Tag Archives: Utilities

Savings Tips for Summer Utilities

30 May

With Memorial Day behind us, it’s finally summer (technically summer doesn’t actually begin until June 21st)! That means spending days on the water, grilling burgers, getting some sun and… higher utility bills.

You can’t do anything about the heat and humidity, and unless you want to be miserable for months you will need to turn on the A/C. Rather than saving money by sitting alone in the dark all of the time, use these tips to help keep your utility bill in check.

Unplug what you don’t use

If it’s plugged in to the wall and not a power strip, it’s going to be using power! Unplug those phone charges, lamps that are really just for decoration, and other appliances when you’re not actually using them.

Use ceiling fans (properly)

Useful for regulating temperature in both winter and summer, ceiling fans can give you a nice breeze if they are set the right direction. Remember that fans only cool you down if you can feel the breeze from it! If you can’t feel the wind coming off the fan, it is actually wasting electricity.

Shut unused vents

Have a room that you don’t use or that roommate moved out for the summer? Close the vents in that room. There’s no reason to pay to keep a room that’s always vacant at a comfortable temperature.

Master the thermostat

If you have a programmable thermostat, adjust it to make it cooler when you’re home. 5 minutes reading the manual can save you significantly! If you have one that can’t be programmed, make a habit of adjusting it if no one will be home.

Embrace the darkness

Make your parents proud by shutting the lights off behind you when leave the room! If you’re playing video games or watching Netflix, you can turn the lights off too and enjoy the screen in all its glory.

Friends have benefits

Have a friend whose utilities are included in their rent? As long as they are cool with it, they may now be living in the new go-to hang out spot.

Laundry savings

Wash your clothes exclusively in cold water and skip the dryer. Hang a clothes line and let your clothes air dry. If a clothes line isn’t an option, consider some sort of drying rack.

Avoid using the oven

Using the oven can heat up a kitchen real quick. If you have a toaster oven, it can be a great substitute that creates much less heat. However, don’t use this as an excuse to eat out! It only takes a couple meals out to blow through what you have saved from doing everything on this list.

Ways to Save on Utilities this Winter

4 Jan

Yikes! Did your first winter energy bill come in higher than you expected? Turning off the heat to save money for the rest of the winter isn’t going to be an option when you live in Indiana, unfortunately, so we’ve rounded up some tips to help you save some cash until it’s warm outside again.

Turn down the heat

Both on your thermostat and your water heater, which you should have access to in a utility closet. Lowering the heat in your house to around 68 is enough to keep you warm (you may have to add a couple layers) and can help to reduce your heating bill. If you have a programmable thermostat take advantage of the settings and turn the heat down a couple more degrees (but always stay at least at 50 to avoid your pipes freezing) so you’re not using extra energy while you’re gone. Also, making a minor adjustment on your hot water heater will save you money. Not to mention that having less hot water will cut your shower time down.

Unplug electronics you aren’t using

This is a simple one that can be used all year. Even if you’re not using your laptop and it’s in hibernation mode, it’s still using electricity. Unplug it and save yourself a couple bucks (so you can have heat!). Even keeping little things like toasters or phone chargers plugged in when they aren’t being used creates a small drain on electricity. Also, avoid space heaters! They use a lot of electricity and are extremely inefficient at heating compared to your central heating. Oftentimes, tossing a blanket on your lap or pulling on a sweatshirt will keep you just as warm.

car in snow with text overlay: Save $$ on utilities this winter

Cover your windows

Plastic over leaky windows can save you tons of money. This is an especially good idea if you live in an older apartment or rental house. We had a window in a rental house that leaked so badly that we could literally watch the plastic sheet we taped around it billow and fill with cold air! Just covering that window saved us a lot in heating costs. wikiHow has a great article on how to properly cover your windows.

Turn your ceiling fans clockwise

Apparently there’s a setting on most ceiling fans that will allow you to switch the direction they spin. This is typically located above the blades of the fan. And turning clockwise will push the hot air back down to keep the heat in your rooms instead of pushing it up towards the ceiling (hot air does rise, after all).

Always wear layers

Add an extra blanket to your bed, keep your slippers handy, invest in some sweaters from the thrift store, keep extra blankets in the living room. Switching your lounging clothes from shorts and a t-shirt to a hoody and sweatpants makes a huge difference. Plus it’s extra comfortable to toss a blanket on your lap while you watch TV. Putting on layers keeps you warm and will keep you from turning up the heat, saving you money on electricity.

21 Ways to Save Money in Everyday Life

6 Oct

21 ways to save leader.jpg

Financial wellness results from making decisions that support financial goals or priorities. If you spend money on a video game, you are unable to use those funds towards a goal you have, such as purchasing a vehicle or taking a vacation. Lower your miscellaneous expenses by using any combination of the following money-saving strategies:

  1. Reduce the cost of utilities.
    a. Disconnect your cable TV service.
    b. Turn off the lights when not in use. 
  2. Stop spending for things you don’t really need.
  3. Stop paying for purchases with your credit card. If you can’t pay for it this month, don’t push it to next month!
  4. Put all your loose change in a jar. Keep it for laundry, or save it for unexpected expenses.
  5. Reduce your food expenditures:
    a. Buy in bulk.
    b. Don’t shop more than once a week.
    c. Buy only what you have on your list, no impulse purchases!
    d. Compare prices.
    e. Don’t buy more than you can use. 
  6. Eat out less frequently and less expensively.
    a. Treat eating out as a luxury.
    b. Eat less expensive foods.
    c. Use restaurant coupons.
    d. Take advantage of early-bird specials.
    e. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re upset.
    f. Order entrees only, not expensive desserts or appetizers.
    g. Split or share meals with a friend.
    h. Pack your lunch and take it with you to school.
    i. Save half for leftover lunch the next day.
     
  7. Learn to cook for yourself.
  8. Find an alternative to driving your car. Rely on public transportation, friends, bikes, and your feet.
  9. If you MUST have a car, try the following tips:
    a. Wash your car yourself.
    b. Purchase regular, unleaded gas.
    c. Look for coupons for oil changes.
    d. To avoid long-term expenses, keep your car in shape.
    e. Use cash or debit cards to pay for gas.
    f. Carpool with friends. 
  10. Find free or inexpensive ways to entertain yourself:
    a. Matinee, discount movies.
    b. Local museums and parks.
    c. Ask about student discounts.
    d. Participate in sports.
    e. Join school clubs.
    f. Read books & borrow them from libraries.
    g. Hike a trail.
    h. Rent videos rather than buying DVDs.
    i. Buy season passes/book of tickets for activities you engage in frequently. 
  11. Take care of yourself, but look for deals.
    a. Avoid membership in trendy health clubs – use the schools’ facilities or the YMCA.
    b. Rely on coupons or specials for hairdressers/barbers.
    c. Don’t waste money on expensive cosmetics sold at department stores.
    d. Look for free-sample cosmetics, or purchase them at discount stores.
    e. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure instead of paying someone else to do it; have a manicure/pedicure party with your friends.
    f. Shop around; look for sales/specials. 
  12. Utilize cell phone plans that match your actual usage. No need for unlimited data if you’re in WiFi range 90% of the time.
  13. Stay away from the shopping mall and out of the stores (particularly when you’re upset or depressed).
  14. Avoid or reduce expensive luxury habits.
  15. Buy only products, clothes and food that you really need.
  16. Check out the costs of banking and negotiate what works best for you (e.g. avoid ATM fees, checking fees, designer checks, etc.)
  17. Don’t be influenced to spend by friends who have more money than you.
  18. Shop for clothes wisely.
    a. Shop at discount outlet stores, consignment stores, and campus thrift shops.
    b. Look for generic labels; avoid expensive name-brand clothing.
    c. Avoid buying and wearing clothes that must be dry-cleaned. 
  19. Select and purchase gifts only when they are on sale.
  20. Live at home or with a relative. Get a roommate.
  21. If you want or think you need something, wait a full 24 hours before you buy it.

Information based on USA Funds® Life Skills®. © 2002 United Student Aid Funds, Inc. Used with permission.

Ways to Save $$ on Utilities This Winter

15 Jan

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator & Purdue Alumna

Yikes! Did your first winter energy bill come in higher than you expected? Turning off the heat to save money for the rest of the winter isn’t going to be an option when you live in Indiana, unfortunately, so we’ve rounded up some tips to help you save some cash until it’s warm outside again.

Turn down the heat

Both on your thermostat and your water heater (you should have access to this in a utility closet). Lowering the heat in your house to around 68 is enough to keep you warm (you may have to add a couple layers) and can help to reduce your heating bill. If you have a programmable thermostat take advantage of the settings and turn the heat down a couple more degrees (but ALWAYS stay at least at 50 unless your apartment requires otherwise to avoid your pipes freezing) so you’re not using extra energy while you’re gone. Also, making a minor adjustment on you hot water heater will save you money (less hot water = shorter showers).

Unplug electronics you aren’t using

This is a simple one that can be used all year. Even if you’re not using your laptop and it’s in hibernation mode, it’s still using electricity. Unplug it and save yourself a couple bucks (so you can have heat!). Also, avoid space heaters! They use a lot of electricity and tossing a blanket on your lap or pulling on a sweatshirt will keep you just as warm.

car in snow with text overlay: Save $$ on utilities this winter

Cover your windows

Plastic over leaky windows can save you tons of money. This is an especially good idea if you live in an older apartment or rental house. We had a window in a rental house that leaked so badly that we could literally watch the plastic sheet we taped around it billow and fill with cold air! Just covering that window saved us a lot in heating costs. wikiHow has a great article on how to properly cover your windows.

Turn your ceiling fans clockwise

Apparently there’s a setting on most ceiling fans that will allow you to switch the direction they spin. And turning clockwise will push the hot air back down to keep the heat in your rooms instead of pushing it up towards the ceiling (hot air does rise, after all).

Always wear layers

Add an extra blanket to your bed, keep your slippers handy, invest in some sweaters from the thrift store, keep extra blankets in the living room… Putting on layers keeps you warm and will keep you from turning up the heat, saving you money on electricity.

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