Tips for Cutting Household Expenses
Tips on Cutting Household Expenses
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Several hours after resetting, check the water temperature with a thermometer, adjust if necessary.
- Insulate your water heater with an insulation blanket. Purchase a water-saving showerhead.
- Take shorter showers, use a timer to let you know when time is up. If you don't change your showerhead, don't put the water on full force.
- Don't leave the water running while brushing teeth.
- Fix leaky faucets, which can waste gallons of water over time.
- Consider installing faucet aerators or one that gives you two choices -- a stream or a shower, which can save water.
- Consider updating your toilet with a new water conserving model. These have greatly improved in the past few years and can save gallons with every flush.
- Wash clothing with warm or cold, not hot, water. Manufacturers even make laundry detergents especially for cold water loads to help you get clean clothes while using less energy.
- Make sure you're washing a full load of clothes. If washing a smaller load, change the water level to conserve.
- Hang clothes on a clothesline outside when it is sunny and warm. If you do use the dryer, clean the lint filter each time and make sure the vent hose isn't clogged.
- If your dryer has an automatic setting, use it instead of timed drying.
- Make sure to run full loads in the dishwasher.
- Use a short wash cycle whenever possible, avoid pre-rinse cycles.
- If you don't have a dishwasher, don't do dishes with the water running. Fill a basin and soak dishes.
- Set the refrigerator for 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your refrigerator away from your heat registers and oven, if possible.
- Keep your refrigerator door closed as much as possible.
- When loading groceries into the refrigerator, open the door and load everything at once instead of opening and closing the door several times for smaller loads.
- To test how airtight your refrigerator is, close a dollar bill in the door. If it's easy to slide out, consider getting a new, more energy efficient model or resealing the doors.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room, turn them off if you don't need the extra light.
- Install lower wattage bulbs in overhead fixtures, use task lighting for projects. Trade your standard candescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs. They are more energy-efficient, last for years instead of months, consume little power and generate little heat.
- Consider a natural gas stove; often natural gas is cheaper than electricity.
- Use an electric skillet, microwave or toaster oven whenever possible.
- Make sure to turn off the television and radio when you are not watching or listening.
- Turn off your computer when not in use.
- Programmable thermostats can help cut costs because you can set the temperature to a more energy efficient temperature while you're not home. Set your thermostat to 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter. For each degree you lower the thermostat you can save about 1-3 percent per degree.
- Dress appropriately for the season, even when indoors. For example, you wouldn't wear short sleeved shirts outside in the winter, or a sweater in the summer -- make your house temperature relative the outdoor temperature.
- Replace the filters in your heating and air conditioning units often, clogged filters aren't as efficient.
- If you have rooms in your home that rarely get used, either close the vents or purchase vent covers. There's no sense heating or cooling a room no one goes into, instead you'll be reducing the number of square feet in your home that are heated or cooled.
- Use silicone caulk to plug areas around windows and doors, or apply weather-stripping so there are no drafts and hot or cold air doesn't escape. When shopping for any large home appliance, make sure to choose one with an Energy Star label.
- Most utility companies will send an energy expert to your home to do an analysis and see where you can make changes to save money and energy.
- Comparison shop for lower auto and homeowner's insurance rates. Sometimes you can save more money if you consolidate to one company. Are you getting the best deal on your phone service?
- Comparison shop to confirm. Make sure you aren't paying for extra services you don't need or use, such as call waiting, call forwarding, etc.
- Make extra mortgage payments when you can. You can save thousands of dollars in interest and shorten the loan period.