Cutting costs without suffering.
The winter is in full force, and although it's been unusually warm in some areas so far, it's starting to get colder. Along with the cold weather comes large utility bills. For many of us who are feeling the pinch of the current economic recessions, those who are underemployed or looking for jobs, these added expenses can really take a bite out of our budgets.
This year, my New Year's resolution was to live more frugally, but without having to do without the things that are really important. So, how can you save money on utility bills without bundling up in coats at home?
Here are 5 great ways to save money on your utility bills:
Do an energy check at night - Before you go to bed, go around your house and make sure that everything is turned off. It's a hard habit to get into, but it can really save you a lot of money. Check for lights, televisions, fans and other appliances and electronics. Just one ceiling fan can cost up to $35 dollars a year to run during the night, a traditional light bulb costs $21 and a compact fluorescent costs $9. This can really add up over time.
Check your water heater - The experts agree that your water heater should be set at 120 degrees. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that setting your water heater at 140 degrees can cost you up to $61 in heat loss and up to $400 annually just to heat water to that high of a temperature. If you are going to be gone for a few days, turn your water heater down or even off. Remember that even though you aren't using water while your gone, the water cools down and the water heater has to reheat it over and over.
Invest in re-usable filters - Instead of buying the cheap, disposable filters for your heating and air conditioner, buy the reusable ones. They cost a little more, but since you can rinse them off and reuse them, instead of having to remember to buy new ones, you'll be more likely to keep your filter clean. Dirty filters can make your system less efficient and even cause it to break, costing you lots of money.
Look into upgrading your appliances - Many state and local governments offer incentive programs for homeowners who upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. Find out what they are in your area and think about upgrading. Not only can you save money in taxes and on your purchase but your monthly utility bills will drop as well.
Buy a programmable thermostat - These devices have gotten less expensive over the years and it's still the best way to save money. You can program your heat and air conditioner to work less during the times that you aren't home, which saves you money. In fact, the EPA estimates that a programmable thermostat can save an average of $180 a year.
What other ways do you save money on your utilities? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for PhillyJobsBlog and Nexxt, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.