Welcome to another installment of ways you can save money around the house without dramatically changing your lifestyle. A little while back I discussed methods that could help you save hundreds of dollars at home by making energy improvements, buying groceries more strategically and reducing entertainment costs.
Here are three more ideas that I’ve tried in the last year. Give them a go and see how much money you can save each month.
Compare Your Utility Rates
In many areas of the world, like the U.S. and Canada, people can choose their energy providers. That means you have some control over what you pay and how much you save on electricity. Using a service like AlbertaEnergyProviders.com gives you the ability to compare the latest offers so you know who’s offering the best rates. For example, right now ENMAX Calgary rates are as low as 6.99 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
Switching to an electric provider with a lower kWh rate can help you save money every month without adjusting how much electricity you use.
Invest in Smart Home Systems
It’s only been a little more than a year since my first post on saving money around the house, but in that short time huge strides have been made in smart technology for the home. Right now companies are finding ways to sync everything in your home and connect it to your devices. This isn’t just about convenience – it can also help you lower utility costs and increase security.
Smart Thermostats – Google jumped on smart home technology early on by acquiring Nest Labs, the maker of the Nest Learning Thermostat. It’s the premiere smart thermostat that takes programmable heating and cooling to a whole new level. Nest can actually learn your preferences in a matter of days and make adjustments automatically. It also uses motion sensors to detect if people are at home.
Smart Lighting – Light bulbs are also becoming brighter (in the figurative sense). Companies like Phillips have been developing full lines of smart light bulbs that can be controlled with apps from anywhere, programmed to run on a schedule and dim even if there isn’t an actual control for it.
Smart Shades – Window shades may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to smart home systems, but they can be a good investment. Shades can help you save electricity year round by blocking sunlight or letting it in. It can also help control drafts that leak in around windows. Smart shades have small motors and controls in the base that can be controlled with an app and put on a seasonal schedule.
Smart Home Security Systems – Protection is priceless. But beyond that, a break-in can be a huge financial blow if your home is damaged and items are stolen. Enter smart home security systems. With a single hub and a ton of sensors you can monitor every entry and window in your home. The second a problem is detected you’ll get an alert on your smart phone. You can also add security cameras to most systems.
PLUS: having a home security system could reduce your monthly home insurance costs.
Turn Your Toilet Into a Low Flow Model
If you’re remodeling or your toilet just crapped out (pun intended), a low-flow model can save you money every time you flush. In some cities and states, there are even new regulations regarding toilet efficiency. But what if you don’t have money for a low flow toilet or the one you already have is still working fine? Then turn it into a low flow model!
Don’t worry, no real mechanical or plumbing know-how is needed.
Low flow toilets simply flush less water through the system each use. This is largely controlled by how much water there is in the tank. By displacing some of the water in the tank you’ll use less when you flush without affecting the performance. To displace the water simply put a displacement device (i.e. a plastic bottle filled with sand) in the tank where it won’t touch the flushing mechanisms.
The Sustainability of Semi-arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA) Research Institute has estimated that this will reduce water usage by about 13% a year. You can also buy cheap retrofit kits that convert your regular loo into a dual-flush toilet without any tools.
It’s little things like this that are relatively cheap that often make the biggest difference. You can save money month after month without even thinking about it.