Simple Saving Tips
Unless you live completely off the grid in a cabin in the deep in the woods, utilities are a guaranteed monthly expense.
- Find out when your utility companies have off-peak rates. Use these days/times to do chores that use more energy (laundry, washing dishes, baking, etc.). Rates are lower during these times, so take advantage of this.
- Don’t put hot food directly into the freezer. You’re forcing your freezer to work twice as hard, and you can affect the integrity of other frozen foods. As food cools, the steam will condense, creating water — and that icky “frozen” taste — and this will be twice as awful in a sealed container. And learn to pack your freezer efficiently: you want some space around each item for cold circulation so you’re not overtaxing your unit, but not too much. Make sure freezer items aren’t blocking the freezer’s cooling fan; allow a little space there, too.
- Pick a day to do your laundry weekly — and stick to it. Doing 2-3 medium or large loads once a week is preferable to doing small loads every day. Buy the stick stain pre-treaters and keep them near your hamper and treat any stains when you undress. If the stain has the potential to ruin your clothing (wine, chocolate, grass, tomato-based products), wash and rinse the stained portion in the sink and drape it over the bathtub to dry, and then add it to the next batch of laundry.
- Don’t try to burn a hole through daylight, and don’t light rooms you’re not in. During the day, utilize sunlight (bonus: it will boost your mood, too) when you can. Using lower watt bulbs will save you a few pennies, but there’s no need to leave a light on in rooms you aren’t in (unless safety dictates doing so). Consider investing in nightlights which will allow you to see enough to turn a light on but cost less than pennies per day to operate.
- If you don’t own a tankless water heater, then turn your water heater down a little. Chances are, the setting is hotter than it needs to be, and you won’t even notice a difference in water temperature if you adjust it. You won’t be paying more to over-heat the water in the tank.
- Lastly, in almost all cases, you can save money by switching electric suppliers! Plain and simple, your local utility is rarely the cheapest choice and if you allow them to be your default supplier you are likely spending more than you should!
An essential tool (it will easily pay for itself) in your quest to save electricity is device called the Kill-A-Watt. It plugs into the wall and you plug whatever device you want to “measure” into it. It can tell you how much it costs to charge a cell phone, or how much your spare wine refrigerator, or the kids tv (they hey never shut off) cost to run. Armed with valuable information, you can decide which devices are worth running and which devices are costing more than they are worth. The Doc Frugal household saved about $14 a month, just by realizing what “part time” devices need to be shut off when not absolutely needed!