1. Go Window Shopping
When the weather hits over 90 degrees and it’s too hot to be outdoors, leave your credit card at home and head to an air-conditioned mall. After a few laps around the perimeter, you’ll have gotten some exercise while catching up on the latest fashions.
2. Get Out of the House
Turn off the air conditioning, the TV and all those electricity hogs and enjoy some time in the great outdoors. If your kids spend their summer vacations playing video games, they’re sucking up a lot of energy without expending any of their own. Sign them up for sports leagues, summer camps and other activities outside the home. While you may have to pay a registration fee, you can still save on equipment by using Target and Sports Authority discount gift cards ordered from such sites as GiftCardGranny.com.
3. Turn Off Power Strips
Even if you’ve turned off the television, computer and other power vampires, those power strips are still sucking you dry. The same goes for rechargers, which may seem benign when not hooked up to your cell phone. The fact is, they’re still drawing electricity when not in use, so flip that switch. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the standby power of unused appliances usually accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential electricity costs.
4. Power Down Computers
Running a computer and monitor 24/7 uses about 1,100 kilowatt hours annually, or roughly $100 a year. Save 60 percent to 80 percent by putting your computer in power-saving mode or turning it off completely.
5. Use Powerless Cleaning Appliances
Use an old-fashioned can opener instead of that space-hogging electrical opener to reduce kilowatt usage. Clean rugs with a carpet sweeper instead of a vacuum. (You can find these old-fashioned cleaners at a surprising number of garage sales.) Dry laundry on a clothes line or rack instead of a power-hungry dryer. (Washers and dryers are 19 percent of your energy bill.) In general, consider how you can replace miniature power users with powerless appliances.
6. Shut the Curtains
Turn off or turn down an air conditioner by keeping windows covered during the day. You’ll minimize sun exposure while maximizing the cooler night air.
7. Wash Dishes in Batches
It may seem hand-washing dishes would reduce both your water and electrical bill, but Energy Star appliances are actually much better for your family finances. The original investment, however, is terribly high. As a simple fix, wait until the dishwasher is completely full before running it. Avoid filling the machine with over-sized pots and pans as they’re cheaper to wash by hand. Keep in mind that dishwashers compose 2 percent of your electrical bill.
8. Lower the Lighting Bill
You’ve heard lots of talk about CFL light bulbs and there’s a reason why. CFLs are cheaper to run, generate less heat and last ...