Saving Money

7 Ways to Save on Energy & Afford More Fun

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Do you ever have those years where money is just tight?  You know you could really use a vacation but the reality is that there are bills that have to be paid.  When it’s impossible to increase your income, the only change you have left to make is to cut your expenses.  That might involve using coupons for groceries, cutting cable or making fewer trips in your car to save gas.  If you’re like me, one of your biggest expenses each month is your energy bill.  If you are willing to make few adjustments to your energy use, you might just find a little extra cash to stash for fun.

 7 Ways to Save on Energy ( & Afford More Fun)

1. Don’t touch that thermostat.

We keep our thermostat set at 78 degrees F in the summer and 68 degrees F in the winter. In the spring and fall we totally turn our thermostat off and put out the pilot light.  Since I work at home I choose clothing for each season that keeps my body temperature comfortable inside the house.

7 Ways to Save on Energery Thermostat

2. Sleep under an electric blanket.

We keep really warm in the winter by sleeping under an electric blanket. It allows us to keep our house around 68 degrees in the winter without feeling too cold.  Our blanket has separate controls for each side so that my husband and I can adjust the temperature to suit our own temperature preferences.  It also has an auto turn off function that keeps the blanket from operating longer than 10 hours at a time.  You’d be surprised at how warm you can keep your house by layering up and using an electric blanket. As for staying cool in the summer months…

3. Utilize your attic fan.

One way we cool our house down in a hurry is by opening the windows throughout the house and using our attic fan. It draws the cooler evening air in and circulates throughout the house dropping our inside temperature down several degrees without turning on the A/C.

4. Maximize your laundry day.

I fill the washer to capacity and wash 95% of my clothes using cold water. On my High Efficiency washer I’ve started using quick cycle which not only cuts laundry day in half; it uses far less electricity and my clothes are just as clean.  I also like to do all my laundry on the same day so that I can use the dryer while it’s hot for every load.

Normal Wash CycleQuick Wash Cycle5. Replace those old appliances.

I know most of us can’t afford to go out and replace all of our appliances at once. As our old appliances need replacing, my husband and I replace them with ENERGY STAR® certified appliances that we find on sale–either from discount retailers or scratch and dent stores.

6. Turn stuff off.

I turn off lights and try to unplug appliances not in use. If you were to look around your home right now, there are probably unused appliances plugged in that are still using power.  Do yourself a favor and try to keep things unplugged until you need to use them or charge them.

7. Switch to compact florescent bulbs.

We started using compact fluorescent bulbs early on in our marriage because we wanted to save some money and not have to replace the bulbs as often. We have found that these bulbs last well over a year in most cases.  In fact, we make sure that when we replace  lighting fixtures in our 1980’s home that we choose ones that allow us to use compact fluorescent bulbs.  Not all fixtures are made for this bulbs so read the box.

7 Ways to Save on Energy Compact Fluorescent Lighting

More Money for Fun

When my husband and I sit down to do our budget each month and find we have leftover money from our original projections, we can put that left over cash into the “fun fund” for trips, vacations, special dinners, or hobbies.  Just think, if you were able to strategically cut your energy bills back $50 per month, you could save $600 this year.   If you’re looking for a little more fun money in your budget, be more intentional about how you spend your energy.  It’s one of the simplest ways to cut back your expenses and all it takes is a few seconds here and there.

If you want more inspiration on how to save money on your energy costs, check out all the helpful resources PG&E has to offer on their website.  Try out their interactive home money saver page, too. It’s a great place to find more actionable ideas for cutting back on energy spending.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

7 Ways to Save on Energy & afford more fun for your family. Simple tips and tricks that can save you money on your energy bills.

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  1. A few more ideas that may not work for everyone, but that have worked for me.

    Avoid Dryer Use If Possible: Items that will hang dry without problems can go on hangers in a closet or on a strong shower bar. Clotheslines and indoor drying racks may also be good options. Humidity, home owners associations and weather can affect these options. On laundry day at my house, you would probably see clothes and other linens laying around the house over backs of chairs, couches, elliptical machines, etc. This has made me think twice about listing my house on, although with the additional income, I could probably justify more dryer use. Ha!

    Air Conditioning? For 9 summers in Colorado and 1 in Maine, our air conditioning consisted of opening the windows at night and closing windows and blinds during the day (depending on the temperatures. I realize this doesn’t work everywhere ::cough:: ::cough:: ::Florida:: ::cough::

    One I haven’t tried, but that might be worth checking into is that for about 20 dollars at (including shipping), you can get this thing called a P3 International P4170 Save A Watt Edge Timer. It looks like you can put it on a timer and plug things like power strips into it. When not in use it’s supposed to shut the power down. It has a motion sensor and various timeout options to choose from.

  2. I needed this so badly! We moved to a bigger house last winter and you wouldn’t believe my face when our summer electric bill was $400 every month! We have natural gas for the winter so we get a break for a while, but next summer, I’ll be implementing every one of these!

    1. Rosemarie, I had one of those situations too. 2 years ago I opened an electric bill that was $305 and almost fell out on the kitchen floor. This month my electric will was $71. I look at the little bars in my bill that compare this month to last month and the year before. My goal is always be lower than last years bill! It takes effort to go around and ensure you’re turning stuff off and unplugging unused electronics but it really pays off when you pay attention.

  3. Doing all the laundry at one time so the dryer stays warm is genius! I already do mine at the same time, but mainly because I don’t want to have to do it a second time during the week. Who knew I was saving on energy, too?!

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