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How We Keep Our Utility Bill Low

As you guys can probably attest to, utilities can be expensive! But they don’t have to be. Keep reading for six tips that we’ve learned to keep the utility bill down!

1. Unplug Electronics (Dah! But There is More to It)

Most people are familiar with the idea of turning off electronic devices to save power. But the thing is, simply switching off things like the tv, lamps, coffee maker, microwave, phone and laptop chargers, desktop computers, etc. and then calling it a day is really only a half-measure. Ideally, what you want to be doing to take your savings to the next level is actually UNPLUGGING your electronic appliances and devices. Why? Because electronics, even if they are turned off, continue to draw phantom energy from the outlets. This phantom energy is responsible for around 10% of your entire electricity bill! So simply unplugging your devices after you’re done using them can end up saving you a ridiculous amount of money.

That said, going around the house everyday and plugging in and out all your electronics can be a bit of a chore. I get it. One way to make this easier is to invest in a single surge protector where you can plug in multiple different devices. Then, once you’ve finished using the electronics in a specific area, like after cooking breakfast in the kitchen for instance, you can just unplug the surge protector, cutting power to all the attached appliances.

Another thing you can do to make this process more convenient is to spread out the task by assigning everyone in the household their own area of responsibility. For example, in our home each of our daughters are assigned their own bedrooms and they are expected to make sure everything is unplugged.

Oh, and one last thing to note: Don’t forget about your cell phones! Always unplug your phone once it's fully charged - don’t just leave it in the charger all day! And if you really want to go the extra mile, try charging your phone in your car, rather than at home!

2. Pay Attention to Peak Hours

Peak hours are the times of day when it is most expensive to use your appliances. Because peak hours are set by your utility company, they might vary from company to company. Generally speaking, though, they run from 12pm-7pm on weekdays. So, by waiting until after 7pm to do your dishes or making Saturday your laundry day, you can save a LOT of money!

To make things even more efficient, make sure you (a) only run your washer/dryer or dishwasher with full loads, and (b) optimize the limited space you have within your appliances. For example, wash large pots and pans in the sink instead of the dishwasher, and use the extra space to wash more plates, bowls, etc. so that you’re using the space as efficiently as possible.

3. Take Showers Not Baths

Ok, I know this one may be controversial - people are really passionate about their baths! But trust me, if you’re willing to give them up, you can end up saving a LOT!

You typically use around 30 gallons of water for a bath, and around 20 gallons of water for a 10 minute shower. And while that may not seem like a huge difference, that extra 10 gallons can really add up. A family of 4, for example, can save 280 gallons of water a week just by opting to take daily showers over daily baths. Multiplied out over a year, that’s almost 15,000 gallons of water saved!

In order to make the most of this hack and maximize your savings, make sure to install a low-flow showerhead which uses 2 gallons per minute, as opposed to the 3-4 gallons per minute a regular showerhead uses.

4. Adjust your Thermostat

According to the U.S. Department of Health, you can save an estimated 1% on your utility bill for every degree you adjust your thermostat for 8 hours. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you freeze in your own home! But by allowing your home to be a little warmer in the summers and a little cooler in the winters, you can save quite a bit on your bill. And if you’re willing to layer your clothes, adjusting 7-10 degrees may not even seem like a big deal...until, that is, you see the 7-10% savings on your bill at the end of the month!

5. Use aluminum Foil in your Dryer

So this trick is really simple. All you have to do is take a few sheets of aluminum paper and crumble them together to form a small ball, around the size of a tennis ball. Then just pop this aluminum foil ball in with your wet clothes and prepare for your drying time to be cut down by 25%! How this works is that the aluminum ball eliminates static electricity, separating your clothes and allowing them to dry faster. And the best part about this hack is that aluminum foil balls can serve as a green alternative to fabric softener or dryer sheets!

6. Use LED light bulbs

Now some of you might be wondering why I’m advocating you spend your hard earned cash on more expensive light bulbs when the purpose of this post is to help you save money. Well, hear me out. We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for,'' and this actually couldn’t be more true when it comes to LEDs.

Though you can find traditional incandescent light bulbs for around a dollar, they only last for a year. LED light bulbs, on the other hand, can cost as much as $8, but last for up to 23 years! Their long life span actually makes LEDs more cost effective than their incandescent counterparts. For instance, the average lifespan of an incandescent bulb is 1,200 hours, and the average lifespan of an LED bulb is 25,000 hours. So you would have to buy 25 $1 incandescent light bulbs for a total of $25 in order to last the same amount of time as a single $8 LED bulb.

And that’s not all! LEDs are more energy efficient, drawing only 10 watts of electricity as opposed to the 60 watts drawn by an incandescent bulb. Overall, the total operating cost over 23 years is $201 for incandescent light bulbs and $38 for LEDs. The return on LED lights is phenomenal and it really is a no-brainer if you're looking for the most cost effective lighting option.

So, whether you’re switching your lights or eliminating that phantom energy throughout your house, there is almost always something you can do to reduce your energy bill. And the best part: Not only can you save money, but you can also help protect the environment! It’s a win-win!

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Hello, We’re Amon & Christina

We’re former federal government employees that focused on saving, making, and investing money so that we could grow enough wealth in our investments to never have to work again.

And, guess what? We did it! At the age of 39, we reached financial independence, quit our jobs, and . . . we retired!

So, if you’re interested in learning how to save, make and invest money on the road to financial independence and retiring early (i.e., F.I.R.E.) - this site is for you!

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