15 Ways to CRUSH your Utility Bills

Published on January 6, 2016 By Lauren

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    This month we are taking a look at all the ways to save money in our budget. These savings can go a long way towards paying off debt, increasing an emergency fund, or saving for a vacation.

    Let’s take a look at how to easily save the most money on utilities.  Although it may seem like we are stuck paying hundreds of dollars each month to the utility companies, there are numerous steps you can take to reduce your monthly bill without feeling the pinch.

    Here are 15 easy ways that you can cut your bill down every month of the year.

    1. Use dryer balls in the dryer.

    save on utilities

    These inexpensive wool balls can be used to decrease drying time for your clothes. They allow you to skip fabric softener as well, saving you even more money. Another economical version of this is to use aluminum foil.

    2. Wash clothes on cold.

    Cold water requires less energy to wash which saves you money.

    3. Replace light bulbs.

    save on utilities

    As your current bulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LED bulbs. Personally – I don’t like the light from CFL’s, so I’m trying to buy LED’s as my current light bulbs die… and they’re MUCH cheaper than they used to be! Check out this 6-pack on Amazon! And it’s nice to know I can go another decade or so before I have to replace them again.

    4. Adjust your thermostat.

    Moving your thermostat up or down a few degrees will save you hundreds of dollars each year. Especially if you use electric heat anywhere in your house.

    You can also install a Nest Thermostat. This can help you save hundreds per year! I have one and LOVE it!

    5. Turn your hot water heater down.

    If your water isn’t being heated over 120 degrees, you are saving on energy.

    6. Do chores at night. 

    Run the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer later at night when energy costs are cheaper. Utility companies will charge more for energy that’s being used during peak times.  Plan to run these appliances when costs are cheaper.

    But – this will only work if your utility company is had “dual time” rates. Many have flat rates and it doesn’t matter what time you use energy.

    7. Air dry your clothes.

    This might be hard to do in the colder months, but once it’s nice outside, I LOVE the smell of line-dried clothes.

    8. Clean or replace your HVAC filter monthly.

    save on utilities

    Save money by buying your filters in bulk. Just search for the right dimensions and specs and you can find 6 or 10 packs on Amazon for a fraction of the cost of the big box stores.

    9. Unplug appliances when you are not using them.

    Get in the habit of not just turning off the lamp but unplugging it. Even items that are turned off pull electricity when they are plugged in. An easy way to do this is plug things into a power strip and unplug it when you are not using them. You can also upgrade to a smart power strip which might be easier.

    10. Contact your utility company.

    There may be some cost-savings programs available to you. There are some companies installing remotely controlled thermostats that are set to shut off from time to time. You won’t notice the difference except on your monthly bill.

    11. Keep your home sealed tight.

    Not only should you cover drafty windows with plastic in the winter, but you should also install weather stripping around doors which allows air in and out. You can also install insulation pads to go inside electrical outlets and add spray foam around windows that will allow your utility costs to decrease.

    These following 4 options will require some up-front costs; use as many outlets for saving yourself money on these before purchasing.

    12. Install ceiling fans in all rooms.

    These will help keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The cost savings comes because they use less energy than the furnace or an A/C unit.

    13. Change your shower head and faucets.

    You can purchase a low flow shower head which doesn’t cost a lot and will push out less water. Or you can purchase a slightly more expensive shower head with ShowerStart technology.

    These shower heads conserve all the water that runs while you wait for it to warm up and alerts you to it. The cost of these shower heads should be recovered in just a couple of months.

    14. Install a programmable thermostat.

    save on utilities

    Set the thermostat to lower during the day when you aren’t home and at night when you are sleeping. By using a program, you won’t forget to lower it before you leave and wind up heating an empty home (I hate when this happens!).

    With today’s technology, there are even some thermostats that program themselves! This thermostat by Nest automatically changes and learns your daily routines without you having to do anything.

    15. Upgrade your appliances.

    Don’t rush out to upgrade right away, but when one appliance breaks down consider replacing them with the best energy saving appliance you can afford. Bonus savings: There are sometimes tax exemptions for these purchases as well.

    With just a few simple, no-cost or inexpensive changes you can easily lower your utility costs this month. Adding in a bit of an investment into your home with a programmable thermostat, an upgraded shower head, or new appliances may cost you now but will pay off in the long run. Any of these 15 steps will save you money on your utilities right away.

    save on utilities


  • I don’t believe that lamps will draw electricity when they are off. The only reason it wouldn draw electricity is if it had some kind of standby mode, like a microwave for example has a clock which would draw some electrical current, but I don’t believe this will happen with a lamp.

    • Instead of guessing, do some research and give your opinions some validity. Your beliefs are subjective to your own life and environment conditions (ie upbringing, education, friends etc.). Find out for sure.

  • I had energy assistance tighten up the garage.it hasn’t dropped below 50 degrees down there. New refrirgerator .new garage doors. New sliding glass door on the back of the house energy assist has tighten up the house to the max. My electric bill was still 250.

    • We put in a energy saving dishwasher. Washer and dryer. New energy efficient smart tvs. Changed all light bulbs with energy efficient ones. No change. Since the electric company came and changed all the meters 3 months ago our bill has doubled. 600 month

      • check if the theres a phantom draw anywhere in the house, where its a constant draw that you just havent found yet, and also check if the price per kilowatt has gone up in your area

  • I switched all my bulbs to 9w bulbs and are in the process of replacing my curling to 60w led fans do far my bill has dropped from $230 to $100 dollars and I even started using my propane outside grill nearly every day and keep my thermostats on low, good luck !

    • That’s impressive, but don’t forget laws of conservation.
      Over-simplified, you will spend less money on your electric bill but transfer the cost over to propane. I also hope you are not using your grill for anything other than cooking outside. Bringing a grill indoors to cook is dangerous, and incredibly irresponsible if you are using it to assist in heating your home.
      Please be safe.

  • All these tips worked to me, but I would like to share something about switching with a renewable power source such as solar panels. I can guarantee that aside from saving your money from the power bill, you could also help the environment using green energy for consumption. It’s really a win-win deal. 🙂

    • when you save on energy, you’re actually using less coal to provide that power from the energy company itself, so lowering costs in and of itself is good for the enviroment

  • Read the ideas and turning off power points etc does not make a difference. People who live in rental housing are not allowed to touch thermostats or change lighting or install fans etc. Trying to negotiate with owners is almost impossible if it will cost them any money and most renters cannot afford to pay themselves and why should we when it is the owners who actually benefit long term.
    here we are down to two older people in rental house which is old housing trust renovated house so though renovated we cannot even change the lightbulbs or anything here as has to go through agent and owners and every suggestion goes nowhere.
    i have tried the suggestions and even ones from electricity provider as house is all electric and nothing makes much difference except dont cook and washing is only once a week now and showers minimum to five minutes with ten to wash hair.
    wont make any difference.
    we joined RAA to get 22% discount on the bill and that helped as the offset of paying for RAA every year and think about it you get that road assistance if you break down etc and other offers if you want and the discount from the provider is more per year.
    only real answer i have at moment and my bills are still climbing.

    • Wow. I live in an apartment and use the thermostat, can change lightbulbs. I can’t put in a ceiling fan of course but I can buy a fan to plug in. It’s getting warmer outside now, but I haven’t turned AC on yet. Black out curtains help a lot, I open windows at night to let cool air in. Turn off lights. My electric bill this month was 26 dollars

      • I live in an apartnment as well and control my thermostat, can also put in ceiling fans if I want to.

  • Right after the electric company put in new meters my bill went from $158 per month to $258 per month. My husband recently passed away and I’m living on social security now. Bathing less, washing clothes in cold water at night and once a week, doing all that has been suggested has not lowered my electric bill. My income has gone down and my bills have gone up. I guess I will use a plug in fan, go out to eat and walk around in the dark……otherwise I will lose my home. I’ve been using oil lamps to save as well.

  • Julie, my heart goes out to you. I’m in the same boat and have done the same things to save on bills. I’m praying I don’t loose my home too,

  • Unfortunately cheaper electric bills are at odds with green initiatives. Your bill is higher due to taxes to support green initiatives, and solar and wind energy is more expensive and less practical or else we would all be using it. The government should have bought LED replacement bulbs for every home and business rather than wasted it on other failed initiatives. That would have instantly saved significant energy. The should also offer a multi billion dollar reward for companies that can double battery efficiency at affordable cost rather than offer tax incentives for people buying technology that isn’t there yet.

  • I called Alabama Power and spoke to a representative about energy savings on my account. She said someone will be contacting me about coming out and checking my home and giving me some ideas on saving energy on my electricity. No one yet. Maybe it was just to shut me up. This bill has gotten out of hand. There’s no way I’ve gone from summer 198/225 to 280/290 in winter. I was told my bill will actually go down in the winter by a representative several times. . When in winter months it is supposed to be cheaper. Every since Alabama Power upgraded to a new system with no one coming out to turn off your electricity. It’s gone up 50/60 dollars that is outright highway robbery.. I Know I’m talking ancient days but since our land has been stolen from our ancestors and claimed by others it’s been down hill every since. Our ancestors familiar have to pay for everything as if it was never theirs to begin with. Take land and credit for lights and everything that has been invented by African Americans. Now they have to pay to receive any of it. Their rights and everything was stolen from them and their families. Now paying for it as if it was never theirs to begin with. It’s sad and these companies are extremely to high for people that are on fixed incomes or others that are just making it. They only worry about adding more money. I’ve unplugged everything in my home a whole month and turned off my air or adjusted it to save and still only save 25/30. It’s really sad to be extremely high. Something is definitely wrong with this . Im determine to find out why is this happening. Sincerely an angry woman of color.

  • I can relate to that also. My bill was $300 and more at times. All I had running was an electric water tank turned down to 120 degrees and my bill went up $40.

  • The same thing has happened to me. I turned everything off in my home because I had to take care of my parents out of town for 2 months. I turned my breaker off to my hot water heater before I left. Unplugged computer, printer and tv’s. I pay for an 8.00 a month light that comes on in my yard at dark. My power bill was still $289.00 a month, with me not being home. I do not understand it. Water went up, sewer went up, Gulf Power went up. Health insurance is outrageous with less and less coverage but higher deductibles. Everything keeps going up in price, except my money. I’m terrified of how I will make ends meet the older I get. Scares me to death. I can not save much now for retirement from paying such high bills now, just to survive. Nothing fancy, nothing extra, very frugal. Just paying out my butt to live. I never dreamed in a million years things would be this way. I thought things were suppose to be easier and better with age, not worse. Other than health.

  • I moved and when I did I went to prepay in my electric bill. That has made me very aware of what I’m using and when. My bill has dropped $100 or more in the past 2 months.

  • I’ve done several things to help lower my electric bill and over time, they’ve added up to a welcome savings.
    One of the first things I did was to build window insulating panels for all my windows. I used 1 x 2 inch strips of wood to build frames for each of the smaller size windows. Each frame was custom built for each window as although they are all the same size, they sometimes vary by a very small fraction of an inch. I left a small quarter of an inch of open space across the top of the panels which makes them easier to remove. I covered the frames with a double layer of plastic sheeting that I attached with a staple gun to the backs of the frames. These panels are a press fit and super easy to install if you measure carefully. This is an economical way to help keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the colder months.
    Before I installed the window panels, I covered the lower part of each window with aluminum foil to keep out the summer heat from the sun. Since the upper part of the glass windows are left uncovered by the foil, this allows for some light to shine in through the plastic sheeting.
    My two large picture windows are each protected by covered porches and I covered both of these with plastic sheeting on the outside of the house using a staple gun.
    The downside to this is that the only plastic plastic sheeting that I could find in large rolls was not perfectly clear so I can no longer enjoy looking out my windows but I do significantly save on my electric bill.
    I also keep my hot water heater turned down so low that I’ve almost never heard it come on since I turned it down. I can still take a shower but the water is barely warm enough to make do with it. Hey, it works!
    Before I did the window project, I built a clothesline and I now almost NEVER use the dryer. When this dryer stops working, I do not plan on getting a replacement. I grew up with a clothesline so I’m well used to living without a dryer.
    I no longer use my heat pump which also saves a lot of expense. Several years ago, it quit working and I just never got it fixed. I use fans in the summer and during the winter months, I use a Delonghi oil filled radiator heater in the living room. The way my house is laid out, one side is the predominate side that me and the pets live on so that’s all that occasionally gets a little heat to help knock the chill off.
    Rather than pay a fortune to heat or cool the house, I’ve found that it helps to dress for the seasons. In the winter, I wear thermal under ware along with layers of clothes and a warm knit cap and during the summer, I dress to stay cooler. I know I live what would be considered a rather rustic lifestyle, but compared to how I had to live way back many years ago when I was working my way through college, this is paradise!

  • If you live in a deregulated energy state (like Texas) you can choose your own energy provider. It’s important to read the contract and understand all the small fees and pricing tiers. Some plans can be perfect for smaller apartments, while others are priced for larger homes.

    You need to understand the actual costs for your monthly usage – after all the fees and discounts. Too many times I see homeowners that simply sign up to the cheapest advertised rate only to find out that they pay more than they are supposed to. There are comparison sites that can give you the bottom line price like powertochoose.org and slashplan.com

    Next time you’re shopping for energy you should give some of these services a try.

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