According to a new survey, one-third of Canadians cannot afford to pay monthly bills. If you are among the citizens who are struggling to make ends meet after paying for your regular expenses, or if you just want to minimize your costs as much as possible, you should perhaps try to learn how to spend less and save more on your house bills. Fortunately, there are ways to do that by using the items you already have in your household more prudently and by making small upgrades that can be life-changing. Here are some useful tips.
Find a better way to use your appliances
Big household appliances, such as a refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, oven, washer and dryer account for nearly 40% of the total electricity used in a home. This makes even the smallest savings a big deal when they add up. Here are some interesting ways you can accomplish that:
- Washers use a lot of energy to heat the water, so wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible.
- Air-dry your clothes.
- Use the energy-saving cycle on your dishwasher.
- Always wash a full dishwasher.
- If you don’t have to, don’t pre-rinse the dishes before loading them in the dishwasher.
- Use a toaster oven instead of a regular large oven.
- Don’t open the oven door often while baking.
- Use the oven only when preparing large portions.
Save on heating and cooling
We spend a large portion of our monthly earnings on heating and cooling. There are ways to minimize those expenses:
- Use a programmable thermostat to lower the temperature when you are not home or when you are asleep.
- A smart thermostat is an even better choice since you don’t have to be at home to be able to control the temperature.
- A large portion of indoor heat is lost due to air leaks and poor insulation. Seal the air gaps and take care of any insulation problems.
- Let the sunlight in on a sunny day.
- Install a ceiling fan.
- Save on a hot water tank by installing an aerator in your kitchen and bathroom, and lowering the temperature.
Find out where your money is going
Energy expenses make the largest proportion of a household budget in Australia too. This is the reason many citizens here decide to check what their major costs are and cut them if it is possible. Any professional electrician is well trained to do an energy audit besides the usual wiring and other standard repairs. The trustworthy electricians like Glenco even offer the service of testing and tagging, which gives you an insight into the safety and the condition of your appliances and other electrical units. Very often, damaged appliances can use more energy than they normally would.
Electronics and lighting – tame these energy vampires
Electronics and lighting are the most obvious ways we use electricity, and therefore the most obvious place to cut costs. There are plenty of simple ways to minimize the amount of energy you waste by using them:
- Turn the chargers and the adapters off when you are not using them, because even when they are not charging anything, they are still using energy.
- Unplug all the electronics that are not being used.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of the disposable ones.
- Choose a laptop instead of a desktop computer.
- Shut down your computer when you are not using it.
- Put your scanner and printer in sleep mode.
- Use energy saving bulbs (CFLs and LEDs).
- Use daylight as your basic light source during the day.
Don’t forget the phone and broadband bill
When discussing the monthly costs, we usually forget all about the phone, mobile phone and broadband bills. The trick here is to find the best available deal. If your contract is near the expiration date the provider may be willing to give you a better offer. Of course, the offer should match your habits and lifestyle. If you use a lot of data, focus on that.
Reduce your water bill
An average water bill for consumption up to 5,000 m3 in Canada is $3.8036/m3 if the bill is paid on time, and a little bit more if it is paid after the due date. You can reduce your water consumption significantly if you choose showers over long baths (and turn the shower off when you are soaping and shampooing), use a low-flow shower head, install a low-flush toilet and install a water meter to keep track of your consumption.
Pay bills on time
You will have to pay the bills eventually, so there is no use to putting that off to the last day of the month. In fact, paying bills late often brings unwanted sanctions in the form of late payment fees. While these fees are usually not very high individually, they can add up and cause unnecessary expenses. Proper organization, such as keeping the record of all payments required and planning the payments ahead will help you with that.
About the author
Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is also a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator. Connect with him on Twitter.