You can save on utility bills and then use the money for your budget. I have a lot of experience with utility bills. The many homes I have owned give me experience in utility choices, use, and maintenance. After living in areas with high utility bills and areas with lower utility bills, I can safely say I have utility experience.
The areas with low utility bills have a way of sneaking high cost in if you do not pay attention. Understanding utility use and care is a large part of maintaining a home.
11 Great Ways to Save Money on Utility Bills And Find Money for Your Budget:
1. Lights –use energy efficient light bulbs and automatic on/off switches to conserve energy
When you use overuse lights it makes a big difference in your bill. In some places electric bills are awfully expensive where there is a utility monopoly. Too many families or even singles do not keep what I call, “light awareness”. If you leave a room, turn out the lights, it is that simple.
If you want to use lights for security purposes, use automatic on/off switches. You can pick up one from your local hardware store, there are many examples. These are useful when you go out of town and do not want others to know that no one is home. Just make sure you keep the light use to a minimum.
Energy efficient light bulbs shave considerable money off your bill. Some energy efficient bulbs you will use, will seem to last forever. If you use the combination of low light use and energy efficient lights, you can see low utility bills here by far.
Children are another reason lights are kept on too long. It is OK to explain to your kids, no matter what their age without putting pressure on their little minds. Some kids even feel important when they are asked to help and why.
2. Gas–Keep gas for cooking and fireplaces to minimum to knock a dent in your bill.
Many of you love cooking with gas, so there is a lot of gas being used. There are also gas fireplaces. There are two types of gas. Natural gas usually used in the cities and LP Gas (liquid propane) usually used in rural areas.
Because I have experience with both, I can say that electricity is far cheaper than LP gas in rural areas and natural gas is less expensive than electricity in urban areas.
Because LP gas is so expensive, I never run my pilot in my country home fireplace. Of course, natural gas is cleaner to burn for the environment. To save money, it is best to build a wood burning fireplace, especially where wood is plentiful. Keep all gas appliances during off during non-use to save money on burning. Keeping gas use low, will enable a low utility bills in this area.
3. Water – Is one of the least expensive utilities, but you can save money by controlling use
If there is a leak, you water bill will explode. One way you can find if there is a leak is if your water bill is exceptionally high over past few months. Use only what you need and turn your water off when not in use. Get leaks fixed immediately.
4. Low flow water fixtures are recommended – these save on water and heat
Low flow water fixtures keep the flow to a minimum, so you do not use as much water as if you have a high flow valve. So, they save on water and if it is hot, save on hot water.
The problem is that many people do not understand how important this is and instead they remove the part that restricts the water flow in show heads and faucets. It works best with toilets.
Understanding the difference, it can make in your water and heat bill, will help to understand its importance.
5. Septic/sewer – Avoid busted pipes and improper maintenance
In rural areas or urban areas that have not been fully transformed you will have a septic system instead of city sewer system. It must be maintained with a septic enhancer or you could have an expensive backup. You also must have it cleaned out every few years or you could get into expensive trouble.
6. Landline phone vs cell service – You can now get one monthly fee for local and long distance.
With landline phones you get enhanced 911 calling, which is important for the extremely sick or elderly. This means if you live in a major area the call is traced to your location immediately. The ambulance will know where to go even if you hang up.
With cell service this is usually not the case, they can only tell the general location.
Small Savings Become Big Money Over Time, -Lois
Landlines are usually is less expensive than cell service. The issue is you will not have cell service when you are away from home if you do not own one. There are very inexpensive cell service contracts, you must talk to your chosen carrier and get an inexpensive fit for you. Cell phone contracts are competitive and constantly changing, so stay informed.
7. Heat/air — This is where the cost can be quite high.
The thermostat is king; keeping the thermostat down with heat, and up with air, can save a few thousand dollars a year. Investing in a programmable thermostat will save when you are away. The largest costs come when you must replace your system. Know what the costs are before you ask a professional to replace your system.
Also, updating to an efficient system will save money over time and pay for itself. We upgraded to a complete heat, air, and programmable thermostat modern system and it paid for itself in 3 years. Out bill was almost cut in half. Here is where you can find money for your budget in a huge way.
8. Fireplace – A wood burning fireplace is a great alternative for heat.
You can keep the thermostat down exceptionally low and make up the heat with the fireplace. It will basically take the chill out of the air. But, you will be comfortable.
9 Open windows – In places where you get a cool breeze from windows.
Use natural breeze instead of air conditioning. Air conditioners are an extremely expensive way to cool when you have free cool air. Keeping air conditioning use to a minimum will allow you to find a maximum
10. Energy efficient window coverings help to control the atmosphere.
There are many types of window coverings that control the heat or cold at the surface of the window. Energy efficient window coverings run the gamut from shades to curtains. Check with your local window covering retailer and they will review the best options for your windows.
11. Unplug – plugged up electrical appliances use electricity and generate costs.
Many homeowners and apartment dwellers do not know this. You will see a difference in your electrical bill when you unplug all unnecessary outlets. It is also wise to unplug during major electrical outages to prevent short circuits.
Consistency is the Key to Saving Money, -Lois
If you do not need the lights, gas, air, or heat – keep it off, and you will lower your bill. You will save money on utilities that you can use for your budget, only when you have “utility use awareness”.
Leave home and turn off – do not keep your electricity or heat on if you leave home. There are a few exceptions. An exception would be if you live in an area that gets cold winters and your pipes would freeze if the heat is not kept on low. Remember to wrap pipes, wherever you can to prevent frozen pipes bursting during cold winters.
Use an automatic timer to turn on and off lights when you are away, or they need to be on for an extended time.
Fireplaces are great for heat if you can get the wood at low or no cost.
A septic/ sewer system requires maintenance, find out from your local septic person.
Water is not free, so use it sparingly, in some areas it is downright limited.
You can get an inexpensive landline or cell phone contract, do your research.
These are surefire ways to save money on utility bills. As you use these suggestions, you will see a deep cut in the money you spend on utilities.
You will be surprised that you will find money for your budget, you hadn’t dreamed of. Save money when maintaining a home, by understand how to efficiently use your utilities.
Lois Center-Shabazz| Money Strategist | Course Delta Agency
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Creating a Sustainable budget is defined as a budget that works to meet all of your short-term and long-term needs. It keeps you feed, clothed, gas in your car, your mortgage or rent current, whether you have a lot of money or times become lean.
To create the lasting sustainable budget you must plan, and do it early. You don’t start when you lose your job, get into a car accident or have any other time of financial crises. Creating a sustainable budget will take care of those issues.
The money you have in good times is budgeted heavily so it will last during bad times. I see too many people who though “caution to the wind”, when it comes to spending. They think they are so special that they will never hit hard times with a job loss, contract loss, or medical emergency.
Don’t be fooled, it happens to folks of all income levels. So, it does not matter if you are low income or uber high income you have budget your money. You never know when the, “well will run dry” or the money will seem to evaporate due to lose of income.
So, let’s get started and create a sustainable budget now. You will create the short-term, the long-term and the budgets for the specific things you need.
The common sense approach to avoiding a time of financial crises during an economic downturn is to guerrilla budget when times are good as well as when times are bad.
Unfortunately, many people don’t think about budgets until finances are in trouble. Start to create your sustainable budget and continue improving it as time goes on.
I saw a new story about a young girl, who became a high-income singer, with a contract from a major media company, then came a terrible time of financial crises with an illness. Now her 1.2 million dollar home is being auctioned off. Where did she go wrong? Is she any different than most Americans in her position?
The answer is 1. Apparently she did not understand how to budget the money she earned, 2. She didn’t understand the limits of the money she earned. 3. She didn’t understand that, no matter what your income emergencies happen. 4. She did not create a sustainable home buying budget based on worse case scenarios.
The answer to the second question above is, NO, she is not any different than most Americans, and did not anticipate a financial crises.
Budgeting is not taught in most high schools and colleges or graduate school. Because of that we even have PHD’s and MD’s (doctor of philosophy and medical doctors), going broke due of mismanagement of money or the lack of budgeting skills.
They don’t understand that a financial crises can happen to anyone, so creating a sustainable budget early will prevent problems.
In this article I will give you a few quick tips to creating a sustainable budget using my guerrilla budget method:
1. Live below your means no matter what your financial status to create a sustainable budget.
This sounds like common sense, but many who have common sense and a good income don’t, because you feel money will make up for it.
It does not. Ask all of the broke entertainers who once made millions. The 8 cars, and the 8000 square foot house is only a distant dream.
They think about how they could have purchased 3 nice cars, and a 3000 square foot house, put money in savings, invested aggressively, and they would have been set when the entertainment contracts dried up.
Many get caught in something as simple as not paying required yearly taxes. Pay your taxes first, then pay yourself in savings and investing, then pay your other affordable bills.
2. When you make a lot or are awarded a lot of money
When you enter into a high income or windfall pretend like it has to last you 100 years.
The is a good trick for those who don’t have a lot of self-discipline, it works because you trick your mind into believing the money does not exist, so you are forced to guerrilla budget it.
When you are distracted one day you open your savings and investment account and you realize you did something really smart. You created a sum of money you can actually live off as your business or income falls on hard times.
3. Be conservative with your purchases
There is no law that says when times are good you should waste money. The problems come when you have not grown up with financial discipline; too many income earners do.
Don’t fall in the trap of, “I have to spend big to have quality products”. You don’t. You can get nice clothes, shoes, cars, homes, and education at a very affordable cost and high quality.
Some things that are very expensive, you will later find that you simply spent too much money and could have gotten the item for a fraction of the cost.
Do your homework, do lots of research and get the best item for the best price. This is a major step to creating a sustainable budget.
4. Buy a home and car with a monthly note you can afford
You do not have to max out your monthly income in “monthly bill payments”. That is that your entire paycheck goes to “monthly bill payments”.
Here are examples; Why not buy the certified pre-owned car with a monthly note of one-third of the new car? Put the remaining two-thirds in a couple of different savings and/or investment accounts.
If you lose your job, you can pull from one of those accounts to continue your payments until you get another job.
5. Decide what you can afford based on your income and future
Start with a written budget. Your budget should include cost to run your home (maintenance-rent or mortgage), food – clothes – medicine. Also include things such as getting to work and maintaining a car, going on vacation, and to save, save, save for now and the future.
Everyone has different needs. It is imperative to identify all of your needs you have now or may have in the future. This is an analysis that will take time to figure out.
6. If you have an addiction to expensive “things” work on that problem
That is the number two problem that causes poverty with people who make a lot of money. The number one problem, is “budgeting ignorance”.
If you have an entertainment contract that last three years, spend like it will last three years.When you are an independent contractor on a job that will last two years, live like it is only two years.
When you are self-employed don’t fail to get proper liability insurance, health insurance and all insurance that is required by your industry. For those who are self-employed with an office space lease make sure you understand your lease by talking to a business attorney, before you sign.
The general idea here is to get cosst under control, understand that you don’t need expensive things.
7. If you work on a contract like the singer above probably did
You have to be especially careful with spending because you will have a big tax bill at the end of every year based on your big income (quarterly after the first year).
When you are an independent contractor of any type – self-employed, contracted worker or any other; you will need to pay taxes by quarter and then year-end.
The worse thing to do is to file too many exemptions so you can have extra money in your paycheck. You promise yourself that you will pay it back, and of course that doesn’t happen. Eventually, you get into a nightmare loop of owing taxes, making payments and getting future behind.
8. Remember that it takes a long time to create a sustainable budget
-Because you have to consider cost that you normally don’t think about.
-You have to consider all timelines for payments.
-Then don’t forget things you may need in the future.
-You can get a simple short-term budget, but a long term budget is ultimately the most important.
-When you do all of the above you creat a guerrilla budget
Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency
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