The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting for the fun stuff along the way.
I am not what anyone would call extremely frugal, but I do enjoy saving money as easily as possible. Since our house has no gas line, our electricity bill could easily become unbearable. Yet, our electric bills for our 1750 square foot home run around $80-$110 during the cooler months and $130-$180 during the hotter ones. That is actually fantastic in and around Houston, Texas!
Here are the 6 tips I use to save money on our electricity bill:
1) Programmable Thermostat
I had no idea how much we were wasting on our air conditioner or heater before we had a programmable thermostat. It was just too easy to forget to adjust the temperature, so we would end up running either unit way too long. Now we schedule certain temperatures for certain times of the day and can just forget about it.
2) Double-Paned Windows
We spent more on electricity in our last 1000 square foot apartment than we do for our entire home. One of the biggest differences is that our house has double-pained windows. They add an amazing amount of extra insulation and block leakage. I am truly impressed. The rooms are noticeably cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and I do thank our windows for that.
3) Lower the Tempurature on the Hot Water Heater
When we moved in, I popped open the electric water heater panel and lowered the temperature to 120 degrees instead of the 140 degrees it was set at. I can’t give you a dollar amount on our savings, but we have more than enough hot water and have a lower electric bill than almost everyone we know. I figure it is at least worth thinking about since it is such an easy change.
4) Ceiling Fans
Everyone I know in Houston fully agrees that ceiling fans are a very easy way to at least feel cooler without pushing the air conditioner to run 24 hours a day. We have a fan in all 3 bedrooms and our living room. They cost $280 4 years ago and enable us to keep the thermostat 2 degrees warmer from March-November. We made our money back in 2 years. During the winter, we switch them to blow backwards and they help to circulate the warm air from the heater.
We love fleece blankets. They are affordable, soft, super comfortable, and can easily get us through the slightly cooler months like November without ever needing to use the heater. Yay for $70 months! If a $5 fleece blanket can save us $20 a month, why not grab a few to keep on the living room couch?
6) Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL’s)
I am not as big of a believer in these as my husband is, but they are an easy change. Anytime a regular bulb burns out, we replace it with a CFL. After 4 years in our home, we are running with about 50% CFL’s. The one time we had a CFL burn out, it was less than a week after we put it in. I called the number on the box, read them the serial number off the bulb, and they sent me a new one within 2 days. I was pretty impressed.
Of course, saving is just one way to cut back on costs and save a few dollars. Another is to reuse or recycle. Similar to saving electricity, recycling aluminum cans isn’t just a good way to get a couple extra bucks each month, but it definitely helps the environment.