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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Frugal Living: Saving On Utilities


Frugal Living
Saving Money On Utilities

These are few of things that I have done in my home to cut back on utility expenses. Simply changing the way you do things in your house can add up to a significant savings over the year!



Water:

I wrote my first article on switching my washing machine over to a front loading one. This drastically reduced my bill from roughly $25-$30 per month down to $11-$15 per month! A 50% savings! Imagine this on a bigger scale...over the course of 1 year I will save roughly $180! You can view the article here if you missed it the first time!

This month my water bill was $15.20! A little higher than the last 2 months! This was the difference! I washed my car in addition to my normal water usage! Basically, it cost me around $4 to do this! WHAT A WASTE! I even turned the water hose off when I wasn't using it!

TIP: I checked my local "wash your own vehicle" car wash and to 1. Rinse 2. Soap 3. Rinse it will only cost me $2! I will be taking my car to the car wash from now on! Yes I will have to drive to do it, but I also get to use a free vacuum, instead of lugging mine downstairs and chance getting the cord wet, plus these vacuums are far more powerful than household ones and you don't have to pull your attachments off! It also helps that it is located only 1/8 of a mile from my house...so I am not using a significant amount of gas to do so! I have to pass this car wash anytime I go into town, so I will be making it a part of one of my shopping trips once per month!

Electricity:

My electricity bill usually runs me about $230-$250 in the summer to cool down a 1600 Sq. Foot home, and about $150-$180 in the winter to heat it! I place my thermostat on 72 in the summer and 67 in the winter.

I had a friend to tell me that her mother had unplugged all appliances in her home while she wasn't using them and saved over 60% on her bill the following month! I tried this last month! My July bill was $262...this months bill is $160! I know that the days have been slightly cooler this month but I usually don't see this type of bill until at least November or December!

These are the things I left plugged in! Refrigerator, stove, alarm clocks, and the TV in the living room! There were the only things that were either hard to reach or had to stay plugged in! Everything else in my home was unplugged and only plugged in while in use! The microwave, all lamps, TV's that don't get much use, computers, music production equipment, cell phone chargers etc! I was hard at first to get into the routine but after about 4 days...it wasn't that bad! There are still things that I initially unplugged that I haven't gone back to plug in since...to think that all of this time it was using electricity and we weren't even using it!

I am also in the process of switching all of my light bulbs over to the GE Energy Smart ones that help you save too!

Garbage Service:


I have partnered up with a neighbor and we split the cost of the service! One trash can costs $59 every three months for service. Two trash cans cost $72 every 3 months! There is a significant reduction in the price of the second one as you can see! My neighbor and I split the bill in half and we each have a trash can! This costs each of us $36 every 3 months instead of $59. A savings of $23 every 3 months or $92 per year! We even take turns pulling the trash cans out each week!

Gasoline:

I have never been one to just go out in the car and joy ride! Occasionally, my family will take a different route home just to go down streets or into neighborhoods that we have never been in for a change of scenery!

I have always tried to run as many errands at once to save on gas!

Here is what I do now that I am at home! I go shopping on Tuesday mornings each week! I can go to a minimum of 3 or maximum of 7 stores depending on the sale! Fortunately, the town I live in is very accessible. The furthest store is 8 miles away and all of the stores are within the 8 miles of each other (all off of one main road). When I go out, I drive to the furthest store and work my way back towards my house! combining my trips and mapping out the shortest route for these trips maximizes, not only my time efficiency, but the gas I am using! Occasionally I do go out for another deal or two on Fridays (or when Kmart super doubles!).

I also was taking my daughter to school and picking her up! The taking part isn't so bad! I take her in the morning because her bus comes at 6:45 AM. She would sit on the bus for right at 1 hour before even getting off! However, I started letting her ride the bus home! The school is about 3 miles away from my home but every little penny helps! She really enjoys riding the bus too! So we both win!

I hope this article inspires you too to try and figure out ways to cut back on your monthly expenses! If you are already maximizing your savings, "Hats off to you"!

If anyone has any more great ideas or ways to cut back on these types of expenses be sure to link up or leave a comment and share you story with us!


3 comments:

Mylinda said...

Lissa these are some great, PRACTICAL ideas!

Dylan said...

Lissa, nice blog post and way to go on cutting down household expenses! I wanted to add that I can speak to reducing cell bills in particular. I work in the consumer advocacy division of the company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, http://www.fixmycellbill.com. Put simply, Validas guards against the frivolous and unnecessary charges that over-inflate an estimated 80 percent of cell bills. You can find out for free if fixmycellbill.com can modify your plan to better suit your individual needs by going to the website.

For more info, check out Validas in the new media, most recently on Fox News at http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/consumer/conlaw/lower_cell_phone_bills_072409.

Good luck on further reducing household expenses in this tough economy.

Dylan
Consumer Advocacy, FixMyCellBill.com

Anonymous said...

Question:

How is your water bill only $15 a month? Do you also have a well?

Living alone and without a washer and without a dishwasher mine has never been that low or anywhere close to that low. I also have never known anyone who's bill was that low. I don't water the lawn, I don't wash my car, I don't leave the water running when I wash the dishes or brush my teeth either.

I guess certain areas and states would be cheaper than others but still $15 seems very unrealistic for most.

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