Sometimes it's easy to miss the obvious and not see things hiding in plain sight. When it comes to saving money on monthly expenses, people often deprive themselves of favorite consumer goods to save a few dollars here and there without even realizing how much money they waste on the electricity they use at home.
Instead of clipping coupons, buying generic brand groceries, and depriving yourself of the many healthy things that you'd really like to buy, like a gym membership or your favorite line of supplements, you can save much more each month by adopting some sustainable energy habits.
With just a little forethought, you can save on the amount you spend on electricity each and every month, and here are some big and small strategies to save on heating and lighting and powering your home:
- Choose a cheaper, more efficient provider
Times have changed and it's possible to get a better energy provider. Today, energy deregulation means that you have a choice where you get your electricity from. It all depends, of course, on where you live. If you live in Texas, for example, you have had the option to shop for electricity supply rates for longer than a decade. As far back as 2002, the electric industry split into supply and delivery sectors — and this allowed Texans the opportunity to access online information resources on retail energy companies that offered the best supply rates for their area. So, if you never even considered shopping for electricity, you might be surprised to find that it is available in your neck of the woods. You might even discover that your default service provider charges more for using outdated technology. You may not be paying for higher quality service at all but merely covering their higher overheads. By shopping around, you might find competitors who charge less while providing better service.
What's more, shopping for better rates does not require dogged effort, although it does need a little patience. However, the rewards are more than worth it.
Here is a simple two-step strategy to switch providers:
- 1. Set aside enough time to look over all your bills to get a good idea about your average costs. Perhaps, over the weekend.
- 2. Do an online search for alternative providers. Don't just assume that cheaper is better; also notice what you're getting for the money.
Think of this as paid work. After all, you could well be saving thousands in the long run by shopping for lower rates. As a result of doing your due diligence, you'll have a lot more money left over from your take-home pay each month. Maybe you can afford that Pilates class after all!
- Choose safe, energy efficient light bulbs.
When it comes to choosing more energy efficient light bulbs, you'll have to make a choice between CFL and LED lights. While you might be impressed by the energy efficiency of CFLs over your traditional light bulbs, there is a hidden danger associated with CFLs. While the bulb is safe when lit, the danger lies when it breaks because it has a small amount of mercury — and mercury, as you know, is a neurotoxin.
So when it comes to replacing your incandescent lights, choose LED lights. They consume 80 percent less power than traditional bulbs. In fact this technology is quite amazing. According to Energy.Gov:"Widespread use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the United States. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 TWh (compared to no LED use) of electricity: This is the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants (1000 megawatts each), and a total savings of more than $30 billion at today's electricity prices."
- Use common sense methods of saving.
While you might be impressed by how much you can save by choosing a cheaper yet more efficient service provider and changing from incandescent light bulbs to LED, you can save even more by using some commonsense saving methods, too.
Here are 7 simple things you could do to lower your power bill:
- 1. Keep your vents open if you're trying to heat or cool your home.
- 2. Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they are not being used.
- 3. Turn off the lights in a room when you aren't using it anymore.
- 4. Open your shades or blinds in the morning and close them at night.
- 5. Regulate room temperatures by closing doors.
- 6. Don't leave fans on at night in rooms in the hallway or living rooms.
- 7. Turn off porch security lights during the day.
Undoubtedly, these are commonsense strategies you're heard of before (and you may even be able to think of a few more), but they all add up to help you save money each month and each year.
You're Contributing to the Green Movement
While you will directly experience the financial benefits of saving on your electric bill, you will also be contributing to the country as a whole. You are setting an example, and if everyone were to do what you do, the entire country would waste far less energy to meet its overall needs.