11 Genius Ways to Save on Every Household Bill

Water bills, energy bills, cell-phone bills—oh my! Here’s how to cut costs on each and every one.

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Cut overall energy costs

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Ask your utility company for a free energy audit. A representative will come to your house and explain what you need to do to make your home more energy efficient. You can save $100 per year by sealing leaks in windows and doors and insulating ducts—all of which your energy audit will highlight. Here are more easy tricks to cut your energy bill.

Save water: Look to your toilet

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Keep a pitcher or bottle of water in the refrigerator so you’ll always have cold water on hand. No more running the tap to get water that’s cold enough to drink—and no more money down the drain. Additionally, inspect appliances such as toilets, faucets, and dishwashers for leaks and drips on a regular basis. To be even more water-conscious, add aerators to your faucets. These frugal attachments reduce the amount of water that comes through the faucet head and increase water pressure. You increase performance and save money. Good news: Here are plenty of reasons you should shower less often.

Cut your water bill

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A leaky toilet could cost you up to 200 gallons of water a day. To see if yours is a problem, try this: Add a drop of food coloring to the toilet tank. Wait a few minutes, then check to see if the color has shown up in the toilet bowl. If it has, you have a leak. To save even more on water in the bathroom, put a plastic bottle filled with water on the floor of the tank. Because the tank will require less water to fill, you’ll save money on your bill every time you flush. (Don’t do this is you have a high-efficiency toilet.)

Cut down on heating costs

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The Alliance to Save Energy says that you can subtract about 5 percent from your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat during the winter. Additionally, switch to a programmable thermostat. If you invest $70 in an Energy Star programmable thermostat, you’ll save more than twice that in the first year alone. This is what else savvy homeowners do to cut heating costs.

Cut your cell phone bill

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The average cell phone user faces a $60 bill each month, including taxes and miscellaneous fees. If you talk less than 200 minutes a month, you may be better off using a pay-as-you-go plan (as long as it charges 25 cents a minute or less). You can easily save $45 a month with a prepaid plan. Similarly, don’t lock yourself into a multiyear contract. Buy your phone on an installment plan, and pay for it through monthly, no-interest payments over several years, advises Consumer Reports. Once your phone is paid off, your monthly bill could drop as much as $30—perfect for users who keep their phones for years on end.

Cut your energy bill by changing your chores

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Full loads of laundry and dishes result in maximum efficiency and help you avoid water waste. Clean appliances also cut costs; inspect your lint filter, air-conditioning, and heating-system filters monthly.

Save on credit card bills

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Lose the temptation to spend by locking away your credit cards. Don’t cancel them (it can hurt your credit score); instead, put them in a safe place, keeping only one in your wallet. These are surprising secrets your credit card company knows about you.

Save on electricity

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Wait until after dark to walk around your house (with a flashlight!) to see what is “glowing.” The results will amaze you: your power strips, your computers, your DVD player, your cable box, your microwave oven. Although you may not be actively using them, all of these items are perpetually  “on” and eating electricity, unless you pull the plugs when they’re not in use. Consider plugging appliances into a power strip, so you only have to pull one or two plugs before bed.

Make appliances use less energy

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If your freezer is empty, you can be sure that it’s working overtime to keep the space icy cold. Remedy this by filling it with a large stone, a bucket, a milk jug filled with water—anything that will take up space; the freezer won’t work as had and therefore will use less electricity.

Save on AC costs

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Team up your air conditioner with a ceiling fan to spread cool air throughout the room. Using both at the same time lets you raise the air conditioner temperature by five degrees, which in turn lowers your cooling costs. Aim the vents of your air conditioner at the ceiling, and let the cool air float down to you. You’ll get more bang for your buck by cooling the room from top to bottom, rather than in just one spot. Plus, you’ll have better air circulation as the cold air drifts down.

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