Saving on household costs
If you have been watching the headlines, prices on everything seem to be going up. There are several steps you can take to save on your energy and household costs. Choose a few for your family to adopt and see if it makes a difference in your bank account.
Save on Energy Costs
- Heat and cool smartly. Improve the performance of your heating and cooling system by having it serviced annually by a licensed contractor. They often run specials on tune-ups. Get this done before winter arrives.
- Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer. Install a programmable thermostat that is compatible with your heating and cooling system. Heat and cool when moving around in the home and lower it when you are gone or sleeping.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle. Stop the cycle after the final rinse and open the door to allow them to air dry. The bonus to this method is that your home gets a boost of humidity, especially in the winter months when humidity levels run low.
- Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
- Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips. Turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. If you need to fill out a load of dishes or laundry, look around for items that are seldom washed, like decorative towels and dishes and add them in to make a full load.
- Take care of home repairs as soon as the need arises. Delaying repairs can make problems worse and repair costs much higher.
- Close the doors and turn off the heat or air conditioning to rooms that you are not using.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR logo found on everything you purchase for compact fluorescent light bulbs to refrigerators. The logo indicates that a product is a 10 to 50 percent more energy efficient than products without the ENERGY STAR logo.
- Change your air filter. When it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system, replacing a dirty air filter is probably the most simple, inexpensive, and often overlooked maintenance job.
- Use energy-saving window treatments, such as insulated or heavy draperies, and storm windows.
- Use hot water wisely. Your water heater is the second-largest energy user in your home. Consider wrapping it with a water heater blanket to insulate it. Use hot water efficiently to save energy and money. Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees F.
Save in the Home
- Look carefully at your phone bill. Are you paying for unnecessary features? If you have both a landline and a cell phone, you might want to cancel one of the services.
- Use fewer paper products, such as paper plates, cups, and towels. You will be both saving money and helping the environment.
- Strive for a simpler lifestyle. This means owning fewer nonessential things and having less to clean and maintain. Buy less clutter and junk.
- Be creative. Use what you already have in new and better ways.
- Cut your recreation costs by planning more activities and games at home. Entertain friends and relatives at home.
- Before purchasing gifts at a retail store, think about your talents with crafts, baking, making jelly, etc. Make gifts for friends and family.
- Take clippings from some of your plants, and pot them for gifts.
- Planning carefully and thoroughly is the first step in economical decorating.
- Consider remodeling rather than building a new house.
- Learn to paint, hang wallpaper, and refinish furniture.
- Make your draperies, curtains, spreads, slipcovers, and table covers.
- Learn to clean, repair, and restore household items yourself. Learn to maintain and repair the house and equipment.
- Make dried flower arrangements from garden flowers, wildflowers, and decorative weeds.
- Decorate your home with items from nature or use family creations.
- Take advantage of free or low–cost learning opportunities, trips, and community services, such as schools, workshops, fairs, libraries, concerts, hikes, public tennis courts, home shows, Extension programs, and other adult education courses.
- Hold a garage sale. Sell those items you no longer use, need, or want. Don’t pay to store items that you don’t use or need.
- Plan an outdoor living area. Outdoor Landscapes are beautiful, so enjoy them.
- Buy things that require as little maintenance as possible.
- Buy furniture at auctions, secondhand shops, or garage sales.
- Buy low-cost household cleaning products or learn to make your own. Check out the homemade household cleaners information at johnson.k-state.edu/home-family