In conclusion, there are many options out there for your loan needs depending on your situation.

4 Careers for Excellent Communicators

Are you a natural people-person?  Does the sound of working in and among jobs where you are constantly connecting, sharing, and creating ideas with other people thrill you?  People skills can seem undervalued by society as a whole, and yet job applications list time and again that they need good communicators.  Perhaps you should play to your strengths and choose a career that will utilize your skills.  After all, it has been said that a job feels less like work if it utilizes your true skills.  If you need guidance in where your soft skills are strongest, try the Gallup StrengthsQuest strengths assessment to gain insight into who you are, where you work best, and how your strengths can contribute to a team and better relationships.  If you already know that you excel in communication, here are the careers that will best suit you.

Law

Every aspect of a career in law—whether you become a lawyer, a judge, a court reporter, correctional officer, or any form of law enforcement—requires excellent communication skills.  As a lawyer, for example, you have the future of your client in your hands.  From start to finish, you will always be connecting with your client, the judge, and the jury.  First, you will have to speak to your client and hear their case.  Then, after examining the evidence, you will have to formulate a case that protects your client’s constitutional rights and brings justice.  With a strong handle and reverence to Constitutional Law, you can use your persuasive communicative abilities to explain your case to the judge and jury.  In addition, you must have a capacity and passion for debate.  Effective debate skills and communication skills will make you a force in the realm of law.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is another job that requires a strong ability to connect with others.  Those who become successful in marketing love thinking of new ideas and collaborating with a team to create a new and innovative communicative strategy.  The primary duty of a person working in marketing is to persuade and appeal to an audience to sell a product or service.  You must be able to gather and interpret data about the dynamics of different demographics, and gather their likes and dislikes.  Then, you must take that data and formulate concepts that will charm the audience.  Marketing jobs can take the form of creating internet ads, reviewing products on a blog or Youtube channel, and even directing commercials. Check out www.careers-in-marketing.com and find a career that suits your aspirations.

Teaching

Communication is absolutely crucial to effective teaching.  Unfortunately, many kids experience teachers who do not know how to teach to their appropriate learning level or apathetic teachers who do not care to learn new methods or expand his or her perspective to the needs of a child.  Teachers who know how to relate to children and teach to a student’s abilities are highly sought after in the field of education.  If you enjoy children, whether they are preschoolers or are in high school, you can put your skills to good use.  While almost any degree can prepare you for education, if you want to work with children in grade school, many districts require that you have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.  An early childhood education degree at GMercyU will help prepare you to shape the young minds of the future.

Journalism

While the current job market for journalism is tumultuous, the need for professionally trained, educated, and qualified journalists is higher than ever.  In our ever-expanding world of technology and social media, the idea that everyone can be a journalist has become a troubling phenomenon.  Now, anyone can become a journalist by posting a photo or video as an event happens live.  Unfortunately, without proper education, an untrained journalist will not know how to research a situation and critically analyze information to report responsibly.  If you like to be in the heart of the action, pursue a master’s in journalism at Northwestern University to make you stand out among the competition.

If you’re an excellent communicator, you’re well prepared to pursue a variety of careers. Find success in numerous fields and industries, and determine which path is the best for your skillset.

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