Guys, I am a Southern Belle. I don’t sweat. I wilt like a prize flower. I hate the heat. I really do, but I hate having an empty checking account even more. Balancing the two can really be a pain. However there are so many things you can do to lower your energy bills without wilting.
First, I would like to say that I do not employ all of these. I just don’t have the ability. Anyway, on to the substance!
Seriously, guys, I cannot stress this enough. Drinking plenty of water, gatorade, coconut water, whatever you drink, is going to allow your body to keep a cool temperature better and will let you whether the summer with your house temperature just a little higher. This is practically free, and I really, really can’t emphasize this enough.
Of course dressing cool will help keep you cool. Shorts, thin fabrics, short sleeves, etc. Keep your hair off your shoulders. Wear cotton and other breathable fabrics.
Each energy company is going to charge more during the hottest part of the day. Turn off your air conditioner so that you don’t have to pay those prices. Turn on fans instead. I will often run errands during this time like going to the grocery or whatever so I can use their AC.
Keep your thermostat set at a slightly higher temperature. Setting it to 76 or 78 ℉ will drastically reduce how hard your AC must work and your bill.
This is a technique for running your AC over a 24 hour cycle. Set it very low at night (Like 67 or 68 ℉) so that it can cool the house easily when the sun is absent, then set it higher during the middle of day as outside temperatures start to rise and enjoy the cold air trapped from the night/morning. A programmable thermostat makes this so easy! Set it and forget it!
Newer ACs are quite expensive but are also very energy efficient and updating is a great way to save money in the long run. Additionally, this investment will add value to your home.
Solar is becoming cheaper every day. You don’t have to go completely off grid. Getting a few panels installed will drastically save on your bills.
Fans use much less electricity than an AC so running several of them costs less and helps circulate the air to keep you cool! I recommend ceiling fans since my kids stick their fingers in floor fans.
For those that want to make their fans work harder without using more electricity, set up buckets of ice right in front of the fan so the fans blow straight over the ice. This circulates the cold air coming off the fans.
You can now buy timers for your thermostat, hot water heater, etc that will turn off the appliance during peak hours, after a certain amount of time or whenever you set it.
Vents and doors
Close the vents and doors to any room that you will not be using. This directs all the air into the rooms you are using and reducing the volume that your AC must cool down.
Close the blinds and use blackout curtains. The sun shining through the windows is going to drastically heat your home.
Cut bubble wrap to fit your window. Spray your window liberally with water, stick the bubble wrap to the window. The water and air in the pockets of the bubble wrap will absorb the heat from the sun instead of it heating your home. I have seen people put a piece of cardboard covered in fabric behind the wrap so that the window looks nice.
Dry your clothes outside if possible. The dryer makes a lot of heat and uses quite a bit of electricity. (Again, I run my dryer all the time. I don’t have the ability to dry things outside.)
Check your windows and doors for drafts. Many energy companies do energy audits where a technician will come to your home and show you where you can improve your insulation or what updates you can do that will save you money in the long run. If you know you have drafts spray some insulation foam there. It may not be a pretty fix, but the savings will be well worth it. I know we have drafts through our electrical sockets so we plug those with the baby safety plugs!
Turning off appliances like the air conditioner when you’re out is a perfect way of saving money. You won’t be there to enjoy it so why run it? (I would like to add an author’s note that we do not do this because we have a very furry dog that needs the AC while we are gone).
I have even heard of people turning off the electricity at the breaker to save money while they are gone so they don’t pay for electricity at while they are out. Practically, it is probably easier to plug most appliances into a power strip and cut of the power strip.
It’s obvious that cooking creates a lot of heat, so don’t cook or bake during the hottest part of the day. Use a crockpot, microwave, grill, instapot or just eat food that doesn’t require heating.
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I would like to outline some important core values that drive our financial life as a big family.These ideals drive us to keep our purchases simple and frugal, but still allow us to have fun. I doubt these are universal, but each can be adapted to every family.
People before things — This means that the people always take precedence before wants. For example, instead of using all the money set aside for my birthday to buy something frivolous, I choose to split it up and buy/do something small for myself and spend the rest celebrating with my family.
Every penny is an investment — Looking at our finances this way helps us remember the purpose of spending money and separate needs from wants. Whenever I am buying toys, I ask myself whether the investment will generate an equal or more valuable return. I know that single purpose toys like a bear that lights up and makes noise will become boring much faster than blocks or LEGOs. This is why we use cloth diapers. I can’t bear buying something expensive like diapers just to throw it away.
Buy used and save the difference especially kid’s clothes and shoes— They go through them so fast buying new just doesn’t make sense to me. I am grateful for those who do buy new so I can buy them used. I also only shop for kid’s clothes 2x a year so the budget doesn’t get away from me. Our area has a consignment sale 2x a year called Rhea Lana’s (Duck Duck Goose is another) where local families consign. I get shoes on the first public day so they don’t get picked over but only buy clothes on the half price day. I spent just $350 to complete our 4 kid’s handmedown winter wardrobes last August!
Know where your money is going — keeping a detailed record ensures you control your money and not your impulses. I have thought about doing a Record Your Spending Challenge? Please leave me a comment to let me know if there is interest in one!
Make it, Make do, or Do without— this is a rule we use somewhat sparingly. I almost always freeze my own calzones (hot pockets), pancakes, biscuits, etc. My girls have worn their brother’s jackets and vice versa to keep from buying new ones (after all it’s the function that’s important). My husband and I shared 1 vehicle for years. We have only gotten a second one recently because don’t fit in one car anymore!
Money is time and effort, often spent away from family— A job is selling your time and effort. A lucky few get to work at home, but most have to go away from their families. I would much rather my husband use our time and effort to build up our family than some other’s business.
Do your core money values differ from ours? I would love to read yours in the comments.
A big portion of my financial principals come from the book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robinson and Joe Domingo. Read my review!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.