By Sun Jung • May 08, 2014
By changing some of your living habits, you can save from hundreds to thousands of dollars in utility bills. Consider practicing these 10 simple ways to reduce your living expenses:
1. Avoid using the clothes dryer
Hang or line those clothes instead of stuffing them into the dryer. About 6% of your total electricity bill originates from your use of clothes dryer. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid using the drying machine and let the sun do the work. Besides, think about all the times your H&M clothes shrank from the dryer. And now, rethink about the bill you had to pay to get your clothes ruined. It’s a double loss. Opt for a more natural and green way to treat your clothes.
2. Use the dishwasher less frequently
Unless the dishwasher is fully loaded with plates and utensils, do not use it to wash small loads. Even though it might seem far more convenient, dishwashers use a lot of water and will break down if used too frequently. The repair costs can be very expensive too. Choose the old-fashioned handwash for small amounts of dirty dishes and silverware.
3. Take water from your local gym/school/workplace
Whenever you hit the local gym, school or workplace, take a water bottle with you and fill it up before coming to home. Think about it this way: by taking a full water bottle home, you’re taking what groceries charge $2.50 for free. Soon, you won’t be tossing away money to buy water bottles or filter replacements as often as you did.
4. Monitor your roommates’ habits
Having lived with four other girls, I paid around $20 for electricity per month. After two of them moved out, a new roommate moved in with us. Her living habits skyrocketed our electricity bill to $40 per person. Nobody wants to confront their roommates since they want to minimize any tension under the roof; however, you need to speak up and fix her habits of leaving the switch on overnight. Politely tell her and mention the numbers. (hint: use words like “doubled” or “multiplied” several times with eye contact.) Do it for the sake of environment and your bank account.
5. Buy a programmable thermostat
A thermostat can save you around 10% in heating and cooling expenditures. Heaters and air conditioners tend to devour a sizable chunk of our electricity bill. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature low or high depending on the seasons. By setting it lower during winter or higher during summer when you’re not at home, you can save a lot of money. There are several exclusive coupons for Ace Hardware where you can purchase thermostats.
6. Work during the day
Be a diurnal creature by starting your day early and getting all of your work done during the day. Not only do you save money on electricity, but also save money on gas by beating the rush hour. If you are a night owl, try to change your sleeping habits. Take advantage of the longer daylights during this summer.
7. Enjoy the outdoors
It might be tempting to lounge around the couch and watch TV during the weekends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but consider doing more outdoor activities that are budget-friendly. Walk leisurely around the park, hang out with friends, or visit a free art exhibition. The more you stay indoors, the more you’ll end up using electricity, water, etc. Plus it’s the summer. You can hibernate later in the winter.
8. Switch to LED or CFL bulbs
Something as simple and mundane as buying light bulbs can save $70 a year. When you go to the stores, purchase the LED or CFL bulbs. They use approximately 75% less energy and have a durability of 25 times longer than the conventional light bulbs. You can purchase these bulbs with coupons at a cheaper price in Capitol Lighting.
9. Open that window
Before turning on the fan or air conditioner, consider opening that window. Sometimes we tend to rely on technology too much that we often forget what nature gives us for free every day: Air. Alleviate that stuffiness in the house by opening your window cost-free.
10. Plant trees
For those of you who have a yard and/or garden, plant trees. Not only is it good for the environment, but also gives shade and reduces air conditioning costs up to 50%. Buy trees from your local florist or wait until the next National Arbor Day (usually last day of April) to get a free tree from the government. Sharpen those gardening skills to a profitable use.
Sun Jung Sun Jung is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California majoring in English Literature. Born in South Korea, she was raised in Guadalajara, Mexico for seventeen years before coming to LA for college.