The key to successful saving begins at home—literally. Reducing your power bill helps you save money—money that you can then use to pay down debts, save up for something special, invest for later or even just buy yourself something fun from time to time.
You already know that you should turn off the lights when you leave a room and unplug electrical devices that you aren’t using. You know about washing dishes by hand, air drying your clothes, wearing a sweater instead of turning up the heat, etc. You might even be doing all of that and getting frustrated because you know that your bill is still too high. So what can you do to further reduce that bill?
Go to the Source
Go straight to your utility company (or call them on the phone). Go over your most recent electric bill with them and ask them about every tax, surcharge, fee, etc. If you can, it’s worth spending some time shopping around to make sure you get the best rates.
Note: Not everybody will have this option as most states still have highly regulated energy industries. If you’re lucky enough to live in a state that has deregulated its energy industry, though, like Texas or Ohio (among a few others), shop around for power the way you’d shop around for anything else. Use comparison sites like www.ohiogascompanies.com or whatever’s local in your area to get a quick side by side look at the different providers where you live. Go with the company that gives you the best rates for the type of power you want (make sure to check into renewable energy programs).
Alternative Isn’t Just Music Anymore
Who says you have to plug your charger into a wall? Now there are solar chargers that will allow you to charge almost any small and portable device, like your phone, your iPod, etc. You could even go for the upgraded models that will hold enough power to charge a laptop or tablet computer.
The benefit of using a solar charger isn’t just that it saves you money on your power bill. It also keeps you covered if you desperately need to charge your phone but aren’t near an outlet.
Spend the Money Now to Save Later
CFL bulbs are great—they use less power and last longer, which saves you money. They’re also ugly and they take a long time to warm up to their full output. Go with LED lights instead. Once or twice a month, switch out an incandescent, fluorescent or CFL bulb for an LED bulb (this helps ease the initial sting of the $20/bulb cost). LED bulbs use even less power and last even longer than CFLs, they look like regular light bulbs and they don’t need to “power up.”
Feng Shui Your Seating
Position your furniture so that you can take as much advantage of natural light as possible. Putting chairs and tables (and even your bed) near windows makes it easier to read, write, etc. without having to turn on a lamp until absolutely necessary. Plus, in the summer, being close to the window will help you cool off, lessening your dependence on the air conditioner!
There are all sorts of things that you can do to reduce your power consumption and make sure that you aren’t paying too much for what you do use. We’ve talked about a few here. What are some of your favorites?