Tips for Saving Money on Your Utility Bills

When money gets tight and jobs get harder to come by, we all start to worry. How much more are we going to end up paying for gas? How can we afford to buy groceries? What are we going to do if we can’t pay the bills? These are all questions that are being asked everyday by millions of people and families across the Nation. You can tune into any number of morning news programs, afternoon talk shows or nightly news reports and without fail, somebody will be reporting on how to survive this economic crisis. I have a few simple tips that you can integrate into your daily routine that know will help lower all of your utility bills.

Lowering your utility bills can be pretty simple. It’s a basic idea of finding ways to always use only what you absolutely need, every day, every month, every year. You can look at your electric bill and blame it on the electric company, and you can blame your outrageous water bill on the city. You can also do something about it in your own home right at the source. They can’t charge you for electric you don’t use or water you don’t let run down the drain. Make a choice and just do it.

You can start these simple ideas right now and by the time you get your next utility bill, you will see a difference.

1. Like I stated before, if you don’t use it you can’t be charged for it. During the day, there is no reason to have very many lights on. As soon as the sun comes up, you don’t need the lights on. Open your curtains and blinds and let the light shine it. If you do need to turn lights on, don’t forget to turn them off when you leave the room. I don’t know who started the rumor that it takes more energy to turn lights on and off than to leave them on all day. That is simply not true and you can call any electric company and they will tell you exactly that. It’s either on or its not, there is no start up energy. You are not starting an engine, you are flipping a switch. So flip it off.

2. I can honestly say that changing out all of my light bulbs for the new compact fluorescent light bulbs works. I changed out all of mine last year and I do see a difference. Yes, they are expensive, but I have already saved enough money on electricity to pay for them. Will they actually last for 7 years like they claim? I sure don’t know, but they are bought and paid for and I haven’t had to change a single bulb since I changed them out. The light bulbs I started out with in my bathroom vanity almost a year and a half ago are still there. If you are worried about them breaking, I checked them out pretty thoroughly when I got them and they are made of a much stronger glass than your average bulb that lasts for about a month and then burns out. Yes, you do have to be careful with them, but if you don’t have to change them out as much they have less of a chance to break.

3. Turn your air conditioning up. Find your comfortable temperature and then bump it up one more degree. Keep it at that temperature for a day or two and then bump it up another degree. Let your body acclimate to a new temperature. If you find that you are hanging around in your house with pants on in the middle of summer because you have your A/C turned down so low that you are cold, well then you are just plain wasting money. When you get used to the higher temperature, bump it up again. Keep bumping it up until you reach the point where you are really uncomfortable and it is just too hot. When you get to the point where it is too hot, bump it down just one degree. Within a week or so you can raise the temperature 5 or more degrees and save on your electric bill.

Another way to save money on your air conditioning is to simply turn it off. Many times, I open all the windows in the house first thing in the morning. If you open your windows at 5-6 in the morning when it is still cool, you can cool off the whole house within a few minutes and turn the air conditioning off. We also use a box fan in the afternoons when it starts to warm up. We live in a neighborhood where I feel more comfortable closing the windows at night, so when we go to bed, we close the windows and turn the AC on just enough to be comfortable when we sleep. As the summer months get hotter, we find days when it is just too hot to go without the air conditioning, so we use the method I first described.

4. In the winter, turn your heat down. It is the same concept as dealing with the air conditioner, except you are bumping your heat Down one degree at a time. When you start to get chilly, put some more clothes on. They make winter clothes to keep you warm, put on a sweater and turn that furnace down.

5. Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees. There is just no need for it to be any higher. If you have young children in the house is should not be any higher than 120 degrees anyways.

6. Turn your water off. We have all heard this before. Turn your water off while you brush your teeth and washing your hands. You can save a lot of money by getting a foaming soap, you don’t even need to turn the water on the get your hands soapy and clean, all you have to do is rinse the soap off after they are clean. Turn off your water in the shower; get in, get wet, turn the water off, wash and then rinse. Turning the water off in the shower saves us tons of money, and I found that it takes me about 10 minutes less to get ready.

7. Catch your water in a pitcher or bucket to use for later. While you are waiting for hot water you can put a pitcher in the kitchen sink to catch the cold water. Now you have water for your plants or pets and you can make coffee with it or you can put the pitcher in the fridge so that you can have cold water to drink. While you are waiting for hot water in the tub, put a bucket under the faucet and now you have extra water for flushing the toilet.

8. You can save water buy replacing your water guzzling older toilet with one that uses less water. You can use the tried & true method of putting something in the bottom of the toilet tank so that you are using less water. Some examples of items that you would put in the bottom of your tank are a brick or rock, or a small container of sand. I have found, though, that these methods are not very effective. If you have an older home, you want to actually have enough water to flush everything down the toilet so your pipes don’t get plugged up I suggest just dumping a bucket of water down the toilet(see tip number 7).

9. Only do laundry when you have a full load and wash everything in cold water. Wear your clothes more than once before tossing them in the laundry. If you work from home this should not be too much of a problem as very few people with notice that you keep putting the same clothes on for days on end. Are you just hanging around your house for the weekend? No need to put on something new. Even if you work outside of the home you can wear the same pair of pants or skirt a few times before they hit the laundry pile. You can spot clean them if the have any small messy spots. You can wear the same thing to sleep in several times as well. Or better yet, no pajamas to bed means no Pjs to wash.

10. Plug in light sensitive low watt night-lights in hallways, bedrooms and bathrooms. They will only turn on if it is dark in the room. This is important if you have kids. If you are constantly getting up in the middle of the night to care for a baby or if your older kids are getting up to use the bathroom, the nightlights are nice to have. That way no one has to turn on lights to trek across the house to see where they are going.

11. Unplug all battery chargers, phone chargers, or anything else that needs to be charged. Many times they have little lights on them that just use up power all day long. Even if they don’t have any lights it is still a good idea to unplug them, they still use a little bit of power called phantom power, ghost power or vampire power. It also helps to unplug your computer, entertainment center or anything else when it is not in use.

12. When you get up from your computer hit the hibernate/sleep button. Don’t wait until it goes in to screen saver mode or sleep mode by itself. Even if you are going to only be gone for just a few minutes, hit the button. If you are not printing anything, turn off your printer.

13. Install solar lights along your front walkway up to the house. OK, now this is one is easy, it doesn’t cost you a cent to light up the front of your house and the lights last just about all night long. Not only is it free light, it is safer to have your house lit up all night long and will help protect you from break-ins.

14. Turn your computer off. Many people leave their computers on all day and night. Why? You are just going to burn out your computer that much faster because the fan is running on and off all day and night. Just think about all that wasted electricity. When do you turn your computer off at night? 9:00? 10:00? Turn your computer off an hour earlier. Just get up and walk away from it.

15. Turn your television off. Give up one or two shows a week. Don’t just not watch it, turn the TV off. If you are not sitting in front of it, it just doesn’t need to be on.

So turn off your computer and go read a book, read to your children, have them read to you, go for a walk, eat dinner by candle light, eat dinner outside, do a puzzle, build a model, climb a tree, pull out a board game, toss a ball around, pull out your scrapbook, there are endless amounts of things that you can do that don’t require using any energy, and don’t cost a dime to do.

The next time you open your utility bill and think “What in the world is going on? How can this be so high?” Think to yourself “Have I really done enough to keep the cost of my utilities down?” Now you know there are always ways to cut back more. Now you can start your new day with a new attitude and greatly cut down on your utility bills.

~ Every once in a while you have to check yourself, it is very easy to forget to turn a light off or put your computer to sleep.

~ When the sun is shining in your window on a hot day, close those blinds until the sun has moved on. It will help keep your room cooler.

You can find more great Frugal Friday tips on

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2 Responses to Tips for Saving Money on Your Utility Bills

  1. Hazel Nut on July 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm


    I cut down on my AC this year by using only using the AC when it gets really hot…our June electric bill was $120 less this year than last year! Those electric bills get high quick!

  2. Jennifer on July 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I got a couple of high electric bills recently and I started analyzing what we could differently to lower them. I wrote about it on my blog. Great tips

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