How to Lower Your Utility Bills (We Just Got One That Was 248 Dollars!)

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Lower utility bills

As you know The Man, The Dog, and I are all about making our many count this month. A big part of that is saving any and everywhere we can. Today we got the largest power bill we’ve ever had in the mail. It’s a PSE&G bill for $248 dollars. If we owned a four bedroom house this might not be so shocking, but since we’re shacking up in a two bedroom apartment the total kind of blew our minds. We can’t afford to pay those kinds of bills right now, so we’re going to have to get it back down to a reasonable number (maybe $110-$155 range in Jersey) fast!

We immediately got on the phone on our lunch breaks to discuss how the hell we let the bill get so high in the first place. We found some obvious culprits:

Our Mistakes

Money Matters Month Man Wife Dog Blog

1. The Man likes fresh air a little too much so he often leaves the patio door wide open for hours to let the house air out. He does this while the heat is on. So we’re literally giving away heat we can’t afford.
2. I get cold very, very easily. Instead of grabbing a blanket or socks I usually just crank up the heat to like 85 degrees and forget to turn it back down after the apartment has warmed up. Again, stupid. We have a space heater and a ton of blankets – both options that are much cheaper.
3. We love our dog so much we think it’s important to leave lights and the television on for her during the day when we’re not home so she doesn’t get scared or lonely. Probably not the smartest idea we’ve ever had. Especially when ongoing electricity usage is involved.

Next, I went on the hunt for all the easy fixes we could implement ASAP to ensure that we see a difference in the bill as quickly as next month. They are:

The Solutions

1. Install window treatments and coverings that help insulate and conserve energy. Some ideas: Insulated curtains, shades, and storm panels. (The company I work for actually manufactures blackout curtains and The Man works for Home Depot so what the heck have we been thinking?) We’re going to start with the curtains and see if that helps. We rent for now, so installing awnings probably won’t work for us.
2. Caulk our windows and doors. This is easy to do and long overdue. It’s now on The Man’s Home Depot shopping to-do list.
3. Switch out bulbs and household appliances for energy efficient ones. Now we already use all energy efficient light bulbs (which clearly haven’t been that efficient) but we’re definitely looking into which appliances are worth switching out. Experts say the older appliances are the biggest culprits so we’re currently auditing out kitchen to make sure we toss and replace any appliance (working or not) that we’ve had since we first moved in together (five years ago). This is a start. Want more info? Here’s a list of appliances approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that we found and plan to work with where we can.
4. If you have central air, like we do, lower the temperature in your home when you’re not there or in the morning or late at night to conserve. We’re going to start only turning on the air when we need to heat up or cool a space. Otherwise the temperature inside our place will be what it is, that’s that. (We’ll have to find more creative ways to get cozy!)

As I mentioned, we don’t have a house so we can only control but so much in the energy-saving department. However, if you do own one this home energy saving checklist we found should be a must read.

Happy saving couples!

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3 Responses to How to Lower Your Utility Bills (We Just Got One That Was 248 Dollars!)

  1. Tazzee says:

    Have you considered installing a programmable thermostat? That way you won’t have to remember to change the temps.

  2. Tenisha says:

    On my electric bill, they provide a graph for where I used my electricity for the month. Does yours have anything like that? Cooking is never more than $4 and that's hilarious to me!

    I saw on TV where you can get the light switch that dims and I'm really considering it. I have a two bedroom, 2-story townhouse and my electric and gas (two separate bills) were pretty high these last two months. And with one income, I need to find a solution and FAST! For the past few weeks, I've had my heat on like 60–which is good because it somewhat balances my place (downstairs is always freezing and upstairs is Satan's playground). Next month, I'll see if any of my money saving shenanigans actually work! Oh, unplugging appliances after you use them helps too.

  3. Have you considered installing a programmable thermostat? That way you won't have to remember to change the temps.

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