We all like to save money but sometimes we have difficulties finding ways to do it. Where can we cut costs? I could get rid of cable or my home phone but sometimes that’s not always practical. For example, I like watching a variety of live sports programs and the cost to do so is relatively low via my cable provider as opposed to Internet services. And if I get rid of my phone how are my kids going to have conference calls with their buddies while playing Minecraft?
These tips are mostly for folks impacted directly by electricity bills however I stuck a few general ideas in the list as well like saving money on lunches and by driving less.
Switch to cold water
Wash all your clothes in cold water. This is going to save you money over the long haul especially if you’ve got a lot of loads to wash. For me with 2 kids I wash about 4-5 loads per week. That’s a lot of water. Using hot water is unnecessary as I’ll show you in the next point.
Switch to laundry soda
Now for me I’ve got a front loading washing machine and I had been using traditional Tide HE detergent since about 2007. I didn’t think there were any other options until a few months ago when my machine overflowed foam all over my laundry room floor. I had purchased a tub of Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda and noticed a huge difference once I started using the product.
Not only is Nellie’s good for the environment, it’s good for you and good for your laundry machine. The major difference I noticed is that I could wash my clothes and not have foamy residue left over at the end of the load plus everything seemed to rinse off more effectively. Oh and by the way, my laundry room floor has been bone dry since switching. I could even switch to an express cycle which I’ll discuss next.
Switch to fast wash
Now at first I thought this might be more of a green initiative but quickly realized that my washing machine uses electricity (duh!). By switching the fast or express wash cycle I was able to cut the time to wash a load by 2/3 resulting in a dramatic energy savings and money back in my pocket. Now I could never have done this if I was still using Tide as that would have required a full wash to completely rid the tub and clothes of detergent foam and residue.
Hang to dry
This idea is a good one to save electricity costs associated with running your laundry dryer too often. Unfortunately for me I can’t partake of this as much as I’d like since I’m in a townhouse and don’t have the space to accommodate a bunch of soggy shirts and pants.
Eco wash for your dishwasher
I’ve recently switched to using eco-wash on my dishwasher as it operates for 15 minutes less than regular wash. Plus I’ve decided that using the heat dry function really isn’t worth it either. It just uses more electricity and just heats up the dishes. I particularly noticed that glass cookware doesn’t need the dryer; it’s mostly the plastic-ware that needs it so I’ve resorted to throwing the plastic dishes in the drying rack beside my sink after the cycle completes.
Hand wash dishes
This may not be all that practical however I’m adding to the list as it will cut down on electricity costs substantially. For most of us the reality is a combination of the dishwasher and hand washing so what I’d recommend from the practical side is rinsing your dishes in cold water rather than warm or hot. This makes a huge difference and rinsing by hand uses an enormous amount of water, much more than you’d realize. Really pay attention next time you’re rinsing dishes by hand as this can be a hidden way to save a few dollars each month.
Turn the heat down or off
Depending on your tolerance for cold you may want to consider the alternative of turning off heating appliances and furnaces. Also consider spot heating rather than central heating for the biggest efficiency gains. In other words, why heat the whole house if you spend all your time in the kitchen?
Turn off unused lights and appliances
Before you leave the house for the day check around and turn off whatever you can. This one is really just a matter of planning your day appropriately. If you rush out of the house every morning you’re probably going to come home to some sources of wasted electricity.
Here’s a good lesson in planning. Make a list and plan your trips so that you can get more accomplished at once. Consolidate tasks and think about what you need before leaving your house. Also if you can work closer to home. You’ll save on gas costs and feel better in the process.
Freeze leftovers for lunch
Rather than wasting what’s been leftover I’ve taken to the practice of boxing leftovers up in ziploc containers and freezing them for future lunches. In fact I’ll go as far as making and freezing an entire pot of chili in individual containers. This will save you an enormous amount vs. eating in restaurants.
I’m sure there’s more ways to save money but these are the ones I could think of that have the most immediate impact and are relatively easy to implement. I’ve personally implemented most of these in my life including “work closer to home”. I’ve cut my commute from 75km per day to 24km. Let me know if you have any other tips for saving. I’d love to hear from you.