Keeping your utilities in check is important when you’re trying to stick to a budget. It can be confusing, though, to try to figure out what works. Here are five of the best ways to keep your utilities from eating up more than their fair share of your budget and leaving the world a little better than you found it.
Energy Efficient Lighting
Traditional incandescent bulbs are energy hogs. Fortunately, there are more efficient bulbs on the market. Typical incandescent bulbs have been replaced by halogen incandescent bulbs (better, but not great); compact fluorescent bulbs (much better; longer life); and LED lighting (still in its infancy; expensive but highly efficient; long-lasting). Replacing traditional bulbs with compact fluorescents can save up to 50% of the energy cost for lighting your home and is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce utility bills.
Your house should be insulated using an appropriate R-rating insulation for your climate. Ensuring that your home is well-insulated and draft-free is one of the easier ways to cut your utility bills over a long period.
Setting your thermostat to let your house be warmer or colder than normal during hours when you’re not there or are sleeping can save you hundreds of dollars on your home heating and cooling costs. Programmable thermostats can be found for as little as $20 and are easy to install.
By plugging your charging cords into a power strip with an on/off switch, you can turn the power to them off with a single flip of the switch. Charging cords which are left plugged in drain a lot of power, and you’re more likely to turn off a power strip, than to plug and unplug charging cords every day. The same is true for any small appliances, including toasters, coffee makers, microwaves and others; just flip the switch before you leave or whenever they’re not being used.
Energy Star Appliances
Replacing your inefficient appliances with Energy Star-rated appliances may seem like a costly step, but that’s only true in the short term. Energy Star appliances start saving money and cutting your utility bill as soon as you plug them in. You don’t have to do it all at once, either. Changing one inefficient appliance for an Energy Star appliance will make a difference in your utility costs.