Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saving Money On Utility Bills

It seems like utility rates have  increased quite a bit where I live. I know for a fact that our power supplier increased rates 12% recently. Our gas bill has seemed high, too. This does not bode well for my new uber tight budget, so I have been trying to find ways to decrease our consumption. This has not been an easy task, because I live with four children that didn't realize that the light switch goes UP and DOWN! They are great at turning lights on, but off ....not so much.  I have become the families Black Out warden; only I'm not protecting us from enemy planes, just outrageous energy bills. I may being instigating a $.25 fine for every infraction that occurs if my barrel of  Monkeys doesn't get on board soon. Anyhow, after much thought I have implemented the following energy saving measures at our house:
  • I have turned the thermostat down to between 67 - 68 degrees during the day, and 62 degrees at night. I have noticed that the kids have been wearing the knit caps they got for Christmas around the house, and a few have been wrapped in blankets while they watch television. I have been wearing fleece socks, slippers, and a sweater around the house.  At least nobody is going to freeze....right?
  • I have been opening all the blinds on sunny days to help warm up the house. 
  • I have also been placing rolled up towels ( I just happen to have a few old towels lying around lately) against the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.
  • I have been uber vigilant on turning off all the lights that get left on, and waiting until absolutely necessary to turn them on a night. I have been using lamps more, instead of the over head lights.
  • I have been filling the sink with water to rinse the dishes while I am loading the dishwasher, instead of running them under a stream of water.
  • I run the dishwasher at night after 10:00 pm, when the rates are cheaper.
  • I have been washing most of the laundry in cold water ( I still wash towels, socks, and undies in hot water, because I am raising boys, and they are.....NASTY! I combine those loads.) 
  • I have purchased a second drying rack and am going to try to hang at least two loads of laundry a day up to dry. I have to wash 3 or 4 loads of laundry a day to keep up.
  • I have been rewearing some of my clothes before I wash them. It's too cold in my house to really sweat right now, so I wear my jeans and the cami's I wear under my shirts twice before I wash them. I have been making the kid's wear their pajamas 2 or 3 times, as well. They bathe at night before bed, so theoretically they are clean. Towels are SUPPOSE to be hung up to reuse several times, but this is still a work in progress. You can only train the Monkeys to do one thing  at a time.
  • When I do any baking I try to bake several things to last us several days, to cut down on heating the oven up unnecessarily. I have been thinking of using the crock pot more to cut down on using the oven.
Speaking of baking, this is totally off subject, but I forgot to post pictures of Child #4's Birthday cake this week. Making a birthday cake is a more frugal option than buying one (and I just want to show off my handy work), so hear it is:

The baby loves all things Star Wars. His original request was for a cake made into the shape of the Death Star or a 3 D likeness of Chewbaca. Since, I am not a miracle worker, he had to settle for a battle scene. The action figures were part of his gift (bought on sale with an extra 10% off). The magma (all alien planets have to have a molten lava surface, I was informed) is raspberry jam, the "dirt" is crushed chocolate graham crackers from the pantry, and the candy rocks came from the bulk section of the grocery store. Pretty good for a last minute "making do" cake.

Bloggy friends, give me your ideas! How do you save money on your energy bills?


  1. Great ideas. We also have only flurescent lights. They cost more upfront buy I love the energy savings. We also switched Christmas lights to LED's. In the past I have been know to plug electronics into a power strip and turn it off at night. Otherwise electronics suck power even when turned off. Now shutting the computer down at night is my last fight. It just takes so long to load up in the am and I usually only want to take a few minutes online....

  2. Growing up my mom gave us each our own two towels. They had to last us through the week. I took mine to college. But, if we left them laying on the floor the next day we had a soggy floor and a soggy towel. She gathered them up on Saturday and washed them all in one load. You could just add a hanging tag of different ribbons to the towls that you have, or assign them their own hooks to hang their towels on. Good luck, and please let me know how much your work makes a difference in your utility bill!

  3. Ditto on using flourescent bulbs - you will see a dramatic change in your electric bill if you switch. We keep our thermostat at 64 during the day, and at 58 at night (and we bundle up - a lot). Also, check with your local power provider whether they have a "time of service" option. For example, here you can get the lowest rate after 10:00 pm, so we don't start the dishwasher until after 10, or the washing machine (I usually do laundry all day Sunday because it's cheaper that day).

    There are all sorts of other stuff you can do, but it sounds like you're off to a good start!

  4. Home Depot has a list of things to do around the house to decrease energy bills at

    Weather-strip your door to eliminate the rolled up towels. We paid about $5 to do the door and the drafts are gone as well as the messed up towels.

    DH has been under the house spraying Great Stuff where the vents meet the air ducts.

    He also rebuilt the attic door so it is now heavier with insulation.

    You can buy foam cut-outs to insulate outlet covers, and switch covers. (About $5)

    DS added "bubblewrap" (He bought a big roll on ebay for $14) to the windows. Now you can't see out, but sun comes through and it IS warmer.

    We also use fluorescent bulbs in our lights
    and put in timers for our outside lights

    In fact, since DH has been working on winterizing the house, the bills have been lower and it feels much warmer!

    Lots of things, like the foam switch plates and weatherstripping for windows and outside doors, can be actually be done by your children. Maybe some hands-on will get them on board.

    Hey, that is an AWESOME cake!!!!

  5. I just did a post on my blog about this(im new to blogging)..but I love your ideas. Anything we can do to save money is great with me.

    And sweatshirts and blankets are our best friends right


  6. sounds like you're being really vigilant & I'm with you on the 25c penalty. ha. wicked cool cake!!

  7. Those are all great ideas for saving on energy. Love that cute cake!

  8. Utility bills always get me - I forget that leaving a light on unnecessarily or turning the heat up instead of using a blanket is going to cost me. Here is an article with more tips to lower the cost of your utility bills

    Hopefully this helps everyone out!



Related Posts with Thumbnails