January is already a depressing time of year because of the "December hangover" and the large credit card bill most of us have to deal with. In addition, with winter in full swing we are spending more times indoors and at home. With the added time at home warming up, utility bills can add up quick!
Here are some easy ways to save money around the house and to reduce those utility bills to cut the sting out of January and February bills.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
According to Huffington Post Canada, about 40% of Canadian households have a programmable thermostat- however, only about 10% of programmable thermostat owners actually have them programmed. Most other people just use the thermostat manually (which of course defeats the purpose). Programmable thermostats can help you decrease your room temperature during the day when you are at work and at night when you are sleeping. The savings can be very large, considering every degree you reduce the heat by, you will be saving money. If used properly, a programmable thermostat can save you at least 6.5% on your heating bill. On a $200 heating bill every month, that's almost $25 a month in savings.
Watch for Phantom Electricity Usage
Even if you remember to turn out the lights when you leave the room or your home, other powers that be (pardon the pun) can still use electricity. Phantom power usage is everywhere, from your television set to your laptop, to the cord that you plug your phone into the wall with to charge it. The Globe and Mail estimates that it can comprise of up to 10% of your total electricity bill. If left plugged in, a typical home theatre system can cost $125 per year- which doesn't include the period of time when you are actually using the home theatre system. A good solution to avoid this useless usage is to get power bars that can be turned off easily.
Get Rid of Cable Television
As mentioned in a previous Bargainmoose saving money post on cutting cable television by yours truly, skipping cable television can save you a ton of money. Considering that the average cost saving of not having cable television is $71 per month, the decision to cut the cord makes some sense. There are plenty of alternatives to cable television including Netflix, Apple TV, and Roku to name a few.
I have recently subscribed to Netflix and have my hands full already with enough entertainment to last me for an entire year were I to be stranded on a desert island with Internet access. It is no wonder that Netflix has become wildly popular and its stock has increased at least 3 times its original value earlier this year.
Cable television will end up being like the home telephone. Available but not always useful or used in our current times- especially when you can avoid boring and time consuming commercials in between programming on "regular" television with Netflix.
Check for Leaks and Drafts
One of the biggest causes of increased utility and electricity bills is unsealed leaks and drafts because you are basically analogous to trying to fill air into a leaking balloon. Finding them can be tricky as it can be something simple such as a window or something difficult to treat such as the wall. Popular Mechanics has a great article on 7 ways to save money on leaks and drafts, and they recommend looking at anywhere from your attic, fireplace, wall, and to your windows and doors.
Use a Space Heater Instead
Space heaters are an efficient way of heating up a small space in a small amount of time. You get the heat where you want it and when you want it. Instead of heating up the entire room, space heaters can heat up the area where you are hanging out, which is the main idea of course. For a great article on how to find the perfect space heater to save money and energy and stay warm, check out this article by Life Hacker.
There you have it, five simple ways for you to start the process of saving money around the house.
Bargainmoosers, do you have other easy ways you save around the house?
(banner image credit: James Thompson)