I’ve talked about budget billing through the electric company before. We had a $95 power bill one month and a $200 the next one! Budget billing takes the amount you spent on electricity in the previous year’s time, divides it by 12 and that’s what you pay each month. For example, ours used to be $167 a month. If we used $200 worth of electricity we paid $167. If we used $105 worth of electricty, we still paid $167. The overage covers the months we use a little more. Once a year they re-average. If you overage didn’t cover the higher months, then your payment is adjusted up. But if you had too much overage, your payment is adjusted down.
I’ve been trying real hard these last few months to use less electricity. It get this little nervous/excited tingle when the electric bill comes in the mail. And I get giddy when I open it and see our actual usage at $142, $139, $150, etc. All less than our $167.
Well, this week the fruits of my labor have come to fruition. Our monthly payment has dropped to $153! That’s a $14 savings a month or $168 in savings a year!
Here are ways I’ve used less electricity:
- Turn the lights off when we’re not using them. This is common sense but something I don’t always do. For example, our bedroom is off of the kitchen. We have a two part master bath, the area with the vanity and closet and then a separate room with the toilet and shower. So if I’m going to take a shower, I turn on the lights in every room I walk through – kitchen, bedroom, over the vanity and in the bathroom. Well, for the duration of my shower, there is a 2ft fluorescent burning in the kitchen, three lightbulbs burning in the bedroom fixture and SIX over the vanity. Not to mention the two lights in the bathroom. Do I really need that many lights on while I’m in the shower??? NO! But that didn’t occur to me until recently. So that, and not leaving the stairwell and porch lights on (the two most forgotten lights) have helped us use less electricity.
- Don’t use more light than you need. If I’m using my laptop in the living room, I don’t need the overhead lights on. I’m just fine with the lamp next too me. It uses less wattage and doesn’t heat up the room like the overhead lights do (which saves on running the AC)
- Evaluate your wattage. I recently went through the house and decided that 75 watt bulbs were sufficient in the living room instead of 100s and 60 watts worked in the bedroom instead of the 75s. This cut down on our wattage use as well as the amount of heat these wattages put out (again, saving on AC)
- Use CFLs. I do not particularly like CFLs for aesthetic reasons. And most of our light fixtures are open glass. So the light bulbs are seen. Which is why I will never be fully CFL. But a couple months ago, Wal-Green’s had some CFLs on deep clearance. So I bought some. I replaced the bulbs in the stairwell light, the three rooms that have covered fixtures and a couple in the basement with the CFLs.
- Run your ceiling fans 24/7/365. Ok, stay with me here. In the summer, obviously they help. They can make a room feel 3 degrees cooler than it actually is. We only have two and I keep them running even when I’m at work because I can tell a difference when I get home and I don’t have to run to the thermostat and turn it down 3 degrees because it’s stifling in my house! Now, in the winter, flip that little switch on your fan. It reverses the blades (speaking from experience, DUST the blades before reversing them!). Heat rises, so when you run your heat in the winter, you are spending a lot of money heating the ceiling. Running your fans in reverse pushes the hot air down. Keeping the room warm. I was a skeptic but I did this last winter and it works!
- Adjust your thermostat. During the winter, I learned to cope with the thermostat at 68 degrees (versus 70-72 in winters past). If it meant I had to wear a long sleeved shirt in the house, I did it. Running the ceiling fans in reverse helped too. Now that it’s warmer I keep the air at 73 during the day when we are home. When we go to bed at night or leave the house, I put it on 74. (versus 68-70 and forgetting to adjust when we weren’t home in summers past). Again, the ceiling fans run all the time and I try to use the lights that heat up the room as little as possible. I feel that this has made the most difference in our electric bill.
- Modify your cooking habits. Use your slow cooker more – it uses less electricity and doesn’t heat up the house like the over does. Grill outside more too. Add a few “cold supper” recipes to your menu. Sub sandwiches, pasta salads, club salads, etc.
- Run your dryer and dishwasher in the evenings. The last thing you want to do when it’s 94 degrees outside is run your dryer or dishwasher. This only creates more heat.
- Adjust your dishwasher settings. Some people don’t use heat dry. I like my heat dry, but the “high temp rinse” really isn’t necessary. It costs money to heat that water to “high temp”.
- “Unplug” sometimes. I have become increasingly aware to how much our TV is on. Basically, if we are home, the TV is on, usually on Nick Jr or Sprout. My son doesn’t watch it constantly, but I leave it on because he’ll spend a few minutes here and there watching something he likes. I have tried to “unplug” us more. I turn it off at snack and meal times. And I try to find one solid hour to keep it off. Find some time to turn your computer or the radio off too.
Do you have anymore tips? I’d love to hear them!