Save Money On Your Electric Bill



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save money on your electric bill

How Do I Save Money On My Electric Bill?

Readers Question: I am new to your site and I love it. How can I save money on my electric bill? I use cold water to wash clothes. I unplug anything not in use. I close blinds. I cut hot water off under bathroom sinks. I use ceiling fans. I am going through that hot flash thing, so my air conditioning is on 74 degrees. I wash full loads of dishes. And my electric bill is still high. Any other suggestions?

Answer:

Sometimes there is only so much you can realistically do to save money on your electric bill. You need to look at your bill closely to see why it is so high. Is it because you are using too much electricity or is it just the base expenses (taxes, extras for lines, service, etc.) that you are paying for? Many utility companies charge a base rate that is the lowest the bill can go. If you are only paying the base expense you really can’t do too much about that because you are paying for the service of having electricity.



Dryer and Freezer.

Sometimes we work hard at the little things like turning off lights but we don’t consider the larger expenses like using a dryer or having a freezer. Years ago I saved $80 (total for both) a month on my electric bill when I stopped using them.

~ Energy efficient appliances may not be as great as we think.

Tawra just recently bought a new energy efficient refrigerator and the repair man said he only buys old refrigerators. he said the new ones only save about $1 a month,they cost a lot more and then if something goes wrong it often costs a minimum $500 just for the part to repair it. he also said the new ones need to be repaired often.

~ Computers.

I turned 1 computer off while I was gone for a week and saved $10. If you have 2 or 3 computers, that savings can start adding up. Also, a lot of newer electronic devices continue to use power even when they’re sleeping. For the typical family, this can really add up.

~ Air Conditioner.

I understand you may need the air conditioning, but that is probably your main source of electricity expense. If I don’t keep my A/C set at 80 degrees, my electric bill jumps up quickly. 2-4 degrees makes a big difference in lowering my electric bill. I also don’t run mine the entire day. Even when it was 103 to 105 degrees for several weeks this summer I didn’t turn my air on until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I let it run all night because I can’t sleep when it is hot and muggy. Then I turned it off in the morning. I know that’s not the way a lot of people like to do it but it does significantly help control electricity costs. I also have lots of shade trees around my house so that helps keep it cooler without running the air conditioner as much.



~ Dishwashers.

You said you do full loads of dishes. If you are really serious about saving money, it may help to hand wash dishes. I use a half gallon to a gallon of water (total for rinsing and washing) to wash my dishes and no electricity at all. We have to be careful because we live in a world where modern conveniences are considered necessities. It is fine to use these things but if we are serious about saving money we may not be able to use all of them the way we like. I’m not saying this about you but I talk to so many people who say they are desperate and want to save but then they ask me to tell them how to save money “without making me uncomfortable or asking me to give up anything.” I don’t mean you because you sound like you are willing to do what it takes.

If you’ve taken a close look at your electric usage and if you still aren’t sure where it’s all going, you can buy inexpensive devices that allow you to check out an appliance to see exactly how much electricity it is drawing. (Mike: Our library has these devices available to check out on a library card to test your power usage.) I think most people would be surprised at which things are drawing the most electricity.

      -Jill

For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.

 

Photo By: Elliott Brown

Comments

  1. Fay says

    I couldn’t agree more. Electric is about personal choices of what is needed most. The recent surge (pardon the pun) in the cost of energy makes me sick. Turning off what you can is key. Think of what you don’t need. We no longer use an automatic garage door opener. DH lubricates the tracks and I can literally lift it with 2 fingers. Also check to see if all appliances are clean. Refrigerators, freezers and dryers particularly have to work harder if dust has built up. I also vacuum out the intake/return for heat/AC.
    As for turning things off at night. If you have many things plugged into a power strip and simply flip the switch off– be aware that you are also turning off the surge protection feature–better to unplug from the wall.
    There are numerous web sites dedicated to “Energy Vampires” the link below is only one–there is a calculator that will help you learn your actual usages. http://www.srpnet.com/energy/powerwise/savewithsrp/EnergyVampires.aspx
    Try searching Energy Vampires in the Home. Be patient some sites claim you are actually just a victim of a real live vampires. But that discussion takes place in a different forum.

  2. Fay says

    So sorry to comment twice.
    Something else I do. When driving around town, I charge my cell phone through the car adapter. I also charge my rechargeable AA & AAA batteries this way–oh and my camera battery. I don’t know what I save–but I feel like I’m getting something free. I read that it does not have a measurable effect on MPG or wear & tear on the battery.

  3. Randy says

    I respectfully disagree with you on the appliance comment. If you select EnergySTAR rated appliances, they truly do save on the bill. And, buy the highest SEER heat/air unit you can afford – I slashed my heat/air bill almost in half just that way. And, if you buy the new non-incandescent light bulbs, you can easily save $20-30 a month on your electric bill. I didn’t believe that until I did it! Good comments but I would heartily disagree with your repair man.

    • says

      It wasn’t just one repair man it has been many. Part of the point was too that even if you save $300 a year on the electric bill if you have to pay $500 for a part you not only have not saved but have lost money. As far as the light bulbs go I have seen no difference in my own personal bill since using them. Not sure why but I haven’t. Of course I must really be doing something different because even though Kansas has one of the highest electricity of places I live my own bill is only about $25 total through the winter months so when someone says they save $20-$30 a month I’m thinking what in the world must your electric bill be normally.

      • Jen says

        I agree with your last sentence totally! My bill is the same way. The only thing I use that costs a ton in electricity is my a/c which I still don’t turn down as far as I’d like. My bill only went up a couple of dollars even after starting cloth diapers and using the washer and dryer all the time. I line dry in the summer, but can’t get them to dry fast enough in the winter before they start to smell sour, so I use the dryer all winter. I will take my clothes out before they are completely dry, though, it keeps static from building up so I don’t have to spend $ on fabric softener or dryer balls.

    • Carla says

      We have tons of the non-incandescent light bulbs all over the house, wash dishes by hand, have an energy saving furnace, washing machine and fridge. We keep the house cold in the winter and warm in the summer. I don’t use the dryer, whenever possible we use the grill to cook and bake in the summer, and our utility bill keeps going up. I think the whole energy saving thing is bunkum, and the utility companies will get you coming and going. If you don’t use enough, then they’ll charge you, and if you use “too much”, they’ll get you, too.

  4. Rachel says

    I have to agree with Jill about the new light bulbs. We have seen no difference in our bills since we started using them. They cost so much more too! We live in Florida, so we use our air conditioning a lot. And since we
    are in the northern part of the state, we use the heat as well. in my 30 years of marriage I don’t think we have had a bill less than maybe $50.00. Right now they run from $120 to $150.00.

  5. Karie says

    I find that it is the water bill that kills me. I totally agree with the comment that the fees and taxes etc are the majority of my bills. I also agree that cfl didn’t make a huge difference in the bills. but I am also an obsessive light turner offer. but i do think the cfls last for longer. good idea about unplugging the outlet strips. I never thought about that leaving my stuff vulnerable to power surges. I love hits website and have been using the ideas posted here for 2 years. thank you!

  6. marcia says

    i also have done anything possible to cut my electric bill, to no avail,my bill continues to go up, im on a program that my bill is suppost to remain the same thru out the year. HaHa, its hasn’t yet, every month it is higher and higher. i changed to the cfl,wash dishes by hand, line dry clothes except in winter, dont run my a/c much nor heaters unless down in low 40′s ive changed alot to save on money- nothing! But the big companies are going to get your last dime anyway they can. Ive read your books love them.

  7. Judy H says

    I often handwash my dishes and use the dishwasher as a drying rack. Got that idea from my mom. When we kids were young, her dishwasher worked. By the time we were old enough to wash dishes, it had quit working but we could sure stack a lot of dishes in there to dry. Leave the door ajar, obviously so the water evaporates.
    Make use of your basement in the summer as it will remain cooler than the rest of your house naturally.
    My friend freezes her tomatoes and then in the winter or fall she does canning instead of heating up the house in the summer doing it.
    Also, I’m sure it says on your website somewhere it talks about doing any baking in the early morning or not baking at all in the summer. Think crockpot and no-bake cookies and rice crispy bars!
    Love your website!

  8. Cookie says

    To save water: Handwashing – wet hands, turn off the water, soap them up (a little goes a long way), rinse (using cool water). Amazing how much water you can save and IF you can train others in your household to do the same. In shower, water doesn’t have to be on full-blast. Also, after showering, using wet cloth to wipe down walls & follow up with a dry one. This save lots on time to clean as often, cleaners to do so AND water. Washing dishes – Don’t fill the sink with water UNLESS food has dried on the dishes. Simply wet your cloth, add a LITTLE dish liquid, wash several dishes before rinsing & re-soaping cloth. Use a little bleach if needed. When all dishes are washed, use warm to cool water to rinse and use ONLY a stream of water. Doesn’t have to be full-blast. I get dishes cleaner and more suds-free this way. Rarely use dishwasher but it makes a good drainer. Use too much soap on counters? (I did when Dawn came on the scene years ago.) Use a dry paper towel to remove the extra soap, follow up with cool water rinse. Also, for extra dirty dishes or food left on them, use previously used paper towels to wipe off (w/a little soap if necessary) & discard the dirty towel in garbage. Saves lots of water, work on your disposal if you have one. Great for getting grease out of pans, too, instead of putting all that icky grease down the drain.
    As far as saving on electric, turn lights and appliances off that aren’t needed helps. I don’t have the time or energy to keep unplugging everything. When it’s hot and I’m out all day, I usually just keep windows shut to keep out the humidity. When it cools down in the evening, then I open up windows to allow the cool air in. Obviously and eventually though, it gets so hot over a course of days, I’ll have to run AC, but usually, a fan is sufficient. For those of you who have several children or others in the house; it’s up to you to train them about these little energy saving tips. Hopefully, some of them catch on to it, saving them $ in the years to come. I have always been sort of frugal, but I have learned a lot more since I had to start paying all my utilities on my own. Amazing how much we waste w/o realizing it. One last tip: Instead of throwing away all those paper towels you use only once to dry hands or small spills; think about allowing them to dry & keep all together tucked away and re-use them to clean up big messes, especially off the floor like mud, spilled food, messes cats make, etc. Saves a lot on buying paper towels…..

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