When most people think about getting a home, they don’t always think through the additional expenses they will be responsible for. Paying rent or a mortgage is just the beginning of the bills you have to pay in life. Depending on the size of the house you live in, the amount you pay in utilities can be a lot. So, what are ways to save money on a tight budget for utilities?
Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
Here are seven ways to save money on a tight budget for utilities. It is important to remember that these are general tips to help you to save money on your monthly utility bills.
Look over your utility bills and household budget and brainstorm ways that you can save more money relative to your personal circumstances.
Unplug and Turn Off Unused Appliances
Charles Darwin allegedly once said that anyone who would waste an hour would never understand the priceless value of life. To update that saying, anyone who wastes electricity while surviving on a fixed income has yet to understand the value of money.
In other words, if you are paying for utilities but actively wasting electricity then you have no right to complain about high bills. One of the simplest ways to save money on a tight budget when paying utilities is to turn off or unplug unused appliances.
Start by readjusting your mindset when it comes to using electric appliances. Create new mental habits and stick to them so that they become psychological second nature.
When you leave a room, turn the lights off. Turn off any electric appliances or unplug them when not in use.
Buy Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
One of the best ways to save money on a tight budget is to learn which light bulbs are the most energy-efficient. Cheap, incandescent light bulbs will waste the most money on your electricity bills. Incandescent 40-watt light bulbs will cost you about $0.04 per hour in utility bills.
And the higher the bulb wattage, then the higher the electricity bill. Even though this does not sound like a lot of money, it adds up over time. And since cheap light bulbs are energy inefficient and not designed to have long, you’ll waste a lot of money buying replacement bulbs.
Incandescent light bulbs are very old technology. And they only give off about 10% light energy when activated. Incandescent light bulbs give off 90% of their operational energy as wasted heat.
Some energy studies suggest that incandescent light bulbs are only 2% efficient as a lighting source and waste the rest of their energy as heat.
So, the more you use incandescent light bulbs, the more energy is wasted. Additionally, since they are designed not to last long, the more that you use them, then the faster their operational life span is exhausted.
LED light bulbs use over 90% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last over 25 times longer.
Turn Off the Energy Vampires
Remember when I said it is important to unplug and turn off electrical appliances when leaving a room? Unfortunately, this advice can become moot with electric appliances and devices we take for granted.
For example, when do we ever unplug a refrigerator or an alarm clock? Since those are vital appliances, we don’t think about unplugging them.
But one of the best ways to save money on a tight budget is to always remember to turn off the energy vampires in your home.
Energy vampires are electric devices and appliances that siphon energy from plugs and plug outlets even when they are off. Energy vampire appliances and devices go into “standby” mode even when they are off. And appliances and devices in standby mode still siphon energy as if they were actively operational.
Energy vampire electronics may add over 10% to your annual energy bill, or even more.
What are energy vampires? Your laptop computer is one. Set your laptop to sleep mode and disable screensavers to save money.
Your flatscreen is an energy vampire too. You can buy special power strips that prevent electricity flowing to the flatscreen when not in use.
Your microwave, smart devices, video game consoles, and laser printers are also energy vampires. Here is a link that can inform you on how to save money on them.
You can save anywhere between $100 to $250 disabling energy vampires in your home.
Assess Window Sealant Replacement
Inefficient insulation sealant around your window frames can let heat escape your home and cold air come in during the winter.
Think about it – the heat energy you pay for via your thermostat and hot water heater gets wasted. And since you need to pay for more heat energy to replace the lost heat, the wasteful and expensive cycle will continue.
Inspect your windows’ caulking every season, especially before winter, to see if they need replacing or reinforcing. This is one of the best ways to save money on a tight budget.
Air Dry Clothes Whenever Possible
Clothes dryers are convenient, but they eat up a lot of electricity whenever used. Why not air-dry your clothes on a clothesline in the backyard or on clotheslines in a large room?
Using a full clothes dryer adds about $0.72 for every hour of operation to your energy bill.
Use Energy-Efficient Showerheads
Did you know that the typical American household uses over 40 gallons of water daily just for showering? Over 1.2 trillion gallons of water are collectively used in the United States annually for showering and bathing.
The typical American showerhead propels over 2.5 gallons of water per minute when in use. One of the best ways to save money on a tight budget is to switch to a low-flow showerhead like WaterSense.
WaterSense showerheads require less than 2 gallons of water per minute when in use. You can waste less water and less heated water with a WaterSense showerhead.
Americans could collectively save over $2.9 billion annually on their water bills if they all switched to low-flow showerheads. Additionally, they could save $2.5 billion on their energy costs for heating water.
And every household could save over 2,700 gallons of water annually by switching to low-flow showerheads.
Calibrate Ceiling Fans to Rotate in Different Directions According to Season
One of the best ways to save money on a tight budget when it comes to utility bills is to set your fan in the right direction according to the season.
First of all, ceiling fans are a great way to save money on air conditioning energy costs. And you can use them to use them in the winter to run your furnace less and set the thermostat a lot lower.
But it depends on what direction the ceiling fan is rotating.
In the summer, your ceiling fan should rotate in the counterclockwise direction. You should feel a cool breeze under the fan.
In the winter, rotate the ceiling fan blades in the clockwise direction. That way, you won’t feel a breeze from the fan. As warm air circulates upward, the ceiling fan will push it downwards from the ceiling to circulate the room.
Just make sure that your home and windows are well insulated.
Your ceiling fan should have a switch or button that allows it to change direction as it rotates.
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Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.