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Stop Sweating Your Next Utility Bill

Red SHOES Financial Wellness Program

Fourteen tips to cool things down

Remember when it seemed like we only had 90+ degree days in August? Considering how many we already had in JUNE, you might be a little nervous about getting through the rest of this summer with your utility budget intact.

Here are some tips that can help lower your bill without turning your family into a sweaty puddle.

  1. Get an AC tune-up. If you haven’t already done this, call your service resource pronto. They’ll make sure your system is running as efficiently — read CHEAPLY — as possible.
  2. Get on an average billing plan. This tip won’t lower your bill, but you’ll know exactly what you need to budget for each month.
  3. Schedule an energy audit. Many utility companies have free or very inexpensive audit programs to uncover problem areas in your home.
  4. Set the AC temperature a few degrees higher. Sure, 68 degrees is delightfully cool, but it’s also expensive. Nudge your thermostat up a few degrees and see what you can tolerate. Even a couple degrees can save you money.
  5. Get a programmable thermostat. This makes it easy to manage temps throughout the day. Try setting your thermostat in the high 70s while you’re out, then turning the temp down once you’re home. Your AC won’t have to go into overdrive to cool a day’s worth of heat, but won’t be running as hard throughout the day.
  6. Open your windows. The experts at Popular Mechanics recommend opening the lowest window on the coolest side of your house and the highest windows. Hot air will go out the top window and create a vacuum that pulls cool air from the first floor.1
  7. Use fans. Ever notice how airflow can make you feel cooler? Consider adding a ceiling fan and, if it’s not too hot and humid, put fans in your windows, especially at night. You’ll be amazed at how much more comfortable you are.
  8. Stop cooking. (Is this your favorite tip yet?) Use the grill or, better yet, find recipes that require little to no cooking — like using great farmer’s market produce that doesn’t need much prep. Don’t rely too heavily on take-out or you’ll cancel out anything you’re saving on utilities.
  9. Stay in the dark. Keep the shades down and invest in better shades that really keep out the light. Consider adding outdoor features like awnings and greenery to keep your house cooler.
  10. Close your vents. Have a room or area you’re not using? Close the vents and the doors to that space.
  11. Stay downstairs. Your basement and your first floor will be much cooler than your upstairs. And, hey, that couch could be more (or less!) comfortable to sleep on than you think.
  12. Get a clothesline. Does anything smell better than sheets that have dried out in the fresh air? You’ll save energy and keep your house cooler to boot.
  13. Rediscover the joy of popsicles. Go ahead, try it!  
  14. Sign up for renewable energy. Ok, this one won’t lower your expenses, but it will make you feel good. Many utility companies have this option for part, or all, of your bill.

Don’t sweat your utility bill! Own your summer with these great tips.

Smart money tips brought to you by Red SHOES, Summit’s exclusive financial wellness program.