Ten Ways to Shrink Your Bills

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

Laura Adams, MBA
4-minute read
Episode #88

5. Shorten laundry cycles and use more cold water. Using less hot water and choosing shorter wash cycles will save both energy and water. Try to wait until you have a full load or be sure to adjust the water level accordingly when doing smaller loads of laundry.

6. Minimize dryer time & maximize use. Hot dryers pull a lot of energy, so be sure to remove clothes while they're still damp to save energy. Always do one dryer load right after another. This maximizes the heat that's already built up in the dryer from the prior load. And if your dryer is inside your home, make sure it's properly vented to reduce the strain on your A/C during warm weather.

7. Reduce hot-water settings. For every 10 degrees that you reduce your hot-water heater thermostat, it's possible to lower your power bill by 5%. A good temperature setting is 120 degrees if your dishwasher has a hot water booster, or 130 degrees if not.  And remember to turn off hot water heaters at the circuit breaker when you're going to be away for 3 or more days.

8. Save more water. Taking a short shower instead of a bath can save four to five gallons of water. Other ways to save water include running a dishwasher only with a full load of dishes, repairing leaky faucets, and being mindful not to let faucets run unnecessarily.

9. Give your refrigerator a check up. Because refrigerators and freezers operate constantly, they use a lot of energy. To increase their efficiency, periodically pull them away from the wall to make sure they're clean. The motor, coils and vents should be kept free of dust. When putting the refrigerator back in place, be sure to leave sufficient room for air to circulate. The ideal temperature setting for refrigerators is from 35 to 42 degrees and for freezers from 0 to 5 degrees.

10. Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances. When you do have to purchase a new appliance, such as a refrigerator or washing machine, consider spending a little more up front for the energy savings that will come from long-term use of these state of the art appliances.

For tips on reducing spending in other areas, please see my episode about saving money.


Other Resources
For more money saving tips check out the September issue of ShopSmart magazine at ShopSmartmag.org. They're from the publisher of Consumer Reports and were a contributor to today's topic. Also consider visiting the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy at aceee.org as well as the website of your local power company.

Make-It-Green Girl is another excellent show in the Quick and Dirty Tips Network. The last several episodes have been devoted to energy and water conservation. For lots more green practices that are good for the Earth and for your bank account, find the Make-It-Green Girl podcast at quickanddirtytips.com or in iTunes.


Have you ever read a book by David Sedaris? He's an incredibly funny author who just released his sixth essay collection titled When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Sedaris always delivers an intelligent and moving viewpoint on the absurdities of life. His publisher describes him as being able to use life's most bizarre moments to reach new heights in understanding love and fear, family and strangers.

I'm glad you're listening and look forward to reading more of your comments and questions. Send email to money@quickanddirtytips.com.

Chi-Ching, that's all for now, courtesy of Money Girl, your guide to a richer life.

Couple with Bills image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.