How to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill During the Winter Months

DSCN2568Winter often brings an extra bit of stress on pocketbooks during the cold winter months, due to the fact that our electricity costs can rise substantially during this time of the year.  Between heat usage, and generally being indoors more, electricity costs can jump quite a bit if you’re not careful, especially if you live in a colder climate.  Here are some timely tips for keeping those electricity costs down and saving some money in the process:

1.  Analyze your electricity usage.  Are you leaving lights on all over the place that don’t need to be on?  Are you forgetting to unplug appliances that aren’t currently in use?  Those little things really do add up.  I remember being a kid and thinking my dad was a secret member of The Light Police, as he was always hollering at us to stop leaving the lights on.  Now, as a parent myself,  I don’t even have to holler because I’ve got the kids so well trained from my own years of being the Light Police Officer.

With careful scrutiny, you’re sure to find ways that you are wasting electricity, and therefore wasting money.   Be a Negative Nellie as you go through your home, objectively searching for electricity waste.

2.  Make a plan of action.

Now that you’ve found the places in your home where you might be wasting electricity, it’s time to trim the fat off of your electricity bill by changing those areas that you found during your analysis that are wasteful.  Always make sure you change your furnace filters every few months. Unplug those appliances that aren’t in use.  Stop washing your clothes in warm or hot water when cold will do just fine.  Search your area power companies for the best electricity deal.  Switch out regular light bulbs for the highly efficient LED bulbs.  Use nightlights in areas where you usually leave a regular light on at night.  If you have electric heat, turn your thermostat down at night and when you’re away.  Hand mix your baked goods and other recipes instead of using the electric mixer – not only will you save money, you’ll build up some arm muscles as well.

3.  Rethink what you’re powering.  Is there an area in your home where you can use window light instead of traditional lighting?  Can you swap out items that are electricity hogs for more efficient ones?  Can you read some at night instead of watching so much television?  Is cooking in your crockpot more efficient than using your oven?  Take a look at the electricity-run items in your home and look for ways they can be used more efficiently, or not used at all.  All sorts of options are available for those willing to put in the time to search them out.

Even in the winter months, you can cut down on electricity usages and costs if you work at it.  With careful analysis of your current electricity usage, and the willingness to be creative and find more cost effective solutions, the money savings will come!

20 comments

  1. Hey Laurie, I’m loving this post. My fiance and I just got our highest electricity bill ever. Better believe we thought about what we could do to reduce it…crossing our fingers for next month!

  2. Michelle says:

    We are always working on lowering our utility bills during the winter. Luckily, up until last week the weather was nice enough to where we didn’t have to use it as much. Also, W likes it cold in the house, so the heat never has to be craned up too much.

  3. This sounds extreme to most people, but we haven’t turned our heat on yet. Yes there is snow outside and at night it’s been well below freezing, but our place is sitting right around 56 degrees and with the right clothes, we are just fine. I want to see how long we can go without it. We are going out of town for Christmas, so I want to go without it at least until the new year.

    • Kim M says:

      Sounds like our house. We’re heating primarily with an electric fireplace (kind of the opposite of your post lol) in an effort to conserve fuel oil which is $4.09/gal here, so we have the actual thermostat set at 50-ish, and will turn the fireplace on during the day. We have a small-ish 2 bedroom apt, and the fireplace is in the livingroom area. We just put the shrinkwrap on 2 of the worst draft-offenders (an “extra” door in the living room that goes out to the enclosed porch and the window in our kids bedroom), and will be doing the rest over the weekend. Just blocking those 2 though, has really made a difference. You could actually feel a cold breeze-draft when sitting in the living room. We’re wearing long sleeves and have a stack of blankets in the living room for when we get too cold. We’re in upstate NY and temps are hovering between high-teens and low 30’s right now. I’m hoping to make our 1/4 full oil tank last until at least the end of January!

      • Laurie says:

        Hey, Kim! We’re doing something similar here as our propane company kind of dissed us this year on the pricing and won’t make it right. I’m hoping we can get away with not filling up until they lower their prices again. Best of luck to you guys!

  4. I used to have a bad habit of leaving the T.V on when I wasn’t even really watching it…I’d be surfing the web or reading something. Now I make it a point to cut out TV in general. I’m also pretty good at turning off the lights or whatever else is not being used (my parents trained me well). Light police! That’s what they were!

    • Laurie says:

      Oh my gosh, Andrew – my mom and stepdad leave the TV running all the time and it drives me crazy!! I just keep envisioning dollars flying out the window. 🙂

  5. Hey Laurie and thanks for an insightful read 🙂

    I am grateful that my heating is paid by the building I live in so no worries there. I also tend to make sure things are turned off when not in use and that natural light is used as much as possible before I need to turn on the lamps and such.

    My electrical bill comes to about 45 dollars every two months, which I can deal with nicely.

    Thanks for he tips and take care. My best to all.

    Lyle

    • Laurie says:

      Lyle, that’s a great cost – you’re doing well at managing energy usage! We’ve found that turning things off when not in use really does save tons of cash too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  6. Pauline says:

    We are trying out LED but it is too early to say if they will last long enough to make the investment worth it. People here waste a lot of energy, so we try to be more careful.

    • Laurie says:

      So far LED has worked great for us, but it’s only been a year or so. I’m surprised that people waste so much energy there. A lack of education, maybe?

  7. Our lights are usually off at night but we also like to use dimmers because we dislike overhead lighting. Dimmers are so much more relaxing. Our heating is gas but we still like to save on it by keeping our heat at 65 during the day and 68 in the evenings. It goes back to 65 when we go to bed.

  8. E.M. says:

    My parents were also light police while I was growing up, so I try to do my best to remember to shut the lights that aren’t in use. I have a nightlight in the kitchen area that lights up the small path from our bedroom to the bathroom which is useful. Our utilities are included in our rent, so I don’t actually know what our usage is, but it’s good to start early on habits like these!

    • Laurie says:

      Agreed, EM. Start them now so that if and when you guys choose to own, you’ll have those habits well-established. Funny that your parents are Light Police too. Must just be something that happens when you have a family and need to trim costs. My brother and his family, who are comfortable financially, always have a house full of lights on, even during the day, and I have to fight the temptation to go around turning them all off. 🙂

  9. Matt Becker says:

    Good stuff Laurie, with a newborn in the house we’re keeping it a little toastier than normal, which means our utility bills should be going up. Just the cost of doing business. Have a great weekend!

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly, Matt. We’ve been keeping it toastier than usual too, although we don’t have the excuse of a newborn, just six freeze babies. 🙂

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