Day 24 – Reduce utility bills
This post is part of the 30 Day No Spend Challenge
Day 24 – Reduce utility bills
Chances are your utility bills aren’t your biggest expense, but they will collectively still be a huge chunk of your budget. For that reason, altering a few daily habits could make big differences in your bills, so it’s worth doing all that you can to reduce consumption and ultimately your utility budget.
How much you pay for electricity will depend on many things, such as the number of people living in your house, whether electricity is your sole energy source rather than also having gas, and the appliances in your house. Over the past year or so I have managed to drastically cut my electricity usage by making a few simple changes, and the savings have been amazing.
I wrote a post on how I made those savings here, and my bills are still just as low, if not lower. Luckily I got solar installed on my roof while the huge feed-in tariffs were still available so I basically don’t pay for electricity now. As for how I reduced my usage, in short I made an effort to turn everything off at the wall when not in use. It’s a tip you probably hear often, but it seriously makes a difference, especially these days with just about every appliance having its own little screen.
I also unplugged any appliances that I thought might have been sucking power, like my robotic vacuum cleaner. It didn’t seem to be charging properly so storing it away caused my electricity bills to drop even lower. Older appliances can sometimes also use way more electricity than a new version, including fridges and hot water systems.
Not everyone has gas so this isn’t an area that everyone can save on. Unlike electricity, you probably only have a handful of appliances around the house that use gas, which makes it very easy to identify where you can make savings. My house only has gas connected to the hot water system, stovetop and the BBQ (which only gets used very occasionally). Given that I don’t use my stovetop every day, and when I do it’s not for long periods, and gas usage spikes tend to come from my hot water system, which would be 95% or more shoer use.
I find water a tough bill to reduce, which could have a lot to do with the fact that such a large part of water bills (at least here in South Australia) are made up of fixed charges that can’t be altered. The only way to really reduce the fixed component is to move to a house with a lower value, since the fixed part of the bill is based on your property value.
Just like gas bills, how you reduce your water consumption will depend on how you use water. A big part of your water bill is likely to come from your shower, so cutting shower times is a great way to cut consumption. You can even pick up cheap shower timers that will let you know when your shower time is up. Other ways to cut water usage include using a dishwasher rather than hand washing dishes and making sure dishwashers and washing machines are full before running a cycle.