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More and more of our utility companies are offering a low cost rate for X amount of time at a very good price to lure you into signing up for their service. Cable and cell phone companies are the worst.
Before signing up though, you need to find out what the cost of that service will be after that X amount of time expires. The companies won't want to give that information up, because the price after that time is so much higher than what it is during the sale period. But if you are persistent, insistent, and determined you will be able to get the answer. Whether you like the answer or not is an individual choice. But it's the only way to make an informed decision.
Before we signed up for the cable package we have, I forced them to tell me what the future cost would be after the initial sale period ended. It took a lot of arguing, but they finally told me what it would be.
Unfortunately we didn't do this when we got our cell phones. Initially we were paying a very low price and were extremely happy. But as soon as the sale period ended, wham! Our bill almost doubled. Then 6 months later it went up again another almost $15. It has gone up twice since the initial sale period ended.
So it's extremely important to force the company to tell you what the price will be after the sale period ends. That way you can make an intelligent informed decision.
By Cricket from NC
I spoke with my provider, AT&T, on another subject today, and learned something very useful in process. Because I am low-income enough to qualify for food stamps, I qualify for AT&T's Lifeline discount. The representative told me we'll receive a certification application via snail-mail. Once that's filled out and returned, we'll officially start receiving a monthly discount.
If AT&T offers this, I'm confident all or most telephone providers do so. It's not quite 10% of our total bill, but hey, these days especially, every penny counts!
Source: AT&T Lifeline Representative
By JustPlainJo from Springfield, OH
Looking to lower fees for your carriers, like insurance companies, TV, phones, computer, etc.?
First, I bundled (calling one carrier such as AT&T to combine multiple services) which is a HUGE savings.
Second, you absolutely need to call each carrier every few months and follow up on rates. There appears to almost always be a NEW discount or promotions much cheaper than current fees. For example, on a recent call, Comcast discounted my box and monthly payments AND offered free HBO for 3 months. On another call, Direct TV lowered the monthly payments and gave me a free Showtime package. On another call, medical and car insurance were lowered. Total Savings for TV and insurance were $600 a year!
By cipi2000 from Miami, FL
When washing your dishes in the dishwasher, set the control panels to use less water and less drying time. Using the most eco friendly settings your dishwasher may have. I use vinegar (instead of other spot free chemicals) in the rinse cycle so there is no spotting and a cleaner load. When it gets to the dry cycle, I stop the dishwasher so I am not using the electricity for drying my dishes. It also cuts out the heat that is emitted into your house which, of course, makes your air conditioning work harder and use more energy.
Have a happy day!
By Kim from Rogers, AR
Some utility companies, such as water and electric offer 2 or more rate times through out the day. Check and see if yours does, and then act accordingly. Try and run your appliances, during the times when the rate is the cheapest. I schedule my laundry during the off peak (which for my companies is 9pm to 6 am) To do this, you may need to change your habits and schedule some.
I now start the dishwasher to run while we are sleeping. I no longer do all my laundry on one day of the week, but instead do one load a day, at night. I set it to wash over night, then hang them out first thing in the morning. However if I need to put them in the dryer, I finish washing it before bed and then run the dryer while we are sleeping.
Also, some companies offer a farm or ag rate. If they do, it may be cheaper for you to have a second meter set for your barn. For us, it is a large savings. Be sure to use this meter for all your farm uses. Our neighbors even have their deep freeze in the barn to save on their house electric. It stores their produce and meat that their farm produces.
The high temp today is -5 (Fahrenheit) and falling toward -15. Fearing my face will crack, I'm staying in. I could set the thermostat at 72 degrees, but it's at 64. I don't need to be cheap, but I want to.
Check with your cell phone provider to see what discounts you may qualify for. Most people are aware that auto insurance companies give discounts, but are not aware that cell phone companies do as well.
In my area, the trash company and the wireless internet company are locally owed. In reading the fine print on the bills, I discovered some interesting savings. Both, give one month free if you pay for 6 months in advance at a time.
If you know you are going to be away for more than two months, suspend your cable TV and internet. It will only cost $5 or $10 a month to do this, so you save a lot of money.
Check with your electric company for savings you may be overlooking. This is especially true if you are on a co-op system, and often also true if you are on a town electrical system.
It seems that everyone is concerned with replacing their incandescent bulbs with the compact-fluorescents to save on energy costs, however the worst offender in utility costs is the WATER HEATER. It operates 24/7/365 and we're not talking about saving just a few watts (or BTUs) per evening :).
Today, I was able to go to my city's offices and pick up a landfill coupon. It will pay for a dump run for all the things I can't donate or recycle as I get organized this spring. I get one every year, it is free to residents but the coupons are limited.
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Tips for saving money on utilities. Post your ideas.
During the fall,winter and early spring, we heat mostly with our woodburner. Not only is it great for heat but make a kettle of soup on it is great.
This past summer was so mild where we live that my husband and I only turned our A/C on a few days during the whole season. Since we are on budget billing for all of our utilites, I was curious to see if we had saved money by not using the A/C and using our ceiling fans at home. I also have cut way back on my usage of the clothes dryer so this helped too.
Our monthly budget billing on electrity was $70 a month and I just got our "settle up statement" form the electric company and we have a $167.00 credit coming! Woo Hoo! It really pays to be frugal!
I have cut back on soooo much and it really has not been painful. In fact it has been a relief! I love this site as it give me so many great ideas on saving money and TIME which is just as important in this day and age!
Wait until you have a full load of dishes or laundry to run the machine. You'll save water, detergent and energy costs.
By cynthia conley
In the evenings when there is not much going on here we have night lights and candles. Unless very necessary we do not turn the lights on. Our power bill is high but i need new appliances so much.
To keep your power bill down, use your electric clothes dryer as little as possible. Either hang your clothes outside, or hang your clothes on hangers in your shower to drip dry or get a clothes rack (this can be set up both, outdoors or indoors). I hang most of our clothes and let drip dry in the shower. Also, I use the nails I put up on our deck to use for hanging Christmas lights to hang clothes on hangers to dry in the light summer breeze. We sure can tell a difference in our power bill if I forget and toss a few loads of wash in the dryer!
By Terri H.
Use only cold water to do laundry whenever possible.
Shut off the breaker to the hot water tank before you leave for work so it doesn't heat water all day while no one is there to use it.
Editor's Note: You can purchase a timer for you electric hot water heater at your local hardware store.
Our local electric company has a special time of day meter. This allows you to use electricity for 1/2 price at night and on the weekends. I do laundry and run the dishwasher at 9:00 at night. This also helps me keep up with laundry doing a load or two a night. Our family of four was able to cut our electric bill in 1/2 by not "wasting" electricity during peak periods. We also installed a programmable thermostat that helps especially during the day when no one is home.
I have noticed that we don't turn the heat up as high as usual when we run a warm water humidifier in the winter. The warm steam in the air puts the humidity back in the air that we lose from running the furnace,. This puts the moisture back into our skin, and back in the leaves of our plants. It also has health benefits. No more winter dried out noses, and sore throats.
Does anyone have suggestions for ways to save money these days? I am particularly interested in saving on power usage.
By Drew from Piedmont, AL
Use as few lights as possible. Don't leave your PC on when not in use.
Set your thermostat lower when gone for the day.
Use a slow cooker instead of a stove whenever possible. Even a hot plate is better than a stove.
Hang clothes to dry instead of useing a dryer.
Hand wash dishes instead of a dish washer.
Turn heat down at night and add more blankets. Most people usually get up once early in the morning for natures call, you can turn up the heat and go back to bed so it is fairly warm when you and others get up for the day.
You can keep your heat lower and let your faucets drip to prevent pipe freezing.
You really have to look at your habits for using energy and figure out how to cut back. When I was crunched for money I made a point to read a book every other night instead of watching TV or using the computer.
I cut out cable; it was cheaper and more entertaining to rent movies or borrow from my neighbor who had every movie ever put to DVD (or so it seemed).
Turned off my phone (land line) and went strictly cell phone.
Cooked in mass to cut down one multiple use of the stove. Meaning when I cooked I cooked many helpings of something and then would freeze or refrigerate in appropriate portions. A microwave is way cheaper than a 220v stove, and faster too.
More use of a radio over tv and computer time would help deter cost.
Use energy saver light bulbs in lamps or lower watt bulbs.
Put up thermal drapes/curtains on windows to help with winter/summer temperatures.
Close off rooms when not used instead of having heat/ac in them. Put rolled up throw rugs or old bath towels under the doors to keep heat/ac from escaping.
Do laundry when peak hours are over.
If you have to go outdoors, try to get several chores accomplished so the door isn't being open/closed often when home causing furnace to kick on more frequently.
Hot water heaters really use the energy, so turn the screws after removing the panel to lower the water temperature. Be sure both screws are turned equally.
An electric blanket is good to warm up the bed at night prior to slipping under the covers, but there's something about cancer causing attributes, so turn off after the bed has been warmed.
Unplug electrical appliances not in constant use such as toaster, microwave and blender/mixer. The same for lamps, tv and stereo, computer, etc. There's current in the wiring whether it's in use or not and this will help lower monthly electric bill.
Use only the lighting in the room you are in and turn off the rest.
Use nightlights that automatically shut off at daylight and come on at night.
Use outdoor motion sensor lighting around the home to not have a bulb burning hours while gone.
Bundle up in layers of clothing when home and turn down the thermostat.
Check out the pie chart below of what percentage of cost go to each category. Notice how almost half goes to heating and cooling so concentrate your efforts at reducing there. Hot water heaters also take up a big chunk.
There are a lot of energy saving tips in the category to the left at this page:
Check the bill and inserts (or the website) of your utility companies. They have tips and some have rebate programs.
Some cities, libraries or rental companies will loan or rent a device like the Kill-A-Watt:
So you can check to see what appliances use the most energy. Anything with a clock or light or standby mode (like tvs, vcrs, dvd players, most microwaves, etc) use power even when not in use:
Wash clothes in cold water. Keep the freezer full even if if means filling a container or milk jug with water. Keep the fridge full but allow enough room for some air to circulate. Vac the coils on the back or underside of your fridge so it isn't having to overwork itself. Open the oven door when you are done baking to let the air heat the room. Use the micro and toaster ovens more instead of the oven. Use CFL light bulbs. Shorter showers instead of baths.
When the sun goes down close the blinds and drapes to keep the heat in and open them up on sunny sides of your house in the winter to let the sunshine in. Do the opposite in the summer: close drapes during the hot part of the day.
Replace seals in doors & around windows.
Close vents in unused rooms.
Change from spring/summer window treatments to fall/winter which are heavier, possibly lined.
Use power bars & switch off when not in use.
Install dimmer switches.
Switch to lesser wattage bulbs or to newer more energy efficient.
If your kitchen is cold, try baking cookies or a pie or bread to take the chill off.
Plants (they say) help reduce energy use by putting moisture in the air.
An hour before bedtime pull your bedding back so the sheets can warm.The difference is surprising!
A bathroom or hallway,entryway even dinner can be much more delightful with candles flickering!
(shop for them at the end of season sales when they are making room for the next seasonal items!)
Pour your coffee from the pot into a thermos- it will stay hot a long time so the coffee maker can be turned off ! (+ the coffee won't scorch & taste bitter!)
Timers can be a help too.Especially if you are getting home after dark at night or have to leave the house in the morning before daybreak.
(+the timers give the appearance of someone home when they aren't)
find other ways to thaw meals other than the defrost setting on the microwave! try sitting it in a cold basin of water while you are out for the day.
Sit leftovers out a little while before you plan on heating them. You then will warm food that isn't ice cold, saving a little energy to reheat!
Open the curtains & blinds to take advantage of natural light & don't have lights on that you really don't need!But take care you do have enough for reading or close work- you don't want to ruin your eyes for the sake of a few kilowatt hours.
Don't dry your clothes all the way in the dryer. Stop it mid-cycle & hang them on hangers or a rod & let them finish air-drying.
Apply the same to foods you warm in the oven.Turn the oven off midway through the bake time & allow it to finish on the heat that's already in the oven.
Do more outdoor cooking.Any season is a great time to grill or use a roaster.There is also "solar cookery" You might research that a little to find things you can successfully sun bake!
try entering "frugal", "save energy", "save money" on YouTube. People are good about sharing ideas that work with the rest of us!
Does your utility company have a time of use rate? This allows you to buy electricity when it is cheaper, and run things like a clothes dryer, electric oven when it's less costly. Here in CT we have more than one utility company to choose from, so i found the cheapest rate. Look up smart meters on line. This will explain a lot of what is happening in the world of energy. Get a copy of time magazine from jan. 09, Read the article by Michael Grundwald. In it he tells of all the energy we waste "each day" in the USA, enough to power the country of japan for a day. Look into energy storage www.Mrelectricity.Com to see such a system. We need to use all the energy we create each day, rather than waste it.
Suntydt has most all the ways down to a science. It took my low income at retirement to shock me into getting more serious about saving money properly by not over-using. Of course if there are several living in the home, each one needs to be taught, made to cooperate if not too interested since they" don't pay the bills". Habits of turning off lights, not using dryer/ dishwasher/ stove are the best, and I'd add, to shut off the A/C vents and shut the doors to rooms not fully occupied. I watch videos/DVD's rather than TV and save tons in all these areas.
It takes consistency and commitment, but is well worth it if every dollar counts as much as my pennies do for me. I also use double insulated windows and curtains lined against weather. I keep only one light on in each room, turning it off when going to another, and use a programmable thermostat for AC/furnace. I have the luxury of exhaust fans that vent house odors into the attic then to outside via turbine vents on roof. I also have the advantage of a cathedral kitchen and entry which store a lot of heat in summer, and then helps in winter when I reverse the ceiling fan switch to blow warm air downward until summer.
I had to lower my standards about ironing everything, buying more poly/blended cotton clothing I could hang, and accepting towels/sheets air dried.
I'm eliminating all things I don't use or need and plan to get flooring that takes no vacuuming. I have Zeriscaped
flower beds, mulch the lawn rather than dispose of leaves with blower/bags.
I watch the curbs for usable items and/or parts needed for repairs to appliances, and vacuum/steam half as much as
before, using cold rather than hot water to wash clothes, warm for dishes and baths. I'm healthier, wiser, surviving
instead of drowning in debt and low cash flow, seldom ill, and use all knowledge I have to make things go, with God's help and grace.
I use a land line with a one hour free long distance, which is much cheaper than a cell in this area. I cut my family's hair, including my own, with scissors, and eat fast food dollar menu items exclusively, finding it cheaper than grocery shopping/ cooking/ storing/ cleanup. I take vitamin/minerals daily (DG brands are very good/ cheap, and help keep me out of doctor offices.)
I have a small water fountain in the entry which keeps the air moist for me, plants, and pets. Plants breathe out extra oxygen and breathe in my extra unneeded Carbon Dioxide, making for a type of Biosphere environment.
The cats keep the mice and water-bugs away, the two pet chickens in cages lay eggs added to the bunny who provides extra fertilizer for the outside.
I double and triple recycle everything possible, and repair all that is repairable, seldom tossing things. The home library is most worthwhile, and I keep a good supply of basic candles/ lamp oil and lamps for emergency power outage.
At night I sleep with proper clothing/ linens, and wear the same clothing twice. I use paper towels only on intolerably
greasy spills/ germy surfaces and items/ and paper and plastic products should anyone seem ill. I also buy CVS
bargain sale toothbrushes, changing often, using only one
drop of Fiesta Sensitive Dishwashing liq. on the brush, covering with an old dryer sheet between uses.
Sale paper/plastic items recycled twice after we use them is MUCH cheaper than washing with elec./detergent/ elec. drying. Liq. dish soap is MUCH cheaper than "antibiotic" hand soap, and works just fine.
Bathing half as much is a boost to the hot water heater usage/cost. Taping with masking tape over door cracks and around windows that don't seal well. God bless and help you. : )
I purchased a small convection oven that doubles as a large toaster oven. I just set it on top of my microwave, so it doesn't take up any counter space. Much less electricity is used when baking items that go in an 8 x 10 pan or smaller. And it doesn't heat up the whole kitchen as the standard large oven does. I hardly ever use the large oven anymore!
As some others have mentioned, I was shocked when I went to the website of my local electric company and found out how much electric the hot water heater uses! In my small apt, it uses more electric than my heat pump does for providing heat in the winter!! Not only am I going to lower the temp, but I'm going to look into getting one of those blanket wraps for the HWH. I'm hoping they're not too pricey.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Tips for saving money on your utilities. Post your ideas.
Take the time to switch your washer to "Cold" when possible to save on hot water.
By Reta (02/01/2005)
Save on phone bills by only using long distance when it is free, cell phone plans have loads of free minutes with no roaming.
My family uses 4 phones with free mobile to mobile minutes, free nights, and weekends. The house line no longer has long distance and is local calling only. (02/15/2005)
To save on water take showers, not baths. A five minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of water, while filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
By Robin (03/16/2005)
Save Money on Your Utilities
By Savings Secrets
Especially with today's energy crisis so prevalent throughout many of the states, you've probably heard this term - conservation. Guess what, conservation really means "using less". Using less energy, means you are spending less money. Inevitably, conservation goes hand in hand with saving money.
We sometimes lose sight of the fact that the water, gas, and electricity we use in our homes, always comes back to us in the form of a lovely bill. Use the tips below and you may be surprised to find yourself saving $1000 or more every year.
If you have a family, turn this utility saving exercise into a game. Make some type of "agreement" with all the family members where the savings accumulated each month will be put into a "savings jar". Then after six months or a year's time, a nice vacation can be arranged.
Sit down with everyone when the bills come and compare the savings from month to month. Not only can this be an educational experience for your children, but it's the perfect opportunity to get the whole family involved working towards a goal.
About The Author:
Copyright 1998-2001 -- SavingSecrets.com
Editors Note: Although this article is somewhat dated, there are still suggestions that hold true for today.
Get used to raising the thermostat one degree to conserve on the air conditioning then raise it one more degree when you go to bed for overnight when you are not active. Do this gradually and add a degree until you find the point at which you can comfortably stand it, but still not suffer from the extreme outdoor temperatures. Dress children in sensibly light clothing, as they are more active. (07/09/2005)