The cost of living can be enough to stress anyone out. Having the financial means to cover all the household bills along with any other financial responsibilities can present challenges. While it can be pretty easy to eliminate the things you want (like say an unlimited data plan on your cell phone plan) to save a few bucks each month, when it comes to things that you need such as utilities, it can be a bit more challenging. If you find that making ends meet is becoming increasingly difficult, it might benefit you to find ways to minimize your out of pocket costs.
Let’s start with the cable bill. On average, a family can spend upwards of $65 a month for cable alone. This can add up to approximately $800 a year or more. If you’d like to come down on those costs, there are a few things that you can do. One of the most popular options would be to look for other satellite TV services. Alternative avenues could cut the costs in half and incorporate online connectivity as well.
No matter how you slice it, you need water on the daily basis. Unfortunately, you only have one supplier for water and therefore, shopping around is not an option for this particularly utility. That doesn’t mean that you cannot save money. Through conserving the amount of water that your household uses on the daily basis, you can bring down the overall cost. Here are some tips to saving on your water bill:
- Take shorter showers – instead of those long drawn out showers you like to take, shave a few minutes off the time you shower. Wet the wash rag, lather up, then turn on the water to rinse off. If you have a bit of money to invest, you can also invest in timers for your shower. The timer can be set so that the water goes off after a predetermined period of time.
- Don’t let water run – have you been known to allow the water to run while brushing your teeth or washing the dishes? If so, you’re wasting a lot of water. Instead of letting the water run, brush your teeth then turn on the water to rinse your toothbrush. When washing dishes, fill up a basin with water and rinse the dishes once you’ve finished washing them all.
- Wash complete loads – your washing machine uses a lot of water to clean a load of laundry. That being said, you want to make sure that you’re filling to washing machine enough so that you’re getting the most use out of the water. Washing a shirt or two is really a waste of resources.
- Check for leaks – sometimes there could be plumbing issues that cause your water bill to rise. Check around the home for any visible leaks that could be costing you money. Your local water company may be willing to check for you as they can do a more thorough job in pinpointing the cause of the leak.
Gas and Electric Bill
Of all the utilities you’re responsible for, your gas and electric bill is likely the most burdensome. During extreme seasons like summer and winter, you utilize your heating and cooling systems which can cause the bill to skyrocket. Luckily, there are ways to save on your gas and electric bill as well.
- Switch suppliers – Utility deregulation affords consumers the ability to choose who they receive their gas and electric services from. With companies competitively marketing for business, you can often find affordable plans that work better with your budget.
- Turn off the lights not in use
- Unplug appliances not in use
- Properly insulate your home
- Seal any cracks or airways
- Upgrade appliances to more energy efficient ones
- Request an energy audit
If you’re looking to save a few hundred dollars off your household budget, targeting your utilities is the best way to accomplish this. By changing wasteful habits and doing a bit of comparative shopping and research you can save a reasonable amount of money each month. Try each of these suggestions in your home and see if you don’t notice a significant difference in the amount that you shell out each month. Lastly, make sure you put the savings to good use by putting it in a savings account or pay down debt.
***Image thanks to Kai Hendry***