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Ten Ways to Shrink Your Bills

Easy ways to lower your monthly utility bills and save more of your money!

By
Laura Adams, MBA
September 17, 2008
Episode #088

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Today's topic is about how to save money by reducing your utility bills. I'll share 10 ways to help you keep more of your hard-earned money.

In the last show I discussed inflation. As prices rise, it's a good idea to compensate for these increases by reducing spending wherever possible. Whether you rent or own a home, there are many simple ways to lower your utility bills. Just a few small changes in your routines and habits can add up to big savings over time. Consider the following 10 tips to save energy and money in your home:

1. Be conservative with your air conditioning (A/C) thermostat settings. During warm weather, try not to cool your home to a temperature lower than 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Every degree you choose to raise the thermostat above 78 can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 10%. When you leave for work or go away on a summer vacation, raise the thermostat to a minimum of 80 degrees.

And during cold weather, set the temperature to the lowest comfortable setting. It's recommended to aim for 68-70 degrees during the day. Every degree above 70 can cost you an additional 7 to 10%. Consider the fact that warming your home to 75 degrees consistently could cost up to 47% more than keeping it at a moderate 70 degrees. And at night, pull out that extra blanket and lower the thermostat to 60 to 65 degrees. This night time adjustment alone can save you 10 to 20% in heating costs.

2. Use portable fans or ceiling fans. If you've never used ceiling fans, consider installing them. They're inexpensive and allow most people to raise their thermostat setting in warm weather or lower it in cool weather by approximately 3-4 degrees and feel just as comfortable. Reversible ceiling fans help during cold weather by pulling heat from the ceiling and pushing it downward. Use fans only in rooms that are occupied and remember to turn them off when you're away.

3. Reduce the workload on your A/C unit. Inside your home, make sure your air filters are clean and that the air return vents and registers aren't blocked by furniture, drapes or rugs. Outside your home, check that A/C units are free of debris and not blocked by shrubs.

Use drapes, shades, or awnings to block the sun during the hottest part of the day in warm weather. Then during cold weather open drapes and shades to let the heat in, but keep them closed at night to reduce heat loss.

4. Cook with a microwave oven. Microwaves are inexpensive and use up to 30% less energy than traditional ovens to cook or reheat food. Plus they won't add extra heat in the kitchen during warm weather.

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