New Year's Savings
As we welcome in the New Year 2021, this is a good time to review how we spend our money. Now that the holidays are over, the bills are showing up. One of the few advantages of being stuck at home due to the pandemic is saving money. Here are a few other ways to save money this year.
KITCHEN. Replace Your Older Major Appliances. Current Energy Star certified appliances are 20-30% more efficient than standard appliances. The running costs of a new Energy Star refrigerator will cost 50% less annually than an old one. Take Care of Your Appliances. For your appliances to work efficiently, it is important to practice good upkeep. Change filters per the recommended schedule, keep appliances clean, and perform regular maintenance to make sure they are not using more than their share of energy. Locate your refrigerator away from sources of heat, such as the stove or oven, which can cause it to work harder. Let foods cool first before putting them inside the refrigerator. Dine Out Less. Eating out or takeout food is easy, but it can also be expensive. Aside from your restaurant bill, you have to pay for gas. Before you know it, the money adds up. Keep take outs to a minimum.
Plan Your Meals. Meal planning is a great way to save money. Planning to use leftovers for lunches or another meal will ensure your money is spent wisely. For instance, roasting a chicken for dinner and using leftovers for sandwiches or to make homemade soup the next day maximizes your grocery dollars. Adding a serving to most meals will only cost $1-$2 more--much less than a meal out would be!
Make a Grocery List. Make a grocery list based on your menu planning for the week. A list helps you make sure you do not forget anything, but it also helps you to avoid impulse buys. Avoid shopping when you are hungry. It is easier to stick to the list when your stomach is not pushing you to purchase extra food.
SMART Water Heaters with Controllers. Enjoying a hot shower is one of life’s simple pleasures. But it comes at a cost. Having hot water at the ready means it is constantly being heated and reheated leading to needless energy consumption. If your old water heater is due for a replacement, getting a smart one will help save money. You can also upgrade your traditional model with a smart controller.
Adjust Your Water Heater. Lowering your water heater temperature down to 120 degrees can help save energy costs. It is estimated that you can save up to $30 annually for every 10-degree reduction.
Install Water Efficient Fixtures. From low flow toilets to water saving shower heads, technology on the low flow front has advanced significantly. You will not notice the difference between a low flow shower and a regular shower head any more. It also helps to track down and plug leaks. A leaky faucet that leaks at a rate of 1 drip per second wastes up to 11,000 liters/year. If you fix a leaky hot water faucet, you will save on your utility bill as well.
Tune up Your HVAC Regularly. Home heating is the single highest energy user. In addition to changing filters, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and help your equipment last longer. It is tempting to just set your thermostat to your ideal temperature and let it run. But by compromising a few degrees and putting on a sweater or turning on a fan, you can save on your energy bills in the long term. Closing the blinds during the summer and investing in weather-proof windows and doors can also help regulate your home’s temperature without touching the thermostat. For every degree below 68 degrees, you save 5% on costs.
Close Closet Doors. Help keep your energy costs lower by closing closet doors, so you are not needlessly heating and cooling closet space.
Use Energy Efficient Lighting. Now that the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs are being phased-out, finding affordable CFL and LED bulb options are getting easier. You can save about $80 over the lifetime of the bulb. The total lifetime savings from these energy-efficient bulbs will greatly out-weigh their initial investment and save on overall energy costs. Leaving lights on when you are not in the room is an easy mistake to make but that energy expenditure adds up over time. By that same token, electronics are using electricity even when they are turned off, so try unplugging them when not in use. If that sounds like too much of a pain, try plugging multiple electronics into a single power strip so you can easily switch it off when you are finished.
Shop at the Right Time of Year. Time your purchases to get the cheapest prices. Think furniture, fitness equipment, bedding, linens, and TVs in January/February, back-to-school supplies in August, barbecues in the fall, and holiday décor after Christmas. If you are in the market for a new computer, wait until the back-to-school rush is over and buy one in September.
This January, pick two areas where you think you can cut back on your spending. The goal is to cut back for just one month on those areas as much as you can. Having this goal makes it feel achievable rather than impossible. If you are looking for a place to shave some money off your budget, these tips are a great starting point! By incorporating these simple habits into your everyday life, you could save enough to be guilt-free when you make that impulse buy or just save for the future.