Our lifestyles are busier than ever, and we have the go-to gadgets to prove it. Smartphones, watches, smart appliances and televisions, speakers, tablets…the list is so extensive that it’s virtually endless.
But all those gadgets, smart home appliances and tech savvy tablets and phones cost us money each month. Beyond, of course, just the carrier fees or internet charges.
Every gadget, appliance, fixture and screen costs money in electricity…or gas. Everything we plug in, turn on, heat up or cool down costs money. And those dollars add up quickly.
You might be screaming: “how do I lower my utility bills!!???” If your monthly electricity, water or gas bills are slowly sucking the budget dry, the solution is easier than you think.
Cutting costs means minimizing what we use. So it’s time to downsize:
- Gadget time
- Television time
- Water usage
- Electricity and gas usage
- The 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle)
- Good habits for kids
- Off-peak electricity hours (research rates and/or programs with your utility company)
- Decluttering (start with your bedroom, for example!)
If you’re freaking out and thinking there is NO way you can cut back, you’re probably wrong. Many of us take leisurely showers, plug in our phones throughout the day and waste energy in other ways.
Lowering your bills means making sacrifices. So let’s get cutting!
Technology rules our lives. It makes things easier, right? Those tablets, phones, smart watches and fitness trackers keep our lives together.
What did we do before tech took over? Well, we used paper. And pens. We plugged in less…a lot less.
- Don’t leave gadgets plugged in for hours. Charge them during the night (but not ALL night) and during the day (as needed).
- Turn off all the lights you don’t use.
- Shut off tablets to save battery life when they aren’t in use.
- Unplug all appliances not in use
- Switch light fixtures to LED bulbs (they save energy and last longer!)
But wait! How do you go through the day only charging the phone…sometimes? Those batteries don’t last forever. Especially if you’re snapping photos or watching videos.
Yes, it’s true. Those batteries don’t last forever. But if you use them only as needed, they will last (theoretically) a whole LOT longer.
Minimalism means cutting down that phone and tablet usage. This also may help you embrace a more mindful approach to life. Less time on the phone and other gadgets snapping, texting or surfing means more time to read, talk to friends or engage in other ways.
Living minimally can help you take charge of bad habits. While you save on screen time, you can find other things to enjoy.
H2O: Less is More
Some people love a long hot shower. Double whammy for utility bills, though. A long shower uses more water, and turning up the heat means that you have to use either more electricity or gas.
Shorten that shower time. Buy a kitchen timer and set it for a set time. Aim for only a few minutes. Instead of hot water, opt for warm.
You also can save water by installing low-flow shower heads. If you love a hot bath, switch to a shower instead. Baths use up a lot of water.
Let the Sun In: Go Au Natural
Forget the fake light of bulbs. Go back to nature and embrace the sunlight! Open the curtains to use Mother Nature’s lamp.
If you have houseplants or a vertical garden that loves the sun, be sure to place them in an area where they soak up all those rays. Plus, greenery is great for natural décor!
Get rid of all that paper, aluminum, glass and plastic waste, but don’t throw it away! Embracing minimalism means recycling anything that can enjoy a second life.
Be sure to research recycling in your area, so you know if there is a pick-up date for items or if you need to drop off recyclables at a specific location. Whatever you do, though, don’t toss out items that can be recycled!
Want to save more landfill space? Create a compost pile in your backyard with decomposing materials from the waste.
And never throw away old clothes. Unwanted clothing and textiles take up much-needed space in landfills. Instead, donate nicer items to a thrift store. Turn stained t-shirts into cleaning cloths. Old towels and blankets also may be donated to animal shelters.
Avoid Extreme Temps for the Thermostat
We all have a certain temperature that we love for our home. But even nudging that thermostat down or up a little bit in winter and summer may help save money.
You also may be able to program your unit to run less when you’re away (at work or school), or make your ventilation energy efficient!
And always remember to replace the air filter in your HVAC unit.
Teach Kids Good Habits
For families with kids, teach the importance of conserving energy. Make sure children turn off the faucet when soaping up their hands or brushing their teeth. They also should learn to turn off the lights when they leave a room.
Be Energy Wise When Cleaning Clothes and Dishes
Appliances like our washer/dryer and dishwasher can use a lot of water and electricity (or gas). Run the dishwasher with a full load. And you may even opt to wash clothes and dishes at ‘off-peak’ hours. So what are the more expensive times to run electrical appliances? You can go check with your utility provider to see electricity stats/rates for your area.
So what else can you minimize when you’re trying to lighten the load of bills? If you’re a family with multiple kids and multiple gadgets, it might be time to reassess what you really need.
- Video Game Systems: Do you have multiple game systems? Do you need/use them all? Choose one (or two) at the most. Donate the rest.
- Tech Gadgets: We’ve already gone over this a bit. However, many of us have multiple gadgets. Some families have LOTS of tablets and smart devices. Choose the ones you really need and use. Older versions might be donated or recycled.
- Televisions: You don’t need one in every bedroom. Really, downsizing those screens may mean your family spends less time staring at them. Opt for one in the great room/living rooms, one in your master bedroom and maybe one in the basement (if it’s finished and a usable rec space).
Embracing minimalism isn’t just good for saving money on utilities, but it also may help you spend more time and energy on the ‘moment.’ Downsizing screens and opting for energy-saving life habits is easier than you might think. There are so many small habits we can embrace now to save money and live life a little fuller. So look around and see what you can change!