Now that you’re all set with budgeting for utilities, let’s take a look at how to save money on your utility bills!
Some of the best budgeting fun comes from plugging in actual numbers and then getting creative with reducing those costs. Super fun, I promise 🙂
Saving Money on Electricity & Natural Gas
- Consider installing a wood stove. Our stove has been easy to maintain and has saved us hundreds of dollars in home heating costs. Don’t be scared, it’s really not as big of a deal as it seems. Bonus: you’ll feel a bit more connected to the past, and you’ll get to enjoy the romantic & cozy glow of a stove.
- Use LED and compact fluorescent lighting. These alternative bulbs have come a long way in recent years. They’re no longer that icky glowing yellow color. *Be warned* LED bulbs can be an expensive investment. There are a myriad of brands and styles, so make sure to keep your packaging in case you don’t like the way a certain type looks and need to return the bulbs.
- I don’t have much experience with trying to save money on summer cooling costs, but here are some tips from Christine at A Mitten Full of Savings on how to save money on your electricity bill this summer.
- Add more insulation to your attic. Sure, it’s an itchy pain to crawl around in the attic, but it’s worth the price to save money on heating. According to the super duper smart man of my life, attic insulation is required to be around a foot thick (depending on the R-value). We have nearly 3 feet. ‘Cause more is better, right?
- Want more great tips on saving on heating costs? Gretchen at Retired By 40 has a helpful list of 14 ways to save on utilities, even when you can’t turn down the heat.
Saving Money on Trash Disposal
- Shop around! Even our rural community has two competing trash collection services. Just this year we switched from the national company to a local provider and saved nearly $10/month.
- Practice BRRR. Yep, it’s my country-fied version of the 3 Rs. You know: reduce, reuse, recycle. Well, I’m adding “burn” to the list. “Take care of that trash, brrr!” Of course burning trash isn’t always appropriate, but it is a good way to use up extra cardboard and paper products. After you’ve made up all your thrifty lasagna gardening beds, of course.
- Haul it yourself. If you’re willing & able to store your trash, it’s simple to make a monthly (or semi-yearly?) trip to the dump and pay a small fee. I’d love to get to the point where we’re doing a combination of “brrr!” and hauling our own trash. It will take more time and energy than I can muster right now though, with all of the little people that need tending.
Saving Money on Phone + Cell Phones + Internet Service
- Compare providers. I’ve created a handy sheet to help you do just that. Most families can easily save $20-$100 just by shopping around.
- Ditch the fancy pants smart phone in favor of a prepaid wireless plan. My husband and I used to have Net10 wireless plans and were very happy customers. At only $15 a month, with rollover minutes, you can’t beat this thrifty plan if you plan on using less than 150 minutes each month. We used non-smart phones (drop one in the toilet? No problem, it’s just $20-$40 to replace) and carried around an iPod touch. When you’re in range of wi-fi an iPod touch can do 90% of the same tasks that an iPhone can. Yep, even running all those apps that we can’t live without. Like flappy birds. The best deal to be had on iPod touches is at the Apple refurbished store.
- Try a non-samsung or Apple smartphone. The Amazon Fire Phone comes unlocked (use it on any carrier), with a full year of Amazon prime service (worth $100), for only $189. The hubby and I have seriously considered snagging one of these because of the great value and the ability to bring it to any carrier. Bringing your own phone to a service provider will often get you a better monthly price than when you need to purchase a phone.
Saving Money on Television Service
- Try an alternative to satellite & cable. Enjoying entertainment is good, but wasting money on cable TV and satellite is crazy when you can pick up so many channels over the air (check out this guide at Money Crashers for choosing an antenna).
- Explore streaming content. Services like Amazon Prime and Netflix inexpensively offer many videos. Plus, if you decrease the TV time you just might feel like you’ve regained your sanity.
- Check out Tivo. We use a combination of Amazon Prime ($100/yr), Netflix ($8/mo), Antenna, and Tivo (a one time fee of $550 with lifetime service). There is absolutely no way that we could ever watch all of the options available to us at a cost of $16/month.
Finding hidden savings amongst utility bills is one of the easiest ways to create wiggle room in a budget. I love knowing that we can quickly find even more savings on our heating, phones, and TV if we need to lower our monthly bills.
What are your tips for saving money on utilities? How do you keep your utility bills in check?
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