Mar 9, 2010

Unnecessary Expenses: Part 4 (Merrick)

One of the ways I save money is by shaving costs off of necessary expenses. Remember, every saved penny adds up, so even if it’s a few dollars here and there, that will add up in the long run. In my opinion, this applies to your utility bills.

When Philip and I first got married, we went the entire winter without turning on the heat. We were poor after using nearly our entire savings on our condo’s down payment, so we cut costs where we could, and utilities was one of those areas. Every night when we came home from work, we’d put on our pajamas that included long socks, sweatshirts, and heavy blankets, and spend the evening keeping warm that way. Although I don’t know the exact amount, it saved us tons of money during that first winter.

We’ve softened since then and realized that there is frugality and then there is insanity. Also, I realize that people with young children probably shouldn’t keep the heater off when it’s 20 degrees outside. But in the winters after our first together, we’ve been careful and haven’t pushed the thermostat up as high as we want to. Just keeping a few degrees lower (or higher during the summer months) has saved us a significant amount of money because it’s shaving a few dollars off our bill every month.

By recognizing the yearly savings that come from small adjustments that we’ve talked about in Unnecessary Expenses Parts 1, 2, and 3, you begin thinking frugally. Suddenly you’ll begin to find all sorts of areas that you can trim your costs, and these will add up to big savings in the long run.


Melinda said...

I really like this suggestion! It took me awhile to adapt to a higher temp inside during the summer in Texas, but with ceiling fans moving the air we were able to settle at a nice 78 degrees inside. And we saved even more money by having a programmable thermostat! I wonder how I would do with a "real" are brave. :)

Packrat said...

When we lived in an apartment with baseboard heat, we could keep the heat turned down but not off. The kitchen sink plumbing was on an outside wall and the pipes would freeze. Neighbors above and on each side kept the rest of the apartment fairly warm, though.

Frozen pipes are a norm in this part of the country - even with the heat turn up. Luckily, our inside pipes didn't freeze this year, but the outside sewer line did - the first time in twenty plus years. This meant backed up sewage in the basement and an expensive plumber's visit.

Something else to put in your budget - emergency plumbing and cleaning. (No insurance coverage and the cost was less than the deductible would have been.)

Another way to save on utility bills is to have each room's climate thermostatically controlled. (Would need to compare installation costs vs. actual savings.)

Kimberly said...

Another good option is closing off vents to rooms that don't really need the heating or cooling. We did this in our last apartment to increase airflow (it had a terrible a/c system) and it ended up saving us money in the long run.