Consumers from California to Maine are experiencing “electricity bill shock” when they look at their most recent bills. In some states, the monthly electric bill has nearly doubled. This can be crippling for families who are already on a tight budget. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has only made things worse. Since Russia imports so much oil, the price of energy is likely to stay high for some time.
If it’s getting harder to pay your electric bill and you’re struggling just to make ends meet, we have some tips. This article will discuss nine effective ways to save money on your electric bill. Of course, not every idea will fit your circumstances exactly, but hopefully, you’ll find a few of them helpful.
What if I’m Too Broke To Pay the Electric Bill?
Before we begin, let’s address a problem familiar to all too many families. Sometimes, all the money-saving pointers in the world can’t help if you’re too broke to pay the electric bills. In that case, you need to make money fast and worry about frugal tips later.
Getting a part-time side hustle is an ideal way to earn money for urgent bills and expenses, but it’s not always practical. If you have small children or no transportation, it can be pretty difficult. But a side gig is not impossible if you opt for making money online.
One terrific way to earn extra cash fast is with paid surveys. With paid online surveys, you can work online whenever and wherever you want, as long as you have an internet connection and a smartphone or computer. You don’t need to travel anywhere and there are no special skills required.
With paid online surveys, you can earn free cash or gift cards just to answer a few simple questions. Once you’re finished with one questionnaire, you move on to another. Each survey pays a certain amount. When you are ready, you can cash out your earnings and use your money for anything you want. In this case, you can put the extra cash toward your electric bill!
Help With Paying the Electric Bill
In addition to earning some extra cash or trying to live frugally, you may also be eligible for help paying your electric bill.
Depending on where you live, there may be federal programs available to help you pay your bill. You may even be able to defer a power bill for a month or two while you catch up on your finances. Typically, your electric company will have a list of state and local resources that can help with paying current and overdue bills. And if you can’t find that list, be sure to ask!
Another option is to talk to the power company directly. Explain your situation. Most utility companies are not unreasonable and will make an effort to work with customers who reach out directly to pay their bills. Often, you can set up a payment arrangement for any past due balances or current bills.
Effective Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill
Now that we have some solutions for bills that are too overwhelming or past due, let’s talk about some solutions for current or future electricity expenses.
1. Turn Off the Lights
This tip probably comes to mind when you think about saving money on electricity. Who hasn’t had a grandparent or parent say something like, “turn off the lights! Do you think I own the electric company or something?” You might have even said these words to your own kids.
As cliche as this tip may be, it’s a valid one. For example, let’s say your electricity rate is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If you leave a 40-watt bulb on for an hour, you’ll spend $ 0.004. That doesn’t seem like much at all, right? But you probably have more than one lightbulb in your house and may leave the lights on for longer than an hour. Every hour, that’s money going right out the window. So, yes. Turn out those lights when you’re not in the room.
2. Use Smart Bulbs
One of the easiest things you can do to save on your electric bill is to switch to LED bulbs. These energy-efficient bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy than regular bulbs. Plus, they last around 25 times longer. That’s a lot of money you could be saving each month.
LED bulbs cost more upfront, so this is the only downside of swapping them out. However, many state and local agencies will supply them for free. Contact your state utilities commission or your electric company to find out if any energy conservation programs are available. You may even be eligible for other free items, such as water heater insulation kits, showerheads, and more.
3. Use Small Appliances
This tip is for those who have an electric oven. Most of us own small appliances like toaster ovens, microwaves, slow cookers, and more. These appliances use substantially less electricity than your regular-sized oven.
If you’re cooking a smaller meal or just heating something up, consider using a small appliance instead of turning the oven on for just one dish. It will help you save money and may even be more convenient.
4. Get a Power Strip for Your Electronics
You know all those electronics in your house that are always on? They may be game consoles, desktop computers, or even televisions. This equipment guzzles power even when you’re not using it, quietly sitting there on “standby mode.’
If you want to save on your electric bill, shut all of these items off when you are not using them. The best way to do this is to plug them into a smart power strip. Smart power strips have apps that allow you to turn things off remotely from anywhere. That means if you go on a trip and forget to unplug something, the smart strip will do it for you.
5. Keep Your Dryer Clean
Dryers can use up to six percent of your home’s electricity in a month. According to Direct Energy, every hour you use the dryer costs between 24 and 72 cents, depending on the appliance’s age. However, keeping the expense down could be a matter of a few simple steps:
- Clean out the lint trap after every use, and the dryer will run more efficiently.
- Don’t overstuff it. The clothes will only take longer to dry.
- Hang clothes on a drying rack or clothesline whenever possible.
6. Use Cold Water in the Washer
Unless your clothes are filthy or need to be sanitized, most normal loads of clothes can go on cold. But why do it?
Experts say that almost all of the energy used in a washing machine goes toward getting the water hot. So washing your clothes in cold water could save you over $60 a year on electricity. Detergents are usually designed to work best in cold water, anyhow.
7. Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature
Most water heaters are usually set at 140 degrees by default. But do you really your water that hot? You can generally set the temperature to 120 degrees without even noticing. Lowering the setting to 120 degrees can reduce the cost of heating water by ten percent. That’s no small amount, especially over the course of a year.
8. Replace Your Showerhead
Along with turning down your water heater, you can also replace your showerhead. A low-flow showerhead can reduce your water consumption by thousands of gallons a year. But it won’t just save water. The savings will really add up if you heat your water with an electric hot water heater!
Additionally, you should “wrap” your water heater with an insulation kit for maximum energy efficiency. You can often get these for free through the same organizations that provide free light bulbs. Check witty your power company or state energy efficiency division.
9. Ask About an Energy Audit
Many power companies offer home energy audits at no cost to the customer. So if your electric company does this, take advantage of it. It can be a real eye-opening experience.
During an energy audit, someone will come to your house, have a look around, and advise you on saving energy. If you suspect that a particular appliance is to blame for your high bills, this is a great way to find out the culprit.