Lower Your Electric Bill


I have reduced my electric bill by 30% with 10 simple steps, and you can too!


I discovered a nifty little tool on my electric company's website.  It asks you a few questions about your house; size, types of appliances, number of people in the house, number of stories, etc.  Then it compares your electric bill to that of other similar homes in your area.  Here is how my house compares:

lower your electric bill
This is very rewarding to see! At my old house, the energy rates were very low so energy conservation was not really a priority for me. Then I built a new home a few years back. It was new and was stocked with brand new, energy efficient appliances, and I thought I would see lower electric bills than ever before... until I got my first electric bill. Imagine my shock to see a bill two times what I was used to. Why? Turns out this new house is serviced by a different electric company with much higher rates. Since then, lowing that bill has been one of my main priorities! So far I have gotten it down about 30%. I still thought that still seemed high, but now seeing how much below average my usage is I am feeling sort of proud of my accomplishment. I just love seeing my little arrow barely clinging on to the end of the scale in the graphic above! :)

Here are 10 ways I have reduced my electric bill and energy usage:

1.) I unplug appliances I do not regularly use.  This saves on "vampire" usage and has cut down my electric bill.

2.) I have an extra freezer in the basement.  It is old and not very efficient (but it was free!).  I only use it during times when there is no way I can fit everything into my main freezer (once or twice per year).  The rest of the time it is empty and unplugged.  There is no need to keep it plugged in and running if it is empty.

3.) I have my computer set to go into energy efficient mode after a short set time of inactivity.

4.) I wash all my laundry with cold water.  The clothes get just as clean and I am not paying to heat water.

5.) I hang dry a lot (though not all) of my clothes after washing them, eliminating the need to use the dryer.

6.) I only do full loads of laundry, both washing and drying.  I find I can mix most of my clothes, despite color (washing in cold water helps prevent colors from running), and so having a full load is rarely a problem.

7.) I turn off lights when I am not in the room.  The only light I keep on all the time is one in my kitchen over the sink and three outside my house (for security purposes).

8.) I switched all of my lighting - inside and out - to CFL bulbs.  These really are energy efficient and save a lot of money on your bill.  As a bonus, you don't need to replace them as often!

9.) I have turned down the temperature on my hot water heater.  This saves energy because the tank is not having to heat the water as often or as much.

10.) In the summer, I use my AC sparingly.  For the most part, keeping the ceiling fans running keeps the house relatively cool.  For the times when the heat gets excessive, I run the AC just long enough to cool the house off, and then I turn it off again (a programmable thermostat is a must).  Air conditioning is a major drain on your energy budget!

Why bother?

What could you do with an extra $300 a year?  That is what I am saving compared to the 'average person' with a house similar to mine.  I can fund a lot of craft projects, shopping trips, or travel adventures with that money!  it also could go a long way towards funding an emergency fund or paying off a debt.  If you could easily earn an extra $300 or more, why wouldn't you?

How do you save money on your electric bill?  Leave a comment and let us know!  

(This post is linked at Homebody, We Are That Family, The Saved Quarter, The Thrifty Home, Gnowfglins (Simple Lives Thursday)Coupon Teacher, Fantastic Frugal Fridays, The Frugal Girls, and Life as Mom.)

33 comments:

Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

It sounds like we have a bit in common :) We have oil heat, so this winter we kept the thermostat at 63-65, depending, and just bundled up in warm clothes. We managed to make it through an entire year with only one normal tank of oil! And when a tank costs about $1000, that's an important thing to do.

In the summer we don't use the A/C unless we have to. And you know what? Last summer I developed a higher tolerance from heat - and I think that's why.

I just hate spending money on utilities!!

The Single Saver said...

Jane, I really hate spending money on utilities, too! Well, I don't mind the money spent on the actual usage... that is only fair. But it is irritating when it seems like over half the bill is comprised of supplemental fees and taxes. Basically, I could not use any electricity and still have a crazy bill. I was shocked when I saw how low my bill was compared to 'the average' in my demographic because I really feel it is too high still.

We do sound a lot alike. In the winter I keep my house in the mid-60s when I am home, and at 52 at night and during the day when I am not home. I am on budget billing, but pay $51 a month (about $600 a year) which I don't think is too bad. But, there are days when I long for a little more heat. :)

ms t said...

OMG i just lost my entire comment!! ARGH!!!

i was writing about CFL bulb information people don't know or seem to talk about. in order to see overall cost savings vs incandescent (i'll call them I bulbs) bulbs, they should not be turned on & off frequently & rapidly, and should only be used in light fixtures that will be on at least 2-4 hrs per day, otherwise light bulb energy use is not reduced nor is the lifespan increased vs I bulbs - this means you may end up spending more on lighting given CFL bulbs are significantly more $$ than I bulbs, or at least they are here in canada. CFL bulbs use more energy than I bulbs at start-up, & i don't remember why turning them on & off quickly shortens their life. some also argue that since CFL bulbs give off less heat than I bulbs that you may notice increased heating costs when using CFL bulbs.

finally, my own personal calculations: a 100 watt I bulb uses 0.1 kilowatt hour to run, while a comparable 23W CFL bulb uses 0.023KWH. here in ontario, on-peak electricity costs $0.099/KWH and off-peak only $0.051/KWH. this means a 100W I bulb costs $0.0099/$0.0051 per hour, while a 23W CFL bulb costs $0.002277/$0.001173 per hour - we're talking less than 1 penny in all 4 cases.

i'm not trying to be preachy & i'm not saying that every little bit doesn't help, i just like people to have an understanding about what they're doing & what it's doing for them. (p/s this info is easily found online, try the energystar website, which appears to be down as i write this...)

Debbie M said...

You do most of the same things I do. But I use motion-sensor lights for the lights outside. I also try lower-electricity ways of cooking--toaster oven instead of big oven, putting pasta and eggs in cold water, then putting on a lid and turning it off while it finishes cooking. (Cupcakes also take less time to bake than cake, though I generally make cake anyway.)

Coupon Teacher said...

Great tips, although it looks like you save $300 a year, not $300 a month. I sure hope your electric bill isn't $800 a month. Thanks for sharing!

Money4ThisNot4That said...

Our move to the new house a few years back also made me gasp! My husband thinks it needs to be 70 in the house at all times. Our house is pretty big and I don't like to heat the whole thing all day long for just him. so I make him take a little space heater into his office and shut the doors. I'm am pretty frugal so this did not surprise him that I made him do this. :)

Kerrie said...

I'm with you ... our bill shot up and i couldn't believe it, even on level pay it was too high. Now the kids say they don't even want the nightlight in the bathroom on b/c we're trying to save every cent to get to legoland in CA someday. having a goal has made them more careful about turning out lights all over the house. we also don't leave our porch light on all night like we used to.

Anonymous said...

i dont understand i pay $800 a month for my puc and it doesnt matter what i do it doesnt really change why is that now what do i do

Anonymous said...

and my rent is only 750 whats up with that i pay more for my puc then i do for my rent thats bull

Anonymous said...

Hi, If you want to talk about High cost in electric/water come to Ponca City Oklahoma. I received my bill today $348.67. I have done every little thing to cut the cost of my bills, we only use A/c in the living room and have every other room blocked off with Heavy weather curtains. I have caulked and expando-foamed every nook and cranny (after getting the L.L. permission first). I placed Styrofoam In the upper halves of the windows (left lowers open for natural light) and placed two sets of weather curtains on each window. I keep all lights off during the daylight hours so the only light is what is coming from a small window above the A/c with yellow and tan curtains since light shines through them. We only have our TV (energy star flat screen) on during the morning and evening. (my kids are just as happy playing and reading as they are watching TV all day. We have one shop fan (uses less energy than a normal house fan) and keep the A/c above 76. We have even taken to sleeping in the living room so that we wont have to cool the rest of the house. I also hang our clothing outside to dry so that i wont have to use the dryer (only use the dryer in the winter which can be modified to help heat the house) The water i use from the washer is now used to water the outside plants(I just attached the washer hose to a garden hose and ran it through the basement window). We now use a toaster oven and hot plate instead of our stove (the stove was even replaced last year to an energy saving one.. really didn't save anything) I replaced my fridge to an energy star one to save cost and since the only place to put it is in the back pantry where MANY windows are i just blocked all those windows with insulation, plastic and curtains. and turned the fridge setting down a little to the recommended settings instead of EVERY thing frozen in the fridge part.. All appliances are on power strips for easy turn off, helps with brown outs and power surges to. The toilets (we have two bathrooms) have a pop bottle with sand in them in the tanks to save water. I have done every thing i could to save money on my bills but the bills keep getting higher. My actual water usage cost was $14.58 and my actual electric usage was $93.46 So my total actual usage cost was $108.04 but my bill was $348.67. We have things tacked on everywhere, water base fee, + water usage fees, res electric base fee + usage + my favorite and most costly Power Cost adjustment ( another $80.00 right there) + Metered service tax (all digital and no one ever comes to your house anymore), Res Sewer base Fee + usage + tax, Res refuse, Res Storm Drg fee, Gas ser tax ( the gas it takes to run the Hydro dam in kaw Lake) Sooo $240.63 was in taxes fees and base usages. Isn't living in Ponca City Fun?? That is not with gas cost or cost of living. We would move but with low paying Jobs and high cost of living you don't have any money to buy even the necessitates. I'm a mom of soon to be Four who lost her job because Walmart had to CuT back to save money and since i had to work set hours due to daycare and being pregnant, i was one of the first to go. I guess walmart is to poor to let people keep their jobs (they cut the elderly too.. We got a new boss that HATES women and elderly) My Hubby works overnights cleaning floors so that is only 8.45 hr. If your lucky you might get 30 hr a week. (our store is a super center not a small store) So money is very tight around here. Jobs are VERY VERY hard to find around this town more than half the population of this town is under Poverty level yet the city WONT do anything about it. We keep getting taxed on new projects that only the wealthy can use (like the New YMCA and Child development center) our city tax is .10 to the dollar.. That is Yikes! on it's own.. So no matter what you do in my Hometown you will never get ahead and can never save money

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