Not-So-Common Ways To Cut Your Utility Bills

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Brown cat in washing machine

To make laundry on a Friday night more fun, have your cat help.

I found my dream apartment. Inexpensive, great location, and it allows cats. The only drawback? I have to pay my own utilities.

Until this point, I didn’t even know people paid for “sewage.” Now, it’s on my roster of monthly expenses.

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After doing some research, I learned that the average one-bedroom apartment spends about $200 a month on utilities (sans cable). That’s enough to cover coffee out every day and a gym membership! Or, ahem, to take a chunk out of my student debt every month.

Fortunately, my parents’ frugal utility habits stuck with me. Hopefully, I don’t need to tell you college-educated individuals that turning things off when you’re not using them saves money. However, here are some less common ways you could be reducing your bills.

Do Your Laundry At Night

Some energy companies charge less for using water during off-peak hours. Call your energy providers and ask if they offer this discount. If they do, find out what “off peak” means to them. It’s different for each company but usually means sometime after dark. When you talk to them, ask about any additional discounts too.

Doing laundry at night has saved me money in another way too: Friday night laundry is a great excuse to stay in at night in my PJs with a bowl of ice cream and a good book (Netflix = energy).

Set Your Water Heater To 120 Degrees

This temperature is toasty enough to kill the germs on your dishes, wash your clothes squeaky clean, and even take a nice hot shower. It also prevents you from making things too hot and spending unnecessary cash … oh, and scalding yourself.

Fill In The Cracks

The more cracks and spaces in your apartment, that more difficult it is to heat or cool. If you don’t have a spastic cat (like I do) that tears apart everything hanging from anything, put towels along the base and frame of windows and doors to help with this. If you do have a feline like this, or if you simply want something more heavy duty, foam lining is a cheap purchase to save money in the long term.

Use A Fan … In Every Season

Heat rises. So, if you’re blessed with a ceiling fan, use it in the summer to suck the hot up and out, then keep it on in the winter to push that heat down. This will keep you and your thermostat happy. Just make sure your fan’s blades rotate in the proper direction for both.

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, consider other fans and how you can place them to evenly distribute the air. My friend tells me this piece of advice is common sense and should be omitted from this post; I say she’s a smarty-pants, and I don’t think so. So, I’m including it.

Install A Low-Flow Shower Head

Water gets expensive fast—especially when your roommate insists on splitting the shower bill, even though you take a 5-minute shower and he takes a 40-minute shower every day.

One way to cut the bill (other than finding a non-aquatic roommate) is buying a low-flow showerhead. This will cut shower water usage in half and make your roommate’s shower time much less enjoyable. That will teach him.

Have A “No Electricity Night”

Make your electricity-saving endeavors into a party. Pick a night to tell stories over a flashlight and under a pillow fort, or enjoy some time by a fire outside. Invite people over for a no-electric potluck. People will get creative with what they can bring that doesn’t need to be heated—and you’ll eat for free! Win-win!

How do you save on your utility costs? Share your tips in the comments.

(Photo: Wikimedia)

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