WCCU Family Blog
Don’t Let Utility Bills Drain Your Checking Account
When I look at how best to save money for our family, my first consideration is…what changes will have the biggest impact. For us, and likely for you, utility bills are high on the list. For starters, these are monthly bills so any cutback achieved provide saving every month!
Here are every-month, everyday ideas for you to consider when looking to save . First is a big one for us in Wisconsin, electricity or gas bills. Because of our hot and muggy summer and our severe winter, home heating and cooling cost are hard to manage.
TIPS FOR SUMMERTIME SAVINGS
Open the windows – luckily we’ve had a mild summer, so letting in the breeze naturally cool the house. If you aren't getting the airflow you want through the house make sure you have windows open on both ends of the house so the wind can blow through the entire house.
Use a fan instead of Air Conditioning – position a fan in front of an open window to help pull some air into the house. If you are using a fan, make sure try to use something that is efficient with energy consumption. No point in using a huge fan from the 1970's that consume energy like crazy.
Energy efficient light bulbs – this can really save money in the long run. Look for the right sales to get them at a right price; Costco and Menards are good stores to look for great deals on energy efficient bulbs. Along the same lines don’t forget to turn out the lights! This is a simple thing but many people consistently forget to turn out the lights when they leave a room, go to bed, or leave for work. That is a lot of wasted energy.
Conserve on Air Conditioning – if its 90 and muggy, I’m going to be miserable without air conditioning! But once you get the house cooled down… be conscious conserving that cool air; don’t leave doors or windows open. It’s best to close up the house and keep cool air getting out. Another thing is if you have big windows facing the sun during peak or late afternoon times that sun can really heat up the house. So try closing the blinds, so you don’t let your house bake in the sun. Another tip a lot of people don’t think about is that bathroom fan, don’t run the fan too long if you are trying to keep your cool air in the house. All that is doing is sucking cool air out of the house.
TIPS FOR SAVING ON HEATING COSTS
Now its time to talk about heating costs...Winter is right around the corner after all L Those months bring hefty heating bills along with them. January and February, it is practically sticker-shock!
Weather proof or winterize your windows - many homes let little drafts in through small gaps in the windows. You can use window winterization kits to help prevent drafts.
Let the sun shine in – On the flip side of summer time, we want the sun work in your favor. Many times the coldest days of the year are sunny, so open the blinds to let the sun warm up your house.
Time for a tune-up - changing your furnace filter is very important for the efficiency of your furnace. This is another item you want to buy when on sale, they can be expensive so search for sales and buy enough to cover you for a while.
Year round saving tip – Put your thermostat to work for you. Changing the temperature by a degree or two either way during winter or summer can help you save $10-15/month. Also if you can let the house run a little warm or cold depending on the season when you are out of the house and at night time.
There is more to utilities than gas and electric – these aren’t utilities, but they are monthly expenses.
- My biggest tip that I cannot emphasis enough is shop around. Shop, shop, shop... Call your providers and let them know you are shopping they will typically give you a better deal.
- Even if you have no intention of switching because its "too much hassle" you can call around get prices and call your provider with some research that you have done and tell them you want to switch. They will almost 99% of the time give you a better deal to keep you. Worst case they let you know that they are giving you the best deal they can and you stay with them. I recently saved $20 a month on my cell phone bill by doing this. $20! A month! That's $240 a year!!!
- Typically, you will save about $5-10/mo per provider by just reviewing your current account with them and asking for specials. Obviously you can’t call back every other month and keep getting them to lower thee price until you have it for free, but I recommend you try talking with every provider once a year or every other year. You will make sure you are keeping your prices low.
- Get to know all the options you are paying to receive and cut those you don’t need
I hope these tips help you save some money on those monthly expenses. What is great about these is that one change or phone call can keep paying over month after month. Every $1 saved multiply by 12 months provides $12 in annual savings, it adds up fast!
We would love to hear some of your tips for saving on utility costs in the comments section below.