Laura interviews Bruce Lubin, co-author of the best-selling Who Knew? series of household hints books—and a new QDT podcast by the same name. We talk about clever ways to reduce energy usage and save money. Find out how Bruce gets his entire family on board to cut their utility bills.
Bruce: Dishwashers, but it’s really the dry cycle, which uses steam. De-select the Dry Cycle, or, if you have an older dishwasher, just open the door at the beginning of the dry cycle.
Dryers too—use a large towel to reduce drying time. Check your dryer’s screen: the lint from the screen in your dryer may not be enough to make sure it is running as efficiently as possible. The fabric softener used in dryer sheets can get caught in the mesh, even if you can’t see it. To be sure you’re completely cleaning the screen, remove it and clean it with warm, soapy water and a brush. Leave it out to dry completely before placing back in your dryer.
Q: What about saving water?
Bruce: Back to dishwashers—you should actually wash pots and pans by hand (usually)—you save up so much room and you don’t have to do Pots ‘n’ Pans mode.
With today’s high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines, the expense is really heating the water. So wash everything as cold as you can. You also may want to lower the temp you keep your hot water heater at. We recommend 120º F, which is plenty hot, even though many water heaters come set at 140º.
Other than that, low-flow showerheads and other faucets are a must! Definitely worth the price. Just ask at the hardware store.
Q: What about teenagers taking long showers?
Bruce: Give teens an incentive to take shorter showers—5 minutes added to their curfew for every 1 minute they shave of their shower time. (Or 5 minutes more of time with their phone at the end of the night, etc.)
Q: What about tips for saving money on air conditioning?
Bruce: Keep blinds closed during the day – people probably know that! But also, close all closet doors, and seal off rooms you aren’t using. Use duct tape if your vents don’t close. And, make sure your windows and doors seal properly—that can save you big.
Q: Any other tips for saving energy?
Bruce: Believe it or not, MOST electric companies charge you more for electricity during peak times, which are usually between 4 and 8pm. Google the name of your electric company and “peak pricing” to see if yours does. If possible, keep your AC off during these times, and do more laundry and other electricity-intensive tasks during non-peak times.
Get More Money Girl!
Want to know the best financial and productivity tools that I use and recommend to save time and money? Click here to check out 40+ tools I recommend!
To connect on social media, you’ll find Money Girl on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Also, if you’re not already subscribed to the Money Girl podcast on iTunes or the Stitcher app, both are free and make sure that you’ll get each new weekly episode as soon as it’s published on the web.
There’s a huge archive of past articles and podcasts if you type in what you want to learn about in the search bar at the top of the page. Here are all the many places you can connect with me, learn more about personal finance, and ask your money question:
- Dominate Your Dollars - Laura's private Facebook Group
- Money Girl on Facebook
- Laura on Facebook
- Money Girl podcast on iTunes (it’s free to subscribe!)
- Money Girl on the Stitcher app (also free to subscribe!)
- Email: LauraDAdams.com/contact
To learn about how to get out of debt, save money, and build wealth, get a copy of my award-winning book Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. It tells you what you need to know about money without bogging you down with what you don’t. It’s available at your favorite bookstore as a paperback or e-book. Click here to download 2 FREE book chapters now!
Bills at Home image courtesy of Shutterstock