"I'm handing you ten $100 bills. You outstretch your hand and I count them one by one as you grasp hold of the bills and put them in your pocket. What would you spend that $1,000 on?"
Most people would pay off some debt (mortgage, car or student loans), buy something nice, and finally.....TRAVEL.
Sound like you? Well keep reading. I'm always looking for ways to save money at home, and I finally figured out a way you can save an extra $1,000 at home.
Then, you can use that money to buy a plane ticket, pay your bills or commit to some lingering items in your Amazon cart.
Let's set some ground rules. Most of these tips have to do with ways to save on your energy bill. For reference, the EIA.gov reports the average home spends $112 per month on energy (897 monthly kWh on average). Get your bill and check if you're above or below average on your energy spend.
And make sure you're paying the lowest rate possible (if you don't know you could be getting ripped off - find out here).
Okay, let's get started.
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1. Heating & Cooling
Cut back on your heating and cooling bills by programming your thermostat. In the summer, set your thermostat higher by 8-10°F when you're not home. Setting your thermostat on a program will save about 10% ($134) a year on your bill.
Make sure your HVAC unit isn't overworking itself by cleaning it every 30 days. Your system works harder when it's trying to push air through dirt and dust. Plus, keep your blinds open in the winter and closed in the summer to reduce the burden on your system and save and extra $73.
"What are you trying to do, cool/heat the whole neighborhood" - Dad
Don't forget to seal any air leaks in your windows or doors. Doing so could save you up to $200 a year on your energy bill.
Total Savings: $407
2. Water Heaters
A large energy consumer, your water heater could be wasting $400 every year in standby or demand loss heat. Manufacturers set your water heater thermostat to 140°F but, it's only required to be set at 120°F.
Reduce the heat on your water heater to 120°F to save $400 per year in both standby and demand loss heat.
But weigh the pros and cons, like your dishwasher for example. If it doesn't have a heat booster setting, it may require your water heater to be set closer to 140°F to best clean your dishes.
Total Savings: $400
3. Dish Washer
Save even more money by efficiently loading your dish washer. Place plates and pots on the bottom rack, and bowls and cups on the top rack. And put your utensils in with the handle side down to make sure the food ends get the most attention in the water flow.
Try not to wash your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. If you must, fill your sink with just enough water to get the job done. Letting the water run will cost you on your water bill.
Wash as much of your clothes as possible in cold water with cold water detergent. You can save about $40 if you wash your clothes in cold water, and even more if you skip the drier and air dry your clothes.
Expert Tip: According to the EPA, washing your clothes in full loads can save more than 3,400 gallons of water each year!
Total Savings: $40
5. Phantom Appliances
No, not those appliances that you sent to appliance heaven, but still haunt you to this day. Phantom appliances are anything in your house that's plugged in using energy even when it's not on. These appliances are responsible for 10% of your home energy usage and can cost $100 per year.
So, unplug everything you're not using - yes phone charges included. Use a power strip for hard to reach areas or systems like your tv and entertainment system. It's easier to turn off all the power at once, helping you stay diligent in killing the phantom energy in your home.
Total Savings: $100
6. Water Consumption
According to Sustainable Earth, saving 12,000 gallons of water is going to save you $140 on your water bill. We already saved you 3,400 gallons of water with your laundry, but what else can you do to conserve water?
We already turned your water heater down so you're probably going to want to hop out of your shower 2 minutes early.
Trimming 2 minutes can cut water usage by 10 gallons each time you shower. That's 3,650 gallons if you shower every day, but let's bump that down to 3,000 gallons to be conservative. Because let's be honest, you'll need an extra 2 minutes sometimes to belt out an Adele song.
We're up to 6,400 gallons per year - what next?
Replace your shower head. I know, you really love that massaging shower head that gives you the shiatsu massage every day. But switching to an energy efficient shower head can reduce water usage by 2,700 gallons a year.
Those savings got you to about 9,100 gallons a year ($106). Fix your leaky faucets to save about $35 more dollars and you're up to $141 savings by conserving more water.
Total Savings: $141
7. Utility Bill Savings
Ah, a topic no one wants to talk about. Yet 90% of consumers don't know what rate they pay for electricity on their bill. Since the bill has to be paid monthly no matter what, some people believe 'it is what it is.' Couple that with people knocking on your door or the flyers you get in the mail and you put your hands up in protest.
But, you can save on your bill. Because of deregulation you can choose who supplies your energy. Read here to get more tips on what to look for when comparing your rate and how to pick the best supplier.
Then, try to move all your chores on off-peak hours. Peak hours are between 2-7pm, when majority of business and homes are using the most of their energy. That puts strain on the electricity grid which causes energy to be more expensive.
Shift your chores like laundry or running your dish washer to off-peak hours to save on your energy bill.
Total Savings: $407 + $400 + $40 + $100 +$141 = $1,088
Following these tips will save you $1,000 or more per year. Money you can use to book your next travel or off-set that expensive Target run.
Savings are easy, but finding out how much you saved can be hard. Learn about your utility bill and how you're overpaying for your energy here.