Monday, March 8, 2010


Monthly utility bills can take a chunk out of any paycheck, big or small. And fewer things are more frustrating than spending money on utilities you might not even be able to see, like electricity and natural gas or that literally gets flushed down the toilet. Many times, we don’t even take a good look at our utility bills, just accepting that we have to pay them and writing the check. If you look at your bills though, and take a couple minutes of your day to follow a few simple tips, it can be easy to reduce your utility bills as well as conserve energy and natural resources.

Much like a general preparing for a battle, you must prepare for your daily utility usage. Just using your utilities in the same way each day is going to cost you. This is more than a battle though– it’s a campaign. By shutting vents to various areas or rooms during certain parts of the day or times of year, you can greatly reduce your consumption. Think of your home as the field of battle with which you must coordinate your attacks depending on your enemy, be it heat, cold, dryness, etc. By limiting the amount of space you utilize in your home, you can greatly reduce your utility bills. By not heating and cooling an entire area, like an upstairs or downstairs, or sectioning off rooms by closing door and vents you can also funnel the available heat or air into the space you are using, warming it quicker and in less time.

It is amazing how much you can save but using or enhancing what nature provides. By opening blinds or shades when it is cold and allowing sunlight to heat a room, or opening windows to allow outside breezes to cool your home when it is hot, can make a drastic difference. At the same time, by planting trees or tall bushes to block sunlight in warmer climates or decrease wind velocity in cooler areas you can minimize the amount of electricity and/or gas you use to heat or cool your home.

One of the best ways to cut utility bills is to make the act of conservation fun or interesting. Doing so will not only turn something viewed as a hardship into something exciting, but it can help get the entire family involved. See if you can beat your previous month’s utility bills, or do better than the bill from the same month of the previous year. By making it a challenge you might find that you can work wonders when it comes to decreasing what you owe each month.

Make sure that you let your family know the expectations when it comes to utilities. This can be a great opportunity for kids to learn responsibility, get them involved in helping conserve resources, as well as teaching them about budgeting and saving money. Be assured that when it comes to kids, and often even adults, the habits of turning off lights, conserving water and electricity, keeping the thermostat low, etc. won’t come immediately, but if you keep on them until it’s ingrained, in time it will happen – or they’ll just get tired of your nagging and move out!

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