Utility bills can strain a tight budget. From water to energy to even cable and internet, the bills show up every month, and they always seem to rise.
But, while you can’t escape utility bills, you can lower them and lower your financial stress.
There are little tricks and hacks you can put into place that will help you keep these rising costs at bay, especially on a fixed income.
Here are 15 ways to keep your utility bills low so you have more money to spend enjoying your golden years.
Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt
Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.
National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.
How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.
Ask for a senior discount
You know the saying, it never hurts to ask? This is a great place to put that to the test.
Many utility companies offer senior discounts to those over a certain age, designed to help people living on a fixed income afford their utilities.
It may be a small discount on each bill, but every little bit helps. And asking for a discount is an easy way to avoid wasting money.
Install a high-efficiency showerhead
While a luxurious rain shower is wonderful, it doesn’t exactly conserve water. If you’re updating your bathroom, skip the fancy splurge and go for a high-efficiency showerhead. It will use up to 75% less water and reduce your water bill in the process.
Check your home for plumbing leaks
A water bill typically isn’t your highest utility bill, but that doesn’t mean you should let that money go down the drain.
Do a home inspection. Check faucets to make sure they aren’t dripping, tighten the plumbing around sinks and toilets, and make sure there aren’t any small spots that could be leaking water and money.
Don't let home repairs drain your bank account
Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more. Not being able to make repairs could leave you in a bad situation — but a home warranty could protect you against surprise expenses.
Whether you’re a brand-new homeowner or you’ve owned your home for years, a plan from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where homeowner’s insurance falls short.
If a covered system in your home breaks down, you can call their hotline 24/7 for assistance to get it repaired. They have a network of over 15,000 technicians that can assist you, making sure any issue can be taken care of swiftly — without breaking the bank.
Not sure if it’s for you? Rest easy: they were named one of the "Best Home Warranty Companies" by US News 360 Reviews and were awarded Best Company's 2020 Consumer's Choice Award. For a limited time, you can get your first month free when you sign up for a Single Payment home warranty plan.
Use a rain barrel for water for the yard
One of the biggest drains on your water usage is probably the yard. Watering your gorgeous flowers all spring and summer will use a significant amount of water and add to your bill seasonally.
But, if you use a rain barrel, you can leverage Mother Nature instead of your bank account. The rain barrel will collect water each time it rains; then, you can use it for irrigation.
Remember to unplug electronics and appliances
A plugged-in appliance draws a phantom energy load even when it’s not in use. So, no matter how good you are about turning off the TV or the coffee maker, it's still using energy if it’s plugged in.
This may not save much at the time, but it can add up to hundreds of dollars over a year.
Plug appliances into smart power strips
Use a smart power strip if you can’t remember to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use. This will cut off power when these items aren’t being used, saving you maybe hundreds of dollars each year.
Plus, you won’t have to remember to unplug every appliance each time you aren’t using it.
Install a programmable thermostat
Optimizing your heating and cooling throughout the day is one of the best ways to make a big impact on your energy level.
But it’s not always easy to remember when to turn it up or down. Too often, you’ll already be out the door before you think of adjusting the thermostat. A programmable thermostat makes it easy.
Switch to LED bulbs
If your lamps still have incandescent bulbs, consider switching to LED. Upgrading to LED saves $215 a year on your energy bill.
And now, LED options are available that mimic the look of incandescent bulbs, so you can still get your cozy ambient lighting.
Plant trees near your windows
Put your retirement gardening hobby to good use. Plant trees near your windows to help shade your home during the hot summer months.
This will naturally cool your home, allowing you to reduce your HVAC usage and lower your energy bill during the peak season.
Change your air filters regularly
Many don’t realize that air filters need to be changed every three months. You'll save money on your energy bill by keeping up with this regular schedule.
Your HVAC system will cool your house more efficiently, allowing you to use less energy in the process.
Call your internet and cable provider
It’s not unusual to find that you have negotiating power when you call your internet and cable provider, even if you’re not a senior. But, if you are a senior, you are in an even better position.
Explain that you’re an older customer living on a fixed income, and the customer service representative will likely be willing to work with you on a monthly bill that makes sense.
Wash your clothes in cold or warm water, not hot
The less your water heater has to work, the lower your energy bill will be.
Try washing your clothes in cold or warm water rather than hot to save money. This will also prolong the life of your clothes since hot water can be tougher on fabrics.
Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances
Splurging on new appliances won’t save you significant money immediately, but if you have to replace them anyway, it’s worth springing for energy-efficient models.
If you buy a model with EPA’s Energy Star or WaterSense labels, you could use 12% less energy and 30% less water than traditional, non-energy-efficient appliances.
Don’t wash your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher
This one might be at odds with how you were raised, but you don’t need to wash your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
The dishwasher is designed to efficiently wash each dish, even with food residue. If you wash it by hand first, you’re wasting water and money.
Ask your utility provider to do an energy audit
If you’ve done all of the above and still feel like your energy bill could be lower, ask your utility company if they do free energy audits.
They can assess your home and see where there could be issues with a window seal, ductwork, doors, and more. They will recommend the repairs and improvements to make your home more energy efficient.
Everyone should try to avoid wasting money no matter what their income. But if you’re a senior, contact the utility company to see if they have a program to help you save on your monthly bills.
Then, enlist family and friends to help you put these tips into practice so you can reduce your energy usage around the home.
Your community is here to help, and every small thing you do can make an impact on your utility bills.