Ways to save money at home

Ways to Save Money At Home

  1. Does Changing My Air Conditioner Filter Make a Difference?
  2. Food Waste In America
  3. How Much Do Water Leaks Cost?
  4. Does Turning Your Hot Water Heater Down Save You Money?
  5. Is it worth switching to LED bulbs?
  6. How Can I Save on Heating Oil Costs?
  7. Is Generic Just as Good as Name Brand?
  8. Does Reversing a Ceiling Fan Actually Work?
  9. How Do I Find the Cheapest Electrical Supplier?
  10. How Much Will A Smart Thermostat Save Me?

List of 10 Ways to Save Money at Home:

Saving money at home doesn’t always have to be about making those dreadful frugal choices. Instead, try some simple proven home-tips that could end up saving you over $1,000 per year. And what’s even better is that most of these tips are completely feasible for the average homeowner to implement!

1. Does Changing My Air Conditioner Filter Make a Difference?

Homes that use a forced-air heating/cooling method actually force air over a set of coils that are either hot or cold and deliver it through ductwork to different rooms in your house.

Because the constant movement of air tends to circulate dust and particles as well, there is a filter installed in the system. It protects both the equipment from dust build-up and more importantly your lungs from inhaling the particles.

After about a month or two of circulating air inside your home, these filters start to clog with dust and debris. At his point, the HVAC unit must work harder to maintain the temperature in the house, either hot or cold, due to the reduced air-flow capacity.Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.Energy.govTweet

This efficiency increase could save the homeowner anywhere from $10-30 per month. Filter price varies greatly depending on the brand and if they are bought in bulk. 

Regular filter changes are a way to come out on top by not only saving money at home but also improving the air-quality of it as well!

2. Food Waste In America

It might shock you to hear the average American wastes up to 238 lbs of food each year! This amounts to almost $1800 per year in food wasted.

Foodprint.org states that consumers are the leading cause of food waste, ahead of grocery stores, restaurants, and others.In terms of total mass, fresh fruits and vegetables account for the largest losses at the consumer level (19 percent of fruits and 22 percent of vegetables), followed by dairy (20 percent), meat (21 percent) and seafood (31 percent).Foodprint.orgTweet

I’ll be the first to admit, I am guilty of the above statistics. After seeing how much wasted food costs add up, I will be attempting to change my habits.

A good starting point to remedy your waste problems: 15 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Cooking Sustainably.

I found the Foodprint.org website extremely helpful for ideas!

3. How Much Do Water Leaks Cost?

The EPA states that nearly 10% of US homes have leaks that waste up to 90 gallons of water per day! Crazy, right?

With the average household wasting upwards of 10,000 gallons of water per year as reported by the EPA, these numbers start to cost the homeowner.

A good tip given by the EPA was to record your water meter at a time of no usage. Next, record the meter again two hours later. If the meter has moved in that period, you have water leaks that need to be addressed.

The Arizona Municipal Water User’s Association has a great Water Guide to help you understand and stop your water waste in order to save you money at home.

Average water costs range around $1.50 per 1000 gallons. If you are a household that wastes up to 90 gallons a day, that could amount to $50 in savings per year.

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but all these categories add up to save you money at home! Plus, it gives you the satisfaction of being a good person by saving the planet!

4. Does Turning Your Hot Water Heater Down Save You Money?

It sure does! I know you love hot showers, but a small drop in temperature will probably not be noticeable. All hot water heaters use a thermostat to regulate temperature.

This thermostat can be set to maintain a wide range of temperatures. Every 10 degrees of temperature reduction can save between 3-5% of that $781 dollar water heater bill!
An average water heater runs three hours daily. A 50-gallon, 5,500-watt water heater with a .90 EF and an electricity rate of $.16 per kilowatt hour will cost $781 to operate each year. Most water heaters include a label listing the annual operating cost.Jessica Lietz writing for SFGateTweet

Energy.gov gives you a great 15 Ways to Save on Your Water Heating Bill. The article is from 2009, but still extremely relevant.

*There are a few things to be mindful of with regards to the setting. Turning down the temperature too low can lead to an increased chance of bacteria growth and also an inefficiency of appliances. Consult a professional if you are not quite sure.

5. Is it worth switching to LED bulbs?

Theres no arguing this one either. LED lighting conversions will definitely save you money at home!

Dengarden.com does a pretty in-depth review of the cost comparisons between LEDs versus incandescents, fluorescents, and other lighting options.

It’s really eye-opening how much converting to LEDs can save money at home!A typical LED light bulb will save you between $3-$5 per year compared to an incandescent bulb. Whilst this may not sound like a considerable amount, when you multiply this over the 20-40 lights bulbs typically found in an American home, you can potentially save $100 per year on your electricity.David Willis from LED Light GuidesTweet

The up-front bulb costs are going to be higher for LEDs, but don’t let this scare you away. LED bulbs last up to 50 times longer than an incandescent bulb and will save you money for its entire life.

6. How Can I Save on Heating Oil Costs?

Many think they are at the mercy of current heating oil prices when it comes time to refill your tank. If you plan accordingly, you don’t have to be one of these people.

There are quite a few ways to save on heating oil prices.

  1. Buy when prices are low: Heating oil prices tend to fluctuate throughout the year. Prices can go up and down due to demand or even from world events. Prices tend to rise in winter months due to higher demand. Filling up during periods of summer or when the price per gallon is lower can save you money at home. Pre-paying at a fixed rate is another way to save you money.
  2. Start or Join a fuel Co-Op: Gather neighbors or businesses together and approach fuel suppliers with a Co-Op delivery. They can sometimes offer great discounts on bulk supply heating oil. Some of these discounts can approach $0.40 per gallon. For those with larger tanks, this can be huge.
  3. Discount Codes: By not waiting until you are on a low-level threshold, you can synch your purchase with fuel supplier discounts. Discounts are normally offered at different times throughout the year. Unfortunately, these discounts never seem to show up in the dead of winter when people are desperate for heating oil. Coincidence, I think not.

7. Is Generic Just as Good as Name Brand?

In a lot of cases, buying the generic brand is going to save you significantly. Industries that are governed by regulating bodies do you a favor by leveling the standards on products.

This makes most generic brands on par with name brand items. Why are generic brands so much cheaper? It boils down to a marketing campaign which costs companies money.

In order to get some of that advertisement money back, name-brand products mark up their price.

Ashley Moor, a writer at Bestlifeonline.com, gives you 20 Products You Should Always Buy Generic. A little preview shows OTC medication, cleaning products, and spices rounding out the list.

Dave Ramsey also has a great article with a price comparison of recipe costs made with and without brand-name items. Spoiler alert, the costs start to add up!

Buying generic on home essentials will start to save you money at home immediately, so get shopping!

8. Does Reversing a Ceiling Fan Actually Work?

Ever notice the small switch located on the ceiling fan itself? It’s a rotation reverse switch! Why should you care?

Because that small little switch can save you money on heating and cooling costs. 

In summer, the fan should be rotating counter-clockwise in order to push air down on to you. The simple flow of air will cause a feeling of coolness due to the effect of evaporation on your skin.

In the winter, set the fan on its slowest speed in a clockwise direction. This pulls the cooler air in the lower portion of the room upwards, which will then circulate the warmer air down toward you.

Confused, Home Depot has a great explanation of how ceiling fans should be set, especially in different rooms throughout the house. 

I almost forgot. How does reversing a ceiling fan save you money at home? It allows you to adjust your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter months and a few degrees warmer in the summer months without noticing any discomfort.

Your furnace and air conditioner will not have to work as hard, therefore saving you money on heating oil and electricity.

Kind of cool right? No pun intended, okay yes, it was. (That was lame, I know!)

9. How Do I Find the Cheapest Electrical Supplier?

If you live in a state or area that offers “Choice” electricity, you are not stuck with one company who supplies electricity to your area. This means you can shop around to get the best rate.

Electricity is sold in cents per kilowatt-hr. Shopping around to get a small couple-cent discount could save you money at home on electricity bills throughout the year.

Shopping for the best rate may not be as easy as it seems though. Introductory offers and other incentives attract customers with enticing deals. Once the initial contract runs out, the prices can increase dramatically.

HouseLogic.com has a great read for switching electrical suppliers. Their article, Should You Switch Electricity Suppliers? is a must for a quick reference on what to ask electrical suppliers before switching! 

The average US household uses 10,972 kWh of electricity each year as of 2018. The average price of electricity in 2020 is approximately $0.133 per kWh.

A $0.02 reduction in electricity price can save a home owner $200 per year! Shocking, right? I did it again with that pun nonsense!

10. How Much Will A Smart Thermostat Save Me?

Smart Thermostats should be on your shortlist for ways to save money at home. With heating and cooling costs making up a good percentage of your monthly home bills, these devices are a great place to start.

Last time I checked, Smart Thermostats ranged from about $75-$250 for some of the better choices out there. I know this article is about saving money, but sometimes you have to spend to save!

Nest Labs did a study on their Google Nest Learning Thermostat finding that their product was giving home owners an average of 10-12% savings on heating! And up to 15% savings on cooling throughout the year!

By taking average kWh electricity costs from the United States, a tremendous amount of savings was found. Nearly $130 per year on heating and approximately $240 per year on cooling were achieved by the Smart Thermostat.

These numbers start to add up! Basically one year of saving will have paid for your device. Plus you get to play around with your cool new adult gadget!

Summary

Some of these modest changes to your home may not seem like a lot of savings at first glance. However, once we start to add them up, the value of the savings becomes significant.

Start small and shoot for a couple of these changes per year. By the time all the improvements are implemented, you will be saving money at home in excess of $1,000 per year!

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