12 Ways to Reduce Your Utility Bill

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With warmer weather just around the corner, utilities often increase significantly as air conditioners and fans starts running almost constantly. However, you don’t need to let your bills increase just because the temperature is. In fact, whether it’s summer or winter, here are twelve great ways to reduce your utility bill.

The first thing you’ll want to do is check all your doors and windows for leaks or cracks. You’d be surprised at how much a small leak can increase your utility bill! If needed, replace the whole door or window frame, but usually it’s a small fix that doesn’t take much time or money.

Speaking of windows, a great way to heat or cool your home is by smartly using the blinds and curtains. During summer, it might be tempting to let the sunshine in, but you’re also letting in heat, which makes your AC have to work harder. So, when possible, keep the blinds and curtains closed during the summer and open during winter.

There is one caveat to this, though. If you get a nice cross breeze in your home, then you can keep the blinds AND windows open during the summer. This can significantly cool down your home without using a lick of AC! However, you won’t be able to do this every day if you live in a place that gets pretty hot.

If you don’t cook at home or only cook for a few people, then consider investing in a toaster oven. It’s smaller than your regular oven, meaning it takes less time, energy, and money to heat up! A meal or dish for two or three people can easily fit inside a normal toaster oven, saving you lots of money in the long run.

If you’re a people person, then you can also call up your utility company and ask if they have any discounts or alternative plans that you can try to save money. Most companies actually have a few plans you can choose from that help you customize your utility usage to your best advantage. At worst, you get a no, at best you can save hundreds.

If you haven’t already, buy energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. You can wait until your light bulbs burn out or the appliances wear down if you want, but replacing them with energy efficient ones will drastically reduce your utility bill.

Somewhat along those same lines, consider investing in solar power (especially if you live in a hot and sunny place). It might cost a bit upfront, but most solar power systems pay for themselves in under five years! You’ll be saving money and saving the planet, all at once!

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Whenever possible, use cold water for cooking and washing things. If you use hot water, it’s going to be more expensive (because it has to be heated), but you sometimes need hot water (like washing some dirty dishes). If you get into this habit, then you can see quite a few dollars shaved off your utility bill.

Some jobs and companies actually give you a discount on certain utilities if you work for them. Not a lot do this, but you can also check with your employer to see if they offer any kind of discount, even if it’s a small one.

A super easy way to increase the efficiency of your air system while decreasing your utility bill is by replacing any air filters. If the filter is clogged and dirty, the air conditioner or heater will have to work harder to pump cold or hot air in. Not only that, but the dirt gets spread around your home. Change the filter and breathe a little easier (literally and financially!).

I don’t know about you guys, but I used to leave a lot of my things plugged in, just because it was more convenient. However, I learned that that’s not only bad for the environment, it’s also bad for my wallet! Get rid of “phantom power” by unplugging any cords or appliances that aren’t in use. That way, they aren’t using energy when not in use because they aren’t plugged in.

Another great way to decrease your utility bill is by buying a programmable and/or smart thermostat. There are tons of different brands and kinds, but you can get them for as cheap as $20. These thermostats respond to the temperature of your house, adjusting it when necessary. You can also program some from your phone, making managing the temperature that much easier.

12 Expenses You Should Never Put on a Credit Card

Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you should use it to pay for everything. While credit cards give some awesome perks and benefits when you use them, not all expenses should go on them. Here are just 12 expenses to avoid putting on your credit card.

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Due to crazy convenience and service fees, putting taxes on your credit card are a no-no. For those big tax bills that you weren’t expecting, putting them on the credit card may seem like the right idea, but it’s not. Do your best to pay this debt in cash or by debit card/check so you don’t get additional fees.

No matter how tempting it is, don’t put your wedding or honeymoon expenses on a credit card. This will only make starting married life more stressful when you start your marriage off with a huge pile of debt. Only put expenses on your card that can be paid off within the month.

Mortgages can be hefty, which sometimes makes us want to put them on the credit card so we don’t have to deal with them immediately, However, this is bad, especially if the mortgage is above what you can pay each month. You’ll accrue tons of interest that will severely lower your credit score.

Bail bonds or anything else that is considered a cash advance is a huge thing you should avoid putting on your credit card. Whenever you do a cash advance with a credit card, you’re often charged a 3% (or more) service fee, which adds up quickly.

School costs are so expensive nowadays, but you shouldn’t put them on your credit card. Try your best to get government assistance, scholarships, or student loans. Putting tuition costs on your credit card will only hurt you financially in the long run.

Virtual currency like Bitcoin are a really bad expense to put on your credit card. There are numerous reasons for this, but the main one is that virtual currency transactions aren’t always the most trust-worthy. Lots of people have their hands in on virtual transactions, meaning you have more of a chance of credit card fraud occurring.

Although medical bills can often be big and expensive, avoid putting them on your credit card. Instead, talk to the doctor or hospital to try to figure out a payment plan. These charges usually last a long time and, if they’re on your credit card, you’ll accrue lots of interest against yourself.

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Don’t put any kind of down payment on your credit card. If you don’t have the cash to pay a down payment, then you’ll probably never be able to actually repay the whole loan. This is a red flag and means the loan is going to be a burden for a long time.

While it may be more convenient, putting gambling expenses on a credit card is a terrible idea. It’s super easy to lose track of how much money you’ve spent when you’re using a credit card and it’s easy to get out of control with “just one more go.”

If you’re starting up a business, put as few of the expenses on your credit card as possible. If you go into business with a bad credit score or tons of debt and loans, it’s going to be really hard to pay those things off or be taken seriously by potential investors.

Don’t put trip expenses on a credit card unless you have great self-control or have a large cash backup to pay off the charges within the month. It’s just too easy to spend way too much money when you’re putting everything on your credit card on vacation.

Don’t buy an automobile on your credit card. Most dealers don’t even do this and, if they do, they’ll put all of the fees and charges on you, which means the price of your car will increase drastically. Not only that, but these payments are hard to pay off every month and you can often max out your credit card, which lowers your credit score significantly.