Not sure about you all, but if I’m making a conscious effort to save money, an article telling me to buy all new energy efficient appliances and replace all of my light bulbs is not exactly helpful in the moment! Saving electricity vs. saving money are two entirely different things. Whatever your motivation, here are a few ways you can potentially save money simply by modifying your energy use and habits -– without cracking open your already depleted piggy bank.
1. Switch your electricity supplier.This one’s a no-brainer and may save you upwards of 20% on your electricity supply portion of your bill. If you live in an electricity-deregulated state like Illinois, Texas, New York, Ohio, etc., you have the option to choose who supplies your electricity. Often suppliers are able to offer lower electricity supply rates because they can buy electricity more frequently than your local utility, they are buying for fewer customers, and they have lower overhead, so they may be able to achieve lower rates. Be sure to compare all of the suppliers’ rates in your area, and also weigh those against the supply rates being offered by your local electric utility to ensure you are receiving the best electricity supply rate. The great thing is that your local utility will continue to deliver the electricity to your home, so you won’t lose power and no one needs to visit your home when you switch. Like I said, No-Brainer!
2. Unplug your appliances when not in use.
Known as energy vampires, appliances can still suck up electricity if they’re plugged in but not even powered on. For more info on this, check out our blog post on the topic from a few months back. According to the U.S. Energy Department, 25% of the power consumed by home electronics is consumed while they are turned off.
3. Check the thermostat in your fridge.
According to the USDA, refrigerators should be set to maintain a temperature of 40 °F or below. Is your fridge colder than necessary? Check the temp with a thermometer, and then turn that puppy up a little if it’s too cold. And, go ahead, shut off that icemaker. Get some of those little plastic ice trays instead. Or, skip the ice altogether. Every little bit helps!
4. Unplug your laptop once it is charged.
Then sing it a lullaby and put that baby to sleep before you hit the sack for the night.
5. Eat dinner by candlelight.
If you’re anything like my family, you can use a little relaxation after a long day of work and chasing kiddies around. Candlelight sets the mood… and you never know where that can lead!
6. Go TV-free a few days a week.
Break out the Scrabble board, play some Pigmania (my all-time favorite!), or invite some friends over for a game of Euchre. (Just be sure to play by candlelight!)
7. Flip on that trusty little booklight.
You know, the one your Aunt Ruby gave you for your birthday last year. You don’t really need to light up a big room just to read a small book, now do ya?
8. Hang up your clothes to dry outside in the sunshine.
If you’re like me, you may have thought your gas dryer (or your gas furnace) doesn’t use electricity. And you would be WRONG. That’s why it’s plugged into the wall! The heat comes from gas, but the drum spins by a motor, which runs on electricity. (Learn something new every day, right?) Electric dryers use about twice the amount of electricity as gas dryers. And, if you want to take it a step further… don’t wash your clothes every single time you wear them. Unless you have really bad aim with your fork, that is. Or you forget to wear deodorant one day. Just give that shirt the smell-test, and decide whether to hang it back up in your closet, or free-throw it into the nearest laundry basket.
9. Only do dishes when the dishwasher is completely full, and turn off that heat dry setting.
Or, you could hand-wash everything, just make sure not to run the hot water too long or your gas bill might take a hit.
10. Think of appliances you use but don’t really need.
For example, throw out the scraps of food on your plate instead using the garbage disposal. (Or, if you’re really on the ball, you can compost them!) Work a ‘70s look and let your hair air-dry whenever possible. Do your makeup next to a window instead of in the powder room. Mash your potatoes with a fork instead of using the hand mixer. Sweep instead of vacuum. The list goes on and on. Once you start thinking of the electric gadgets you use each day, you might discover there was actually once life before them. Give it a try!
And here’s a few more bonus tips:
- Close your blinds in the summer, open them in the winter.
- Turn on your ceiling fans instead of running your AC.
- Clean the filters on your AC unit and furnace, as well as the coils on your fridge. They’ll all run more efficiently.
- Use your phone as an alarm clock. Toss that old school clock radio in the recycle bin.
Once your savings start kicking in from employing some or all of these helpful tips, you can invest in some updates within your home, such as purchasing energy-saving appliances, hook-up a programmable thermostat, replacing all of your light bulbs with CFL or LEDs, and installing motion-detecting light fixtures.
Do you have some no-cost energy-saving tips of your own to share? Add them to the comments below!