Easy strategies to reduce utility bills
Hey everyone — How about that gorgeous weather last week? I just loved the opportunity to throw open the windows and let in a blast of fresh air. Heaven. Along with all of the great news on the weather, however, was sobering news reports regarding the cost of living and its potential climb as we head into another winter. Let’s face it, if this upcoming winter proves to be anything close to the utility headache last winter was, it’s a good idea to take a look at your house for some updated strategies to keep costs to a minimum and keep more money in your pocket.
Here are the tactics that packed a proven punch in my house:
(1) Reduce electric dryer dependence. Those of you familiar with my blog already know I’ve been drying my clothes, the kids’ clothes, sheets, towels, etc. on our clothesline for years now, and it’s taken down costs fabulously (to the tune of thousands of dollars in savings). Yes, I’m the first to admit there is a marked difference in airdried vs. dryer-dried towels. Honestly, it takes the concept of exfoliation to torture camp levels. That being said, towels are an energy hog in the dryer, the meter outside the laundry room window spins at full tilt. Who needs that? Honestly, give it a shot.
(2) Energy saving light bulbs. I recently replaced eighteen 60-watt bulbs with the squiggly energysaving bulbs (they’re 13 watt bulbs that light like 60 watts). Boiling down the math as described on the back of the package, I’m supposed to save approximately .92 per month per bulb, so these bulbs alone should save me around $204/year. That, and their reputation would suggest they’ll last somewhere into the 23rd century. Okay, not that long, but the savings are there, so it’s a smart move.
(3) No more dishwasher use. Again, I’ve had this strategy in play for years, to great success. Energy costs came down huge! Honestly, it doesn’t take that long to do dishes by hand, and the glasses come out perfectly (as opposed to the spotty results in my dishwasher). At this point, I’m using my dishwasher strictly as a drying rack, and running it once every two weeks on low settings just to keep it in good shape.
(4) Turning into the Power Police. At night, and when I leave the house during the day, the computer goes OFF. When it’s a beautiful day, there’s no need to turn on lights, unless complicated surgery is being performed in the same room (unlikely). If I’m cooking on the stove, I cover pots and turn the heat down to simmer. You get the point.
Now, with all of these strategies in play — and they really are pretty easy to implement — utility costs here at the house have been reduced by about 20-30 percent, easily accommodating the any potential spikes in rates. If I can do it, anybody can. If you find your little blue utility envelopes giving you an itch between the shoulder blades, try any or all of these tactics for a powerful punch in savings.
Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living. She cohosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show, and “Dad and Daughter Talk Real Estate” with local Keller Williams Realtor John Herreid Wednesdays at 5 p.m. (www.johnherreid.com). She was raised in Delaware County, and now resides in Chester County with her husband and kids. You can find her online at www. BrilliantFrugalLiving.com