After a long and arduous winter, you’re ready for spring and all that it can bring. The longer days, sunny weather, and warm breezes make January’s polar vortex a distant memory — that is, until you receive the final utility bill from the winter cycle. It likely shows the proof of the cold snap, along with every time you took an extra-long hot shower or plugged in a space heater.
Unseasonably high electric, gas, or water bills can be a nightmare for your finances. These tips will help you reduce your energy consumption, so you can avoid facing an inflated bill at any time of the year.
Set your thermostat properly
When you’re cold, you’re first thought is to turn your thermostat up, but this is the most expensive way to raise your temperature. To maximize your savings, set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer while you’re in the house. When you’re sleeping or out at work, adjust your thermostat another 10 degrees to see an additional 10 percent savings on your bill.
Other ways to stay warm (or cool)
It may take a while before you’ve adjusted to these recommended settings. The next time you feel a chill, try layering with sweaters and fuzzy socks. Keep your rooms stocked with thick blankets you can burrow under when the temperatures dip at night.
In the summer, try using fans to circulate the air in your home before you crank the air conditioner. You can set your air conditioner four degrees higher with no discernible change in comfort when you use ceiling fans.
Use your windows to your advantage
Most of your home’s heat exchange occurs at your doors and windows. In the winter, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure they don’t leak the heated air your furnace worked hard to warm. You can do that by:
- Installing insulating plastic over thin window panes
- Repairing any damages in caulking or weatherstripping
- Using blackout curtains as a layer of insulation, only opening them during the brightest parts of the afternoon to have the sun heat your space
In the summer, you can try:
- Using blackout curtains to block out the sun during the day to keep its rays from raising the temperature in your house
- Opening your curtains and windows if the temperatures drop significantly at night, remembering to turn off your air conditioner until you shut them in the morning
Change your relationship with water
Having running water in your home is one of the conveniences of the modern world, but it can end up costing you. If you want to lower your bills, try:
- Having shorter showers — shaving a few minutes off every shower could save as much as $50 a year
- Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth to save 200 gallons of water a week for a family of four
- Lowering your water heater from 140 to 120 degrees could save as much as 10 percent on your bill
- Using your dishwasher instead of washing by hand could save as much as 24 gallons of water for every load
- Running your washing machine and dishwasher only when they’re full
Start now and see instant savings
These simple tricks promise to bring considerable savings to your next utility bill. Stick with them all year round, and you’re less likely to open up a bill to find a surprising charge inflating what you owe.
If you still end up facing an unexpected fine with no savings to help pay by the due date, a personal loan is an obvious answer. Yet with most mainstream banks slow to approve applications, an online loan alternative may be the best answer.
An online cash advance can bridge the gap in your finances quickly, so you can take on unexpected yet essential bills. Some online lenders fast-track their borrowing process, so you can receive your loan within as little as one business day once you’re approved.
When looking for a cash advance from a lender, make sure you find an online lender with all the appropriate licenses they need to issue cash advances or installment loans in your state. This will ensure you’re borrowing from a responsible lender invested in your financial future.
As a fast and convenient source of cash advances, an online lender can help in a pinch, but first try limiting how you use the energy in your home. By reducing your energy consumption, you’re fighting your expensive bill at the source.
Regular savings on your utility bills means you’ll have more cash to put towards a savings account. With so many benefits to your finances, why wait to make these changes? Check your thermostat right now!