Some of our bills can be eliminated as being 'extras', but utilities is just not one of these. If you are noticing an increase in your utility bills it is time to review what you may/may not be doing to cause this increase. Here are some helpful tips for ways to decrease your utility bills.
Check to make sure none of the faucets in your household are leaking/dripping. A slow dripping faucet can accumulate over two gallons per hour.
When watering the garden, set a schedule and try to water in the early morning hours to help minimize evaporation (between 6am-8am)
Take shorter showers. Did you know that a shower uses approximately 6-10 gallons of water per minute? Think of how much money you could save if you shaved a few minutes off of your shower.
Use your dishwasher and washer only when you have full loads.
Contact your utility company to see if they offer reduced rates at certain times of the day and either timer-delay your washer/dishwasher or wait until that time to do your loads.
Recycle your water from fish tanks and use it to water your plants. Fish emulsion is a good and inexpensive fertilizer. It is high in nitrogen and phosphorous- just think that you will save on fertilizer AND water.
During the winter use your fireplace- this will heat up the room at a much lower cost.
Lower the temperature on your gas water heater. It is not necessary to have your water heated up to 180 degrees. You will find that by lowering it that you will in turn lower your bills.
Invest in a water heater timer if you have an electric water heater. By turning the heat off during the time it is not in use you will save money on your bill without even making a sacrifice.
Turn your thermostat down just three degrees. By doing so you will save approximately three percent on your heating bills.
Weather-strip your doors and windows along with insulating your attic. This will conserve the heat in your home a lot more.
Close off the rooms that aren't in use in your home. This will help keep the rooms you do use warmer.
Close vents in the rooms that have one or more in them. If one room is always warmer you can close the vent to force air into the rooms that are cooler
When purchasing new appliances always try to get the ones that are energy efficient. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by spending the extra money to get the energy efficient models.
Get in the habit of turning off ALL lights and appliances that are not being used. You'll be surprised at how quickly the energy savings will add up.
When not watching television make sure that you keep it off. This is the number one electricity waster in the world.
The dryer will use less energy if you dry loads of clothing one after another because the dryer will already be hot. What an easy way to save money and get your laundry done more quickly.
Use low-wattage light bulbs or energy efficient fluorescent lighting. Compact fluorescents typically last ten times longer and they use 75% less electricity.
Call your utility company to find out if they have off-peak hours and when they are. Many companies charge less for your electricity at night and more during the day. By doing your laundry and dishes during off-peak hours you could easily save money off of your utility bill.
Compare the prices of various long distance providers. A great place to look up information on lowering your long distance bill is www.lowermybills.com. On this web site you can compare long-distance companies in your area and also see any hidden fees they might have. I am currently with Opex Communications (offered in our area) and they charge 3.9 cents a minute with only a $2.95 monthly charge if I do less than $20 in long-distance calls. I found out about this company through Lower My Bills and when the larger companies call to offer me long-distance and I share my rate with them they always tell me I am getting a better deal then they can offer me. This is when you know you are a smart consumer!
If you have a cellular phone that offers state-to-state long-distance, use this instead of calling. Always make sure that you can call nationwide, the minutes you have available to you each month, and what hours are free (evenings, weekends) before making calls. I have made this mistake before and it was a costly one when I discovered I had no long-distance. Always be clear about the terms of your plan.
Take advantage of the internet and email instead of calling your friends and family. You can also use great instant messaging programs and still feel like you are having a telephone conversation without the high bill.
Amy Allen Clark is a stay-at-home mother of a two year old son. She is founder and creator of http://www.momadvice.com. Her web site is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget, and for those seeking work-at-home employment. Please visit her site to sign up for her free monthly newsletter filled with more great tips to help simplify your life.