The word “utilities” can sometimes be enough to give people a rather big headache. Those who live in the northeast and heat their homes with oil, for example, often find themselves spending a great deal of money each month during the winter, sometimes upwards to $600 or more. Utility costs can indeed be enough to put you in the poor house if you’re not careful, which is why it’s important to take a moment and decide whether or not you’re doing everything possible to keep your costs down.
Saving money on utilities is actually easier than you might think. While there are countless methods in which you can go about lowering your monthly costs, the following are 4 easy and accessible ways to get you started.
1. Pay Close Attention to One Month’s Worth of Energy Usage
Heat and electricity are often the two major culprits that make paying the bills more difficult than it should be. You’ll never be able to figure out where to start with cutting costs, though, if you don’t take the time to understand how you’re currently using your energy each month.
Consider how often you use the oven, for example, or how many showers you and those in your family are taking on a daily basis. Make a list of all the sources in your home that suck energy and order it from the biggest culprit to the smallest. This way, you’ll be able to better hone-in on the changes that you need to make in order to lower your energy bills.
2. Bundle Your TV/Phone/Internet
If you have a land-line, cable television service and Internet at your home, chances are you’re paying too much for it all. People will sometimes order these services a la carte, which can truly add up and sometimes turn into a $200 bill.
If you bundle your services together though you can save a great deal of money each month. Some of the biggest players in the telecommunications industry are stepping up to the plate (AT&T, Verizon) and offering bundled service packages like U-Verse and FiOS, which can not only help to save you money but will streamline the ways in which you use these services together. Places are still offering FiOS double play promo codes, making now a great time to start shopping around for a better deal on your communications services.
3. Switch Out Your Old Light Bulbs
You might not think the light bulbs in your home are the source of wasted energy, but many people are surprised to find that this is often the case. Replacing your old light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) will cut your home’s light energy usage by upwards to 75% – they practically pay for themselves over time.
While many people are a bit put off by the fact that CFLs contain mercury, they do not leak mercury when used properly, and are thus a safe addition to any home so long as supervision is used in their installment. They’re also very reasonable, considering how much of a major improvement they are over traditional light bulbs.
4. Program Your Thermostat
Modern thermostats are typically programmable, which means you can set the heat to turn on or off at a certain temperature at different times of the day and night. It’s a feature that often goes unused, but if you program the heat to only kick on during the times that you are typically at home, you can save a lot of money on your heating bill. Just be sure to read the manual associated with your thermostat system, as all thermostats are slightly different in how they are programmed.
There’s no need to pay more than you should for utilities. Stick with this mindset, and you’ll soon discover many other ways to live frugally, yet comfortably.