Your utility costs can be a meaningful part of your total home budget. Paying these costs can be frustrating. You may not have a tool to track how much energy you use in your home. Since you aren’t monitoring your use, you may feel like you’re paying more than you need to. Fortunately, there are some tools to help you monitor and reduce your energy costs.
Creating a budget
Your starting point for saving on energy costs is to create personal budget. Your budgeting process doesn’t need to be complicated. You can use a piece of notebook paper, for example. At the top, write down your net pay for the month. Down the left margin, write down your spending categories.
Some of those spending categories will be for energy costs, including gas and electric costs. Take a look at your energy bills for the last 6 months or a year. Take an average of your monthly energy bills and use that in your budget. By taking an average, you’ll account for changes in energy usage due to temperature swings.
There are some great tech tools you can use for personal budgeting. Quicken is an easy to use tool that will help you stay on track financially.
Reducing your energy use
You can take some practical steps to reduce your energy use. The site http://www.localelectricitycompanies.com/electricity-savings/ explains some changes you can make:
- Lower your thermostat, particularly during the day when you’re not at home. Heating and cooling make up more than half of your energy bill.
- Use less hot water. Water heating is another way you use a lot of energy. Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible, and you’ll cut down on hot water use.
- Use light bulbs that are energy efficient. Standard light bulbs consume a great deal of energy as heat. The more efficient light bulbs don’t get as hot and use less energy.
- If you live in an area that offers deregulated energy consumption, you can actually shop for the least expensive energy. Deregulation means that utility companies can compete for customers based on price.
Cut down on your carbon footprint
In addition to cost savings, lowering your energy use reduces your carbon footprint. Time for Change defines a carbon footprint as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to support human activity. Your production of carbon dioxide produces greenhouse gases.
Fortunately, there are several apps that can help you monitor your energy use and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Wink: This app allowed you to turn off devices remotely. You can turn off your lights, automatic locks and adjust your thermostat using this app.
- My Earth: You can use this app to track you energy usage and your total carbon footprint. A great feature of this app is the ability to display information using graphs. Seeing a graph can make a bigger impact on the user.
- Chai Energy: This app displays your energy use and the cost of the energy in real time. Chai will send reminders when your energy consumption is high. The app can also estimate the dollar amount of your next energy bill.
Your utility costs have an impact on your overall household budget. Use these ideas to reduce your carbon footprint and keep you energy costs down.