Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ten Tips to Save Hundreds on Your Utility Bill

There’s so many things about being an adult that just aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. I remember being even as young as 8-years-old, and thinking about how much fun it would be once I received mail, or would have a copy of keys, or do “grown up things” purchasing a car or being in charge of what I ate. Something I imagine we all did when we were younger! Yet everything as an adult becomes such a drain. Stress, stress, and more stress. Mail? Oh great, more bills to pay. Keys? Wonderful, how long before I lock myself out of my car again and end up stuck in the grocery store parking lot? Driving, cooking, chores, and more: they all come with all those little details that stress us all out.

Of course, there are those things in life that really make being an adult special. Those priceless moments spent with our children, the memories made with our partners, and those rare moments where we get to have FUN.

You heard me: FUN. Something that maybe you haven’t had in awhile. It’s so important that we treat ourselves, at least occasionally, to something we really enjoy. How else are we supposed to relax and recharge? Where's the money going to come from, though? As a mom, I never spend the "regular money" on myself! I have to use "found money", and a lot of times, that found money is through huge savings elsewhere in our budget.

I have a energy usage saving system that has been working wonderfully for months. It’s simple, and provides me both with motivation, and a reward. It’s a win-win situation! When you don’t think about it, it’s easy to use a LOT of energy, VERY quickly. Not the best thing for the environment, your pocketbook, or your health (where stress ends up playing a part!). So for each month of the year, I looked back in the last few years and grabbed the highest bill we paid, and listed it all on a single sheet of paper. For example, the largest bill we ever had for July was $281.72, back in 2012. To cut back on our use of utilities, I made a habit of doing a few small things that really add up:
  1. Bake smaller amounts of food in a toaster oven rather than using our large oven beneath the stove
  2. Unplug all electronics when not in use or by using an Energy Saving Outlet
  3. Save water in the kitchen from rinsing produce (fill up the sink and rinse that way!) or from boiling pasta, or even your pets' water bowl to use for watering plants in the garden
  4. Use the HVAC unit only when people are home, keep the thermostat 4-5 degrees higher than you *think* you need, using the Ecobee thermostat with wifi sensory that only cool the important rooms that need cooling, and try to make popsicles and hydrate with iced drinks during warm weather to minimize need and use of air conditioning
  5. During cold months, adjust your thermostat or have it scheduled with the Nest Learning Thermostat, and only turn on your HVAC unit when people are home, and when dressing comfortably, cuddling up with a warm blanket and/or layering up is insufficient
  6. Having an energy efficient washing machine, washing larger loads of laundry, so you wash things less frequently to save energy and water
  7. Purchase compact fluorescent light bulbs
  8. Switching off all light sources in any room when not in use
  9. Making more meals using a slow cooker, which requires far less energy than the oven and stove. You can even "roast" a chicken in a slow cooker
  10. When purchasing new appliances, always take their energy use rating into account (and save money in the process by checking the PG&E rebate catalog and then make sure you recycle your old appliances with this great program)

These are just a few ways to cut back on energy use in your home. You can find TONS of useful tips on energy saving from PG&E .

I'm sure you're asking exactly where does the reward part come in? When our new bill rolls in each month, I calculate the difference between that month’s bill and the bill amount listed on the sheet I mentioned. Say for January, as I mentioned our biggest bill was $281.72, and our bill this past January was only $147.32. That difference of $134.40 is all mine! As my reward for conscious saving, I get “play money” to spend however I like. It's FOUND MONEY MAMAS! I always put half into a savings account for rainy days, and then treat myself to a clothing purchase and a trip to the bakery, or whatever else it is that I feel like doing that month. It’s worked well for over a year for us, and brings some fun into monitoring our energy use, since I never know exactly what our bill will look like that month!

I hope sharing these tips can help you bring more rewards for energy saving into your household, too! PG&E can help you save money as well.

Check out the My Energy Tips, communities for energy saving tips from other families, read all the information available on Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs), and so much more, all easily accessible on the PG&E website.

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  1. Those are all good tips. I actually follow my husband and turn lights off. He would turn every light in the house on and leave them on if it weren't for me.

  2. I really appreciate all the great tips. I really need to cut back on my bill. It is always so expensive

  3. Thank you for the tips. I have tried and done some of these things. I have changed out all of our lightbulbs.


Thanks a bunch for your comment love!