It’s kind of a drag. You buy your first home, so now you’re in debt and paying a mortgage. You don’t have time to think about simple ways of conserving cash around the house? Money goes down the drain as you go about your life.
Or you save money on the small stuff. You keep paying on your mortgage and credit card debt, and you keep saving what you need for that first trip to Italy or that new car. Sounds like a better scenario, right?
Remember when you had that roommate in college who always left the lights on? Well, now you don’t. As an added bonus, these energy tips to save money are actually a little less obvious than just turning off the lights:
- Balance thermostat usage: Summer or winter, basic intel says to set the thermostat higher or lower to save energy while you’re not around, but when you get back and adjust it that actually makes the unit work harder; instead, keep it at a consistent, reasonable temp
- Keep interior doors open: This maintains air circulation in the house so that you use your thermostat to peak efficiency
- Turn off fans when you’re out: They don’t cool down a room—they just push around air and consume energy
- Change air filters: Dirty filters keep your HVAC system from running properly
- Inspect and repair ductwork: A service professional can tell you if there’s any leaky ductwork in the house—leaks in ductwork can waste up to 28 percent of your cool air
- Inspect dishwasher: If your washer isn’t Energy Star certified, it may be wasting a lot more water than handwashing would; try washing dishes by hand for a month and see the difference in your water bill
- Repair leaks: Check for leaks in plumbing and get ‘em fixed; a single leak can waste over 3,000 gallons a year
- Slay energy vampires: No I’m not talking about people like your old roommate; vampire power is the juice that feeds energy vampires, which are devices that suck electric blood when you’re not using them
All the above solutions to conserving energy are easy to implement. The next step is to consider what you truly need around the house.
Forget the Big Screen TV
As someone who has done social work and seen abject poverty, I can tell you one of the big items I noticed in people’s houses a lot was the gigantic flat screen TV. True, they’re only a couple hundred bucks these days, but do you really need one? The fact that you’re reading this means you probably have a computer that will do fine for shows.
People who accumulate wealth don’t spend money on luxury items they don’t need until they can afford to, and I’m not just talking about electronics. The big screen TV is symbolic of a kind of senseless consumerism on the part of many Americans. Save up money, pay off the debts you must take care of first, and start earning some positive income towards that TV and the other accessories that are signs of a moneyed citizen.
Consider Solar Power
Yes, this is one of those down-the-line things because right now you don’t have a ton of cash. But once you are in a healthier place financially, solar is a great way to save money over time. How much you’ll save depends on where you live because of differing power costs, and it also depends on how much you spend on installation. All told, though, if you live in, say, California, solar power could save you $28,360 over 20 years.
Happy money saving! And congrats on the new place.