Seven Tips for Saving Money Around the House

Try our commonsense tips to conserve energy at home — and save some money.

By FamilyTime


Just about everyone is interested in saving money these days. We try everything to get on top of our expenses, but the bills just keep on coming.

One of the best ways to get a handle on household bills is to reduce their amounts — and we have some ideas for doing so. You may not see dramatic savings immediately but over the months, you should notice your electric and other energy bills shrinking. 

  1. Invest in a programmable thermostat.  Sure, you’ve heard it before but until you take the very modest financial plunge, you won’t realize how much it helps. Once it’s programmed, the thermostat will insure that your furnace doesn't have to work as hard while you sleep and during the day when the family is at school or work.
  2. Use ceiling fans in the wintertime. If you reverse the direction your fan turns during the summer so that the fan pulls air upwards where it mixes with the warm air near the ceiling, you will be more comfortable, even with the thermostat set lower. The warm air flows naturally across the ceiling and down the walls, warming up the room. Most people set their fans to turn clockwise in the winter, counter-clockwise in the summer. What is important is that the leading edge of the blade is lower than the trailing edge in the winter — and the opposite in the summer. Keep the fan twirling slowly in the cold weather so that it does not create a breeze.
  3. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Train your kids to do this, too. There is no reason for lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and other areas to burn when no one is there. Sure, you will want to keep hall lights on, as well as the lights in the rooms where the family congregates, but if you and the rest of the family remember to take an extra second or two to flip the switch to “off,” your electric bill will thank you. And for those places where you want to have the lights burning most of the time (such as stairways and porches), invest in long-lived compact fluorescents. It’s also a sensible idea to install motion-sensitive outdoor lighting, the kind that turns on when you pull up to the garage or walk up a pathway — and flicks off a few minutes later.
  4. Plug electronics into power strips. These handy items allow you to turn small appliances on and off with one switch. This saves money because so many of our electronics are “vampires” — meaning they draw small amounts of electrical power even when switched to “off,” unless they are unplugged. A power strip takes care of this problem, and guards against electrical surges, as well. It’s a good idea to replace power strips every two years; they become less efficient over time.
  5. Lower the temperature of the hot water heater. Many hot water heaters heat the water to scalding temperatures so that you must mix it with copious amounts of cold water. Turn the temperature gauge down just a little and you will save money. When you leave home for any length of time — a week’s vacation or even a long weekend — turn the dial to “low.” This could save as much as four gallons of oil a day, if your hot water heater is hooked to your oil burner.
  6. Wash your clothes in cold water and then, if you can, hang them to dry. We all know that using cold water saves money and nearly every detergent on the market is designed to work just as well with cold as with hot water. What you may not realize is how much money you save when you don’t use the dryer. One dryer cycle costs one to two dollars, depending on your energy source (electric or gas) and where you live. If you can find a place to air dry even two loads a week, you will notice some savings. This is easier in the warm weather, but even when it’s cold outside, you can set up a drying rack in the laundry room or in a bathtub.
  7. Use weather-stripping along loose, rattling windows. If you can, replace those windows, but if you don’t have the money to do so, buy removable weather stripping at the hardware store and line your windows. Invest in draft dampers for the doors that lead to the attic, basement, and garage if you feel cool air coming from under them. Buy attachable draft blockers for your outside doors, too, if they are not snug.

None of these suggestions requires much money or high-tech know-how, but they all will help you save a little every month. If your family tends to be careless about energy efficiency, you will notice a change fairly quickly when you institute these measures. If you already are cautious, it may take a little longer to reap the rewards. But reap you will!