If there is one thing that most of us can agree on it is that our utility bills are far too expensive. And, unlike almost every other expense in our lives, it often feels like there isn’t anything that we can do to bring these costs down. We need power. We need water. Heck, in the 21st century we even need internet and smartphones (though many insist this isn’t true). That does not mean, however, that we need to resign ourselves to sending most of our paychecks to the utility companies. Here are ten things you can do to bring these costs down:
10 Ways to Save Money Utility Bills
- Shop Around
If you’re lucky enough to live in a deregulated energy market, shop around for a better deal. Look for lower rates during peak hours, green power (which, yes, will cost a little more but will make you feel better about the money you’re spending) and surcharges. Switch to the provider with the best deals.
- Challenge Fees
Even if you live in a regulated market, it’s still a good idea to call your utility providers and make sure that all of the taxes, fees, and other surcharges on your bill are accurate and legitimate. Many providers will hike up these rates to increase their profits and simply hope that you don’t notice. Challenging these fees is a great way to get them reduced.
- Bundle Your Services
Seriously, stop paying for internet and cable separately. Most companies will bundle everything up into a single bill for significantly less compared to paying for these services individually. Even satellite companies have bundles now. For example, Direct TV internet bundles start at around $50 per month. We’re willing to bet that’s lower than what you’re currently paying for.
- Stop Throwing Stuff Away
There are lots of ways to decrease waste around your house. The less you waste the less you’ll have to throw away, which, in a growing number of communities, means that trash pickup gets a lot cheaper (these communities have started charging per bag being picked up, not a flat weekly/monthly rate).
- Use Less
There are dozens of ways to use less power and less water around your house. Turning off the lights, unplugging power strips, taking shorter showers, etc. Learn these techniques and get into the habit of using them. You’ll be amazed at how far your electric bill drops just by turning off your computers at night.
- Save More
Taking the “throw less stuff away” tip one step further, we’re going to encourage you to save everything you can, without becoming a hoarder. One of the best ways to save and reduce your utility bills is to harvest your rainwater. Collecting rainwater reduces your dependency on the municipal water supply and, by extension, your water bill. It also prevents erosion. Gray water can be used in a variety of ways.
- Get Out
Get out of the house. You don’t have to suddenly take up jogging if you don’t want to, but finding ways to get out of the house will help you reduce the amount of power and water you use. These don’t have to be expensive outings. For example, go to your local library, community center or even a yard sale. There are a great deal of free things to do in every community, you just have to hunt them down.
You’re still going to have to use some water and power so why not upgrade to appliances and other tools that use less? For example, upgrading to LED bulbs will save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the bulb’s lifetime. Installing even one solar panel will cut your power bill dramatically. Low flow showerheads and faucets are inexpensive and save you gallons of water.
- Go Smart or Go Home
Speaking of upgrades, why not upgrade your security system to a smart system? These security systems learn your family’s schedules and habits and are able to adjust the power supply to your home accordingly. For example, they can turn off power to the house (with the exception of important appliances like your refrigerator) when everybody is at work and school.
- Get Tough
One of the best ways to reduce your power and water consumption is to simply get tough. Learn to live at slightly warmer and cooler temperatures than you’re used to. Take shorter showers than you’d like. Cook with your gas oven/stove instead of microwaving foods. Most of our utility consumption comes from convenience addiction. Get tough and watch your bill payments drop!
These are just ten ways to reduce your utility bills. Have we missed something? Share your favorite tips in the comments section!