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.
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