Utilities can get very expensive. The cost of utilities overall will vary from place to place. The north can end up spending more in heating costs and rural areas can cost more for electricity. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your utility bills. These steps are easy and lowering your utility bills doesn't have to become a hard task.
Electricity is an expense to consider when creating a budget. Luckily, you can cut your electric bill with some simple and some not so simple steps.
- Switch to fluorescent light bulbs: Fluorescent light bulbs are the spiral ones. These will save you lots of money and last longer. They produce more light than regular light bulbs too.
- Turn off lights: If you aren't in a room, then turn the lights off in that room. This might not save you much but it all adds up.
- Turn off the air conditioner: Using air conditioners is expensive. Only use air conditioners on days that are extremely hot.
- Turn off TV's and appliances when not in use: Obviously you can't turn your fridge off but if you aren't watch TV or listening to the radio then shut it off to save money.
- Buy some windmills: This is a harder task to do but if you can afford a windmill, live in a windy area, and have the money for one, then buy a windmill to create free electricity from a clean source.
- Buy solar panels: Just like windmills, this isn't exactly an easy task. However, solar panels will create free electricity from the sun. This is good for people who live in sunny areas with good weather. Solar panels will on average cost $20,000 to buy.
Water bills aren't an issue for everyone. People who live in rural areas with wells usually don't have to pay a water bill. Those living in more urban area might use city water though. This means each gallon of water wasted will cost you money.
- Buy a more efficient toilet: Toilets flush less water today, then they used to. There are also toilets with two buttons. One button is used for liquid waste and the other is used for solid waste. This can save you a lot of money in water costs.
- Take shorter showers: Showers can use a lot of water, especially long showers. Limit showers to 5 minutes to save lots of water and money.
- Only wash the laundry with full loads: Washing laundry when the washer isn't full is wasting water. Wait until there is a full load of laundry in the washer before running the washer.
- Never fill the bathtub: Filling the bathtub is a waste of water. Filling the bathtub only part way will save a lot of money and time.
- Use a dishwasher: Using a dishwasher saves a lot of water. Only use the dishwasher when it's full of dishes and utensils. Washing dishes by hand will use a lot more water.
- Never water plants/lawn during peak hours: When the lawn and plants are watered in the middle of a sunny day, the water will evaporate. Waiting until the late evening or the early morning will let the water seep into the ground. Your lawn and plants will thank you also.
The internet is in over 80% of American households today. Many Americans depend on the internet for social networking, working, finding information, and other things. There are many things you could do to save money on internet bills.
- Switch companies: Shop around. Some places will offer cheaper rates on internet or bundle pricing.
- Get rid of the internet: This is not the ideal way to save money and many people can't live without the internet but if you need to save serious money then this is a step to consider.
- Get a cheaper plan: Remember the days of dial-up connections when the internet took forever to download, start-up, and load? If you want a cheap plan for around $20, you could go back in time and use dial-up again. You could also get a cheap plan that's not as cheap as dial-up but is faster.
- Use a public network: If you do decide to cancel your internet, you can go to a public network. Public networks include the library, coffee shops, etc.
- Use your cell phone: If you are not a heavy internet user then use your cell phone for internet.
- Use a friend's internet service: Whenever you need to check your email, just go over to a friend's house and use their internet service.
Land line Phone
Land line phone service isn't that expensive but it is an added cost to consider.
- Get limited minutes: One thing you can do is switch out your unlimited plan for a plan that has a certain amount of minutes.
- Don't call long distance: Calling long distance costs a lot of money, especially when calling someone in a different country.
- Get rid of your landline phone: Now a days, many people are getting rid of their land line phones and just using their cell phone. This will save you around $20-30 per month.
Cell phones get expensive but nearly everyone has one. Some ways to lower your cell phone bill are:
- Get a prepaid plan: Prepaid plans are looked upon as a lame, cheap option for someone who can't afford a "real" cell phone. However, this can save a lot of money and there is no contract involved. Your friends will be the one's with the high cell phone bills while you have extra cash to spend on other things.
- Get a cheaper plan: Getting a cheaper plan that allows less text messages and less minutes will save you a lot of money. Just don't go over your monthly limit.
- Don't buy extras: Extra items such as games, wallpaper, and ringtones add up. Don't buy a lot of these if you want to save money.
- Don't use the internet/browser: Using the internet on your phone uses a lot of data. This will cost you a lot of money and should be avoided if you want a cheaper bill.
Whether you have a dish company or cable, the monthly bill for TV service is expensive. To save costs:
- Don't buy premium channels: Buying channels that cost extra will increase your TV bill a lot.
- Don't rent movies: renting a movie on the dish can cost you around $4-6. This adds up if you like to rent movies.
- Cancel your TV service: Another option is to cancel your TV services. Then you can watch free TV online.
- Get an antenna: If you buy an antenna for around $50 then you can get a few TV channels such as news channels 6, 10, 13, 17, 23, and 45. It's not much but if you don't watch much TV then this will be fine.
Fuel Oil, Propane, and Natural Gas
If you live up north then you'll need some kind of heat. In addition you'll need propane for cooking and hot water if you don't have electric appliances and an electric water heater. Gas can get expensive whether it's fuel oil or propane, or natural gas. The good thing is that you can lower the cost by:
- Getting a new company: If you shop for the best price then you will lower your gas costs.
- Turning the heat down: This is a common one but if you keep your heat at a high temperature then you will spend more in heating costs.
- Take shorter showers: As mentioned above. Taking shorter showers won't just save you water. It will also save you natural gas/propane.
- Dry your clothes outside: Using a clothes line or hanging your clothes outside will be cheaper than running a dryer.
- Wash your clothes in cold water: Washing your clothes in cold water will also save in natural gas/propane costs.
- Switch to electric appliances: With the rising propane and natural gas prices, switching to appliances that use electricity will save you money.
- Get geothermal energy: Geothermal energy is created by running a pipe in the ground and getting warm heat from underground. This has a very high start-up cost but will save you money over time. Geothermal will last many years before needing to replace the pipes, is a renewable energy source, and is free after paying for installation and buying the pipes.