Five Tips on Reducing Your Utility Bills

Five Tips on Reducing Your Utility Bills

Everyone who owns a home or rents a home has to pay for utilities. Sometimes they are included in the rent and if this is the case, then you will not be able to control how much you are charged. If you want to reduce how much you pay, you may have to just move to somewhere cheaper or find a place where they are not included. You could try some of the tips below, but it is unlikely to make a significant difference unless everyone in the apartment block does them. Even then, the landlord may still charge the same rent despite the fact that the utilities are now cheaper. If you are interested in using less water or energy for environmental reasons, you may think that it is worth doing these things regardless of there being a risk that you will not save any money.

Use energy saving appliances

These days it is much easier to see what the energy rating is on various appliances. Although you may not know what the rating is for the appliances that you already own, when you buy know ones, particularly white goods, there will be a rating on it. This will allow you to compare different brands and models and choose one that is the best. Although energy ratings are meant to help the environment, it will also allow you to see which will be cheaper to run. This that use less energy will be cheaper as well as greener.

It can therefore be tempting, if you can afford it, to ditch all of your appliances and replace them with efficient ones. This can make you feel greener and that you are saving money, but actually may not be the case. Each appliance not only has a lot of raw materials to make it, which has an environmental cost, the old appliances also have to be disposed of. If you sell them or give them away and someone else uses them, this will minimise waste but they will eventually have to be broken down somehow.

Also, cost wise, it is likely to be a lot more expensive. If you calculate the money saving of running a more efficient appliance you will see that it is minimal compared with the cost of buying a new one. Paying $500 for a new item which lasts 20 years will not justify the energy saving of a dollar a week. It can be card be hard to calculate exactly how much you will save and how long you will need an item before you start saving money compared to keeping the old one.

It can therefore be wiser to only replace items that are broken down but when you do replace them then look for something which is really energy efficient.

Turn appliances off when not using them

It makes much more sense to use the appliances you have already less often and this could save a lot of money as well as energy. Just switching off a TV set, rather than putting it on standby can save a lot of money and if you do this with every appliance it can really add up. So switch off those computers, don’t leave items charging unnecessarily and remember to turn out the light as you leave a room.

Making these very small changes can really add up to make a difference and you will find that you will soon get into the habit of doing it. It is wise to try to get your family doing it as well, although this can be a lot more difficult than just doing it yourself!

It is a good exercise to walk around your apartment or house and find every item which uses electricity and think about whether it could be switched off or if not, whether there would be times when it could be switched off.

Use windows/drapes/blinds/clothing to help with temperature control

Keeping ourselves warm or cool can cost a lot of money. Whether we are using air conditioners, fans or heating they all cost a lot of money to use. It can be wise to try different ways of keeping your home a comfortable temperature without using them.

Dressing appropriately is a good way to start. Make sure that you have lots of warm layers of clothing if you are feeling chilly. Alternatively, have light and loose clothing for when it is warm. Drinking warm or chilled drinks and eating hot or cold meals, depending on the climate can make a difference as well.

If you have a lot of windows then they can make a big difference. Sunlight can pour in a warm a room, which is great in cooler climate, but if things are getting too hot you should pull the drapes or close blinds to block that heat out. In cooler climates make sure that you make use of the warmth of the sun by opening those drapes and blinds to let it come in and warm the room.

Minimise water usage

If you have a water meter then you will pay for each bit of water that you use. This means that by using less you will save money. By showering instead of bathing you can save money, as long as you are not in there too long. Make sure that you have no leaks or dripping faucets. Use water efficient appliances, but remember the tips above about replacing appliances and make sure that it will either save you money in the short term or that you only replace appliances as they break down. Think hard before using hosepipes and if you are washing a car use a bucket of water and water the garden with a watering can to stop you using more than is needed.

Compare prices

Comparing prices of utility suppliers can really make a difference to how much you are paying. It can be tempting to stick with the same supplier all of the time. It is certainly easier and you may feel some loyalty towards them. However, you need to make sure that you are not paying significantly more money for this. It could be well worth seeing whether you can switch to a different supplier and save some money. You can often compare prices online and so it is relatively easy to find out whether it is worth your while changing.


How to Buy Everything That You Need and Still save Money

How to Buy Everything That You Need and Still save Money

It can seem unrealistic to think that you could buy everything that you needed and still have money left over. Most of us find that we never seem to have enough money to buy everything and this can lead to unhappiness and debt. I could even mean that every month we are desperate for our pay check to arrive as we are not able to buy everything that we want. However, there are ways that you can manage so that you have everything that you need and still have money left, which you could put into a savings account or use to pay off debt.

Consider what you need

It is really easy to think that everything we buy are things that we need. We think that we need a cell phone, computer, Netflix, music downloads, cable TV, vacations, jewellery and things like this. However, these things will not keep us alive in the way that food, shelter and warmth will, but they are very much a part of daily life for most of us. Many of us could not contemplate life without certain things or would feel that we could not have a happy life without them.

It is an interesting exercise to just separate the items that we need from the items that we like to have but do not need. Do not be scared, I am not saying that you will have to go without all of these things, but you need to prioritise spending on the things that you need. Then you know where you can cut down on your spending. We also have different ideas about what we need and what for us, we could go without. Therefore it is a very personal choice. There may be things that you can manage without more easily than others.

Is it possible to cut down or reduce costs? This is the point where you can see whether you really want to buy everything that you spend money on. There may be subscriptions that you forgot you had, you could be paying for more cable channels than you watch, you may never have time to read the newspapers you buy, or things like that. Just think through all of the items and whether you really want them and what difference you think that it could make if you stop buying them. It can sometimes be difficult to stop buying certain items, particularly charity donations and gifts for family and friends, but it may be that if you cut them down rather than out or cut out other things instead.

It is also worth thinking about the items that you want to continue to buy and whether you can get them cheaper. There are many ways to save money on items, perhaps by switching to a different brand, a different retailer or provider, finding sales, cashback or other deals. It is worth keeping a look out for deals but also trying different brands and things to see whether you can still buy everything that you want without spending so much money.

It can actually get to be a lot of fun, hunting around for good prices and you may find that you discover new products, brands, retailers and suppliers that you were not aware of and suddenly find that they are really great and you wished you had come across them before. It is good to think of this as a challenge rather than a chore. Once you get used to comparing prices before you shop, it will be a habit and you will find it easy to do. You will also get to know where to find the best prices or value for money and so you may not need to always compare, but just change your shopping habits for good.

Focus on your goal

It is so important to make sure that you keep in mind why you are saving money. Think about all of the advantages that you will get as a result of it. Think about all of those dollars that you will gain and what you want to do with them It might just mean that you can manage more easily through the month or it might be that you will have some extra money that you can save and then as the months go by and you put more and more dollars into the account, you will be able to think about what you want to buy with it. It could be that you would like to save up towards a vacation, buy some new clothing, treat your family or put it towards gifts perhaps for the holiday season. Alternatively, it may be that you want to pay off a debt that you have, perhaps a credit card or a different loan and you could use all the spare money that you have to make overpayments on that so that you can eliminate that debt.

Having a goal is really important as it can help to keep you focussed on the task ahead. Writing it down has been shown to be a technique that leads to achieving a goal much more successfully and so this is something that you should consider doing as well. Reading that statement as often as possible, perhaps every day, will keep the idea fresh in your mind and mean that you will be more focussed on achieving that goal. You could stick it on a mirror or door that you look at daily so that you can have the opportunity to read it.

When you have to consider whether you really want something every time you spend money or spend time comparing prices, you may start to feel that you are not keen on doing this. However, if you keep reminding yourself of why it is so important and what a difference it really will make to your future, then this can keep you making the necessary effort and feeling happy about what you are doing at the same time.