Be sure to check out the other posts in my ABCs of Frugal Living series!
Household utilities really add up, and probably make up most of our expenses, besides the mortgage. Most of these are necessary evils, so although we still have to pay for them, there a few ways that we can save money on household utilities to put toward savings or whatever else we need.
Here are the biggest utilities we spend money on and how we reduce costs:
One of the easiest ways for us to save money is through our heating and air conditioning. We’ve learned to adjust to the extreme temperatures of summer and winter, and move our thermostat accordingly.
In the summer, we keep our house set at 78 degrees (74 at night), and in the winter, we keep it at 68 (62 at night). We just wear hoodies inside and sit with blankets if it gets cold, and we make sure to drink water and keep our ceiling fans on when it gets hot.
Now, we live in Ohio, so the temperatures aren’t too radical, so adjust yours to what makes you most comfortable wherever you live.
We also have a programmable thermostat that we can schedule to turn on and off at certain times or days. I’m at home with Allison now so we don’t set it to weird temperatures during the day, but at least on Sundays, we have the thermostat turned off until after church.
If you work during the day and no one is home, there’s no point in keeping your heat or air conditioning running while you’re gone. You can set it to turn on a half hour before you get home and it’s like there’s no difference!
Something that I still work on is making my laundry-doing more efficient. We’re a family of 3, so I do laundry just twice a week, but I feel like I could be doing more to save money here. In the past, we made our own laundry soap but have since switched because I can actually save more money buying pre-made detergent when it’s on sale.
When possible, consider line-drying your clothes as opposed to running them in the dryer. Hang up a line outside, or even inside if you have the space, or buy a drying rack. I’ve heard people say they run their clothes through the dryer for like 10 minutes and then hang them to dry, to help jump-start the process. I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds like a great idea!
My dryer takes around 90 minutes to dry a load, so I wonder how much we could save by just line-drying our clothes!
This can be as simple as turning the light off when you walk out of a room. Seems simple, but I catch myself leaving lights on left and right. We have French doors in our living room that let in a lot of light, so that helps in reminding me I don’t need the living room lights on all the time.
If you’re like me and have a lot of gaming systems, you’re probably using up a lot of electricity just having them plugged in and on standby. This is also called “Vampire power”. Consider buying a power strip to plug them all into, and turning it off when not in use. This is a really interesting chart that shows how much power is being used just being in standby!
These days, owning just a cell phone has become the norm. Landlines are phasing out, and I can tell because the cable company keeps offering *AMAZING* deals on a landline if we get a cable package! It’s just so much easier to have just a cell phone, and you’ll save at least a few dollars a month just by not having a landline. Here’s how we were able to reduce our cell phone bill by $40 a month!
Cable is a huge expense that we just decided we didn’t want anymore. It happened right around when Allison was born, when we realized we just wouldn’t have time to watch TV like we used to. Instead, we opted for a Roku, which allows us access to different video channels like Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus.
We now pay an average of $20 a month for Netflix and Amazon Prime and get a ton of shows and movies, especially ones that Allison loves like Daniel Tiger and My Little Pony. We were paying over $100 a month just for the cable and DVR, so I’d consider that a huge savings!
Also, there’s no harm in asking for a better price or deal! Just recently, John called to see if there were any promotions going on, and they offered us a much higher internet speed for the same price. It doesn’t always work, but remember to be polite, and they’ll usually work with you.
Your water bill seems like it should be an easy one to cut back on, but think of all the different things we use water for: Flushing the toilet, washing dishes, taking a shower, brushing our teeth… It’s easy to just not pay attention to how we’re using water. Here are some quick tips to try and reduce your water usage:
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth
- Take quicker showers as opposed to a bath
- Avoid pre-rinsing dishes if possible, if using a dishwasher (Except for peanut butter. Our dishwasher hates cleaning off peanut butter.)
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full to maximize the water usage
What are some of your biggest money-saving tips on household utilities? Share in the comments!