Power Down and Save Big Bucks

energy conservation

Energy bill got you down now that you're on your own, paying your own utility bills for the first time? 

Or are you  just looking for new ways to save money?

The next time you’re looking to get closer to your ideal budget, look no further than your daily habits. Our national average of electricity usage is $.12/kWhs.  Sounds small, right?  It all adds up, especially during peak seasons (winter and summer months) when the use of larger appliances kicks into full gear.

The average monthly bill (derived from the following chart) is $91.32. This chart is based on common appliances used throughout the year.

Add in energy hogs such as an air conditioner, hot tub, or even a refrigerator from the disco days - you'll see double, even triple the bill amount. While certain appliances barely make a dent in energy costs, others can really add up.  The following chart gives a great overview on what REALLY drives up your electric bill.


Estimated Usage

Monthly Cost (kWhs/mo x $.12)

Clocks (3)



Coffee Maker 



Blow Dryer/Curling Iron



Computer (desktop) 



Dusk/Dawn Light (175 watt)






Ceiling Fan



Furnace Fan/Boiler Pump






Toaster/Toaster Oven






Vacuum Cleaner



Radio, Stereo, VCR






Refrigerator (< 10 yrs. old)






Clothes Dryer (24-32 loads)



Clothes Washer (24-32 loads)




Make Some Changes – For the Better!

Making new lifestyle changes should never be viewed as gloom and doom, but for the better - so start powering down!  It's the little changes that help trim your bill, as well as switching to energy efficient options, that will help you see the payback you deserve.  Be eco-minded, and start seeing more green with the following tips!

  • Watch less TV
  • Watch TV together with housemates or family
  • Buy a smaller screen
  • Turn on the power saver mode on all devices
  • Turn down the LCDs backlight - Many LCDs give you the ability to control the intensity of the backlight in the TV. Most TVs are very bright by default, and that leads to using more juice.
  • Shut off the TV and other connected devices off when they're not being used.
  • Use surge protectors for multiple electronics, and unplug them when not in use - active or passive standby mode adds up!
  • Use candlelight when possible - it’s flattering and saves energy
  • Line dry as much as possible – especially during the summer months when the A/C and fans are in overdrive.
  • Upgrade ALL bulbs in your house to energy-efficient LEDs or CFLs (especially the outdoor dusk to dawn energy sucker!)
  • Keep the A/C off when not at home – crack open a few windows, lower the shades and let the ceiling fans keep the air circulating (don’t worry, your pets know the bathtub is the coolest location).
  • Cook every other day – save time and money by cooking a few meals at once, then reheat using your toaster oven or microwave.
  • Invest in heat/cold-resistant window coverings - about 20% of heating and cooling costs are caused by heat gain or loss through the windows.

Start Small – Go Big

Change is much easier when made in small doses.  If your budget is so tight that upgrading to energy efficient appliances, or even bulbs, is out of the question, then start by thinking "off."  The less that is on, or plugged in, the less energy you are drawing through your outlets.  When summer season comes, leave the A/C off, lower your insulated window covers and let the ceiling fan keep it cool - and don't forget to switch those fans to summer mode. 

The same approach can be applied to the winter months, when added to programmable thermostats - which can save up to 20 percent of your energy costs.  Before you know it, you will be an energy efficiency whiz with enough shaved off your monthly bill to buy something fun...like a Tesla Roadster!

About the Author: Sunny Shakula

Sunny Shakula is a copywriter, seasoned freelance journalist, and marketing professional with 10 years of industry experience under her belt. She holds B.A.s in Journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as training in graphic and interior design. Today, Sunny focuses on eco-friendly life and money management advice; her passion for design and eco-commerce extends to her own business, inside, whose motto is "Re-Purpose with a Purpose." Her forthcoming book, Cheap.Fun.Delicious, dishes on everything from eco-friendly cocktails to DIY interior design.

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