Have you ever taken a look at your monthly electric bill and thought to yourself, “this must be a mistake!”
If so, you’re not alone. Energy costs are on the rise, and according to the Energy Info Administration, the average price of electricity could increase by as much as 8% from last year!
No need to panic though. Even as energy costs are rising, you can make some easy changes in your home to help you ensure that your electric bill doesn’t get out of hand. These simple tips will help you lower your electric bill in a meaningful way.
Ways to save money on your electric bill:
- Actually look at your bill
- Shop around for providers
- Change your thermostat settings
- Get a smart thermostat
- Perform a home energy audit
- Energy monitors
- “Time of use” electricity plan
- Switch to LEDs
- Ditch extra appliances
- Fridge maintenance
- HVAC maintenance
- Dry your clothes smarter
- Beware of vampire electronics
1. Actually Look At Your Bill
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to let yourself feel the pain of a higher energy bill. Putting your bill on autopay can be smart, but forgetting that it exists will lead to higher usage and bigger bills.
Some companies offer “budget billing,” which allows you to pay the exact same amount each month based on your average usage, but I would urge you to avoid this. Making the association between how much energy you’re using and how much you’re paying is vital when it comes to developing energy saving habits.
Budget billing sounds nice. And it does make it a little easier to budget for utilities. But it will inevitably cost you more in the end.
2. Shop Around for A Cheaper Utility Provider
About half of US States offer retail energy choice. Here’s a list and map of all the states that have deregulated energy. You might be able to find a provider that offers cheaper electricity – and gas for that matter too! It never hurts asking for a discount, if possible, or any savings programs they offer!
3. Change Your Thermostat Settings
One of the easiest ways to slash your energy bill is to change your thermostat settings. About 44% of our monthly utility costs come from heating and cooling our homes. That means any change that you make here will have a huge impact on the amount of cash you shell out each month.
Utility companies suggest keeping your thermostat set to 68°F in the winter and 76°F in the summer to prevent overuse. And that’s a solid starting point. But it’s worth trying to go beyond that if you can.
The Department of Energy states that by adjusting your thermostat between 7 and 10 degrees each day, you could save up to 10% on heating and cooling your home. Challenge yourself to go further in pursuit of greater savings!
In the summer, try using your ceiling fans to beat the heat. If you don’t have many or any ceiling fans hanging around, it may be worth installing one or two, especially in the bedroom. Not super handy? Get a table fan for your desk to cool you down while you work. That air movement can help cool you down allowing you to leave the thermostat alone.
In the winter, try layering some extra blankets and drop the temperature at night while you’re asleep, or try one or all of these ways to cut down your monthly gas bill.
4. Switch To A Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat can be a big help in making sure you aren’t cooling and heating an empty house. With a thermostat like the Nest, you can set a program and forget it.
But that new thermostat is going to cost you money, right? Maybe in the short-term. But smart thermostats learn your habits and adjust energy use accordingly. EnergyStar.gov says that an energy star smart thermostat will save you about $50 a year. That means that your smart thermostat will pay off pretty quickly!
Even if that new smart thermostat will pay for itself over the course of a year or two, it would be nice to get a discount on it, right? Well, you likely can. Many local utility companies offer discounts and rebates on the purchase and installation of energy-saving devices like smart thermostats.
My electricity company sells a couple of different options directly and takes 50% off the list price. Not bad! Check out your utility provider’s website for more details on how to save money on electricity with a new thermostat.
5. Get A Home Energy Audit
Sometimes, it can be helpful to get a professional involved. A Home Energy Audit can help you to identify any energy leaks or inefficiencies in your home. By implementing suggested changes after the audit, a lot of folks will be able to save up to 30% on their energy bills.
Many utility companies offer discounts and free resources on the energy audit front. The Department of Energy has a DIY home assessment guide available online if you prefer to give go the weekend warrior route.
6. Find Out What’s Using the Most Energy
Another way to assess your energy use is to try using an energy monitor. If you want to find the biggest energy culprits in your home, this is a smart route to go.
The Sense Energy Monitor can clamp into your circuit breaker box and tell you in real time how much electricity your house is drawing. This is another expensive gadget. And most energy providers won’t supplement the cost of this one. But if you get super nerdy with things like energy usage and how to curb your consumption, this device might just pay for itself before too long too.
7. Switch To A “Time Of Use” Electricity Plan
Did you know that some utility companies will provide incentives to encourage you to use less electricity during peak hours? A “time of use” plan will allow you to change your usage habits in order to consume more of your electricity during off-peak hours, lowering your usage and therefore your bill.
Basically, by running your dryer in the evening instead of the afternoon, or by charging your laptop overnight instead of during dinner, you’ll reap effortless savings.
These plans typically only last for a few months each year, but can equate to savings of 10-15% on your power bill. If one of these alternative electricity offerings works for your lifestyle, you’d be crazy not to give it a try.
8. Upgrade to LED Lightbulbs
Switching out your incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs is probably the second greatest way to save money on electricity you can make beyond changing your thermostat settings.
LED bulbs use 90% less energy than traditional lights and last about forty times longer!
Luckily, the price of LED bulbs has gone down in recent years, and you can find them for as cheap as $1 per bulb! Start by switching out the most used lights in your home with LEDs and you’ll definitely see a difference come billing time.
9. Ditch Extra Appliances
If you have extra appliances sucking up your energy, it may be time to drop that dead weight.
A lot of people have secondary refrigerators in their garages. If you’re one of them, ask yourself if you can live without it. Old refrigerators use a lot of energy, and your local utility company may offer incentives to donate that fridge. Win, win!
10. Fridge Maintenance
An often overlooked part of saving money on energy is making sure your appliances are running efficiently. Don’t forget to clean your fridge coils every year to cut your energy bill and extend the life of your appliance.
Fridge maintenance is easy to DIY. Here’s a YouTube video that shows you how to easily clean your fridge coils and save money on electricity!
11. Routine HVAC Maintenance
When it comes to your HVAC system however, it may be a good idea to bring in professionals to service it annually. This keeps your system working efficiently!
If you’re dedicated to the DIY route, make sure you are at least changing the air filter every 90 days. Replacing the filters regularly can reduce your air conditioner’s consumption by 5-15%. Way too many folks forget this important money-saving maintenance item!
12. Take a Smarter Approach To Drying Your Clothes
One smart move to curb electricity costs in your life is to dry your close in batches. Do your laundry back to back and capitalize on that already warm dryer! Wool Dryer Balls can help cut down on drying time by up to 25% as well. Make sure to always clean the lint filter in your dryer (it’s dangerous not to).
If you’ve got a few extra minutes, it makes a whole lot of sense to air dry your clothes. It uses zero energy, and is so much better for keeping your clothes looking their best.
13. Beware of Vampire Electronics
Vampire electronics suck. No literally- they suck.
The Dept of Energy says that “standby power” accounts for 5-10% of residential energy use, costing households about 100 bucks per year!
Even when your computers, television, and cable boxes are turned off, they could still be costing you money. Try keeping these devices unplugged, or plugged into a power strip to eliminate unnecessary power drainage.
Are the electricity savings worth it?
It’s not just about how much money you save this month. It’s important to remember how much saving a few bucks here and there can impact your future! Think about how much money your savings could be worth if you invested them instead.
The rule of 173 allows us to see the potential our money has to grow if invested each month over a period of ten years.
A monthly savings of $50 each month could be worth $8,650 in just ten years tim. $75 saved each month could be worth $12,975, and $100 in savings could be worth $17,300. Imagine what that money could do over the course of thirty years!
So what are you waiting for? Grab a sweatshirt and drop that thermostat by a few degrees! And if you’re looking for more ways to save money and grow your wealth, be sure to check out the Top 10 Must Listen to HTM Episodes.