How I Save Money on My Electricity Bill

When negotiating rent, having to pay the electric bill came as a surprise to me, but by using a great negotiating tactic, we actually got half a month of free rent in return for this concession.

That more than covers even the highest estimates of our electricity usage, but we still enjoying saving where we can. It’s a choice between keeping the money and giving it to the electricity supplier, and while we enjoy the service they provide, we prefer to have the money in our pockets.

We have a few rules we abide by that save a little bit of money each month, and a couple more changes we employ for larger savings, but we agreed that since in a way, it’s already been paid for and then some (by our one-month discount), we wouldn’t scrimp if it meant negatively affecting our lives.

Some of the small things we do include turning off lights when we leave a room and always shutting off the lights in the apartment when we’re out of the house. I have no idea how much money this actually saves us in a given month, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a good habit to have.

We also unplug the tv and cable if we leave for an extended period of time. Again, I have no clue how much this actually saves, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. This calculator at least gives an estimate (the conversion rate is the same, though rates vary across the country (and world)): http://www.synergy.net.au/at_home/energy_calculator.xhtml

We also use some more interactive techniques to help save. In the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall, we use the air conditioning. A lot. We love it cold (we’ve kept our radiators off so far this season), but leaving the air conditioning on all the time is a little overkill and certainly would suck up that extra savings.

So we cut back by setting timers in addition to using the energy saving mode (which keeps the room at a certain temperature by turning off and on as necessary). I use a timer to automatically shut off my air conditioning after a few hours of sleep. Usually, the air stays cool until I wake up and leave in the morning. If I don’t miss it, why not?

Readers, how do you save on your electricity bill? Should I go crazy and reduce my quality of life to save more money? Should the savings on that half month of rent be irrelevant here?

7 Responses to How I Save Money on My Electricity Bill

  1. DoNotWait says:

    Turning down computer is also pretty simple but effective. Turning down outside lights when you go to bed (for some reason, many of my neighbors keep them on the entire night… 7 days a week!) and taking shorter showers with not too hot water are others. Do you do that only to save money or also to be “greener”?

    • Daniel says:

      @DoNotWait, Definitely also to be greener. If it’s not something I’m going to actually measure, I’m not so concerned with the potentially small savings, but it’s also just a good habit for the environment.

      • DoNotWait says:

        @Daniel,
        Nice! I think the first reason why someone should change its habits is for the environment. Then, if it results in savings, it is even better. I don’t know how it could work in your place, but I also heard about solar panels. I don’t have some myself, but one of my neighbor does and he apparently can heat up most of his house during winter and cool it down during summer with that. I heard they were expensive, but maybe it’s worth the investment on the long run.

  2. Heather says:

    We use CFL bulbs, and it made a surprising difference right away. We also installed a ceiling fan on both floors of the house – running those is less expensive than the furnace & it helps move the air/heat throughout the house.

    And, while I wouldn’t recommend replacing your appliances just for energy star purposes, I did find a significant difference when we updated our washer & dryer. We added a storm door last year, and watched our energy bills drop yet again.

    It’s little tricks that really add up and keep utility costs under control.

  3. Briana @ GBR says:

    Fortunately, we qualified for a low income discount of 20% because of my initial pay check. We live in a one bedroom apartment that has an electric stove that we use to cook all the time, as well as an AC unit. Our bill has yet to go over $29, even with extensive use of the AC during the summer. It’s wonderful; can’t imagine life without it.

  4. krantcents says:

    I too use CFL lights and use a setback thermostat. Changing filters and closing blinds, shutters and drapes also helps. I live in Southern California where summer temperatures can reach 100 for weeks! My electric bill is under $85.00 per month even in the summer time for 1,850 sq. ft. house

  5. Smart Energy says:

    Our family have used several different tactics to reduce our electricity by 50%. Some of the more effective: switching to CFL lights, switching to front load washer and dryer combo (these use a lot less energy than conventional models.)

    Another thing we have done is to change the power management settings on all our computers to have them hibernate after 30 minutes of inactivity. No use burning 200 watts when we are not using them.

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