How to save money on electric bill? Now that is an awesome question. It’s probably one of the very FIRST things that crossed my brain when we found out our new house has electric only heat! In Minnesota! Heading towards our first winter in this house, and I’ve figured out how to save money on electric bill, plus it totals hundreds of dollars a year back in my pocket!
Whether you live in an area that has harsh winters like we do here in Minnesota, or you live somewhere super warm, we all have electric bills to pay. Usually to the tune of hundred of dollars a month.
When I was married to my first husband, I remember the very first electric bill that we got. To. This. Day. We were a military family and lived in a single wide trailer (don’t judge) for about $300/month. Living on an E-3s pay, newly married it was the best we could afford at the time.
As I’m sure you can imagine, we didn’t exactly have central air conditioning in this single wide of love, and it was hot. I mean H.O.T. HOT! Imagine a tin can sweltering in the Georgia summer heat, so hot that the air seemed to wave at you as it sizzled and sweat dripped down every part of your body. Yea, like that! Then imagine you lived in that said tin can, and you have a picture of what it was like in my very first home as a married lady.
This tin can had one single window air conditioning unit, and it was in the living room. Because of the amazing insulation we had in our home (that’s dripping with sweat and sarcasm if you didn’t notice) the only room in the whole house that was livable was the living room. 24/7 we had that bad boy going other wise we might melt into a pile of mush. We slept on the 70s retro couches that came furnished with our first pad, and just prayed we survived summer.
We coped the best way that we could, but there were days that I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I’ve lived in Georgia off and on a lot during that time, so I was used to the heat, but I wasn’t used to taking care of my own electric bills and making sure the home I had was energy efficient. Very quickly I realized what a huge mistake I had made.
The very first electric bill came, and me being the financially minded one, was the one in charge of paying bills with what little money we had. As I opened our first electric bill, I really had to be careful that my eyes didn’t pop out of my head. Shaking my head in dismay, this couldn’t be right. There is no way that we used that much electricity in our 500 sq foot single wide. It just couldn’t be!
Glaring back at me was a bill for well over $400 for ONE MONTH! That was more than our house payment. Talk about the shock of the century. Before getting married, I had been living in the dorms at Georgia Southern University, and before that I lived with my parents. I’d never had to pay a bill like this before, let alone a bill this much!
It’s been almost 20 years ago, and I still remember the heart palpitations that first bill gave me. Back then it never occurred to me to learn how to save money on electric bills. I just thought you tried to remember to turn the lights off and everything would be ok. It was definitely a lesson very quickly learned.
Before we get to how to save money on electric bills, make sure to check out these tips that will save you thousands on your utility bills each year.
How to Reduce Utility Bills in 4 Easy Steps
How to Save Money on Electric Bill
Open the Windows: If the temperatures are great during the day, open the windows! Using the air conditioning or heater as little as possible when temperatures are pleasant outside.
Replace Your Thermostat: A good thermostat, like the Nest Thermostat, can really save you a lot over time (as much as 10%). If your air conditioning or heater isn’t having to work as hard, you’ll use less electricity.
Energy Efficient Appliances: This is a more expensive tip, but it will pay for itself in the long run. Make sure your all your appliances are energy efficient. This means they are rated to use less electricity to do the daily tasks you need. Plus, you can check with your local power company to see if they give you rebates on replace old furnances, air conditioners, etc. with energy efficient ones.
Off Peak Pricing: Even though our new home is electric heat based, we participate in a program called “off peak” heating. This is a program that during peak hours, our electric heat is cut off and we have to rely on our gas fireplace for warmth. May not sound like a fun time, but it means our electric bills in the winter time will be charged at half the rate everyone else is paying.
Cover your windows: Ok, this may sound confusing since one tip was to open your windows, but during times of extreme heat and cold it’s a good idea to keep your blinds drawn. This helps to keep heat out so your house doesn’t warm up, and helps prevent your heat from escaping during the winter time.
Ask about discounts: Sometimes when you put your electric bills on autopay, your electricity provider will give you discounts. Totally worth contacting your local provider to see if they have such a program available.
Replace Air Filters: Did you know that a dirty filter can make your air conditioner or heater work harder? I didn’t know that either until recently. It’s really important to get your filter changed at least once every 2-3 months to make sure you aren’t making your HVAC system work even harder than it needs to.
Avoid Peak Hours: Did you know that your electricity bill charges vary per hour? Yup, remember that off peak pricing I was telling you about. Well, even if you don’t participate in a program like that you are getting charged more when you use electricity during peak hours. When are peak hours? That usually varies per electric company, but a good standard is 6 am- 8 am in the mornings and 6-8pm at night. These are the hours most people are getting up to go to work and getting off from work. Avoid using electricity as much as you can during these hours, and you could save big!
Now you are ready to save money on your electric bill! These few tips will start to save you hundreds of dollars a year if you use them regularly! Just think what you could do with all that extra money! You could save up for that vacation you’ve always been wanting to take, or you can take up pottery, or dig into your wine drinking habit! What tips do you know how to save money on electric bills? Comment below to share your wisdom.