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During the spring as flowers are blooming and the sun is warmer the landscape longer than usual, everyone takes notice of the outdoor activities that begins to warm your spirit. If you're like me, I take comfort in seeing people being active outdoors.
Activities such as kayaking, hiking, picnics, running trails, and taking long strolls in your local neighborhood sidewalks, delivers a peace of mind.
I remember last spring when I was establishing my quarterly budget looking for ways to save money and money saving tips I could find lying in a bill some where. I had built this budget to perfection...or so I though. My boastful pride was gleaning thinking I had a superior skill that couldn't be matched. Thank goodness for humble moments because I realized that I didn't account for the increase in prices adequately for the upcoming warmer months.
You may recall that summer months typically mean higher electrical bills. This is one reason why so many of us love to BBQ outside. It keeps the indoors cool, keeps the excessive heat outside, and you can enjoy a nice glass of lemonade.
What you may not realize is how and when electricity prices fluctuate. If you planned your usage accordingly, you could see savings in your budget. This is because electricity rates per kilowatt per hour (kWh) varies from day-to-day and sometimes hour-by-hour. Basically supply and demand.
"If you planned your usage accordingly,
you could see savings in your budget."
Your local electric company has what is called "Peak Capacity Charge". This increased rate is typically applied as an additional fee to your average charge per usage kWh.
In Texas, the typical summer months where we see such charges are from June to September. The normal average cost per kWh for residential neighborhoods is around 11 cents based on CPS Energy, our local electrical company.
With this normal average rate of $0.11 per kWh, you can expect an additional charge of $0.198, or basically two cents higher per kWh used during such peak times. I noticed this charge on my bill and it lead to my research on is it possible to lower my bill if I adjust my energy habits.
I know of course turning out lights when not being used, etc but I was really caught up in shifting main habits like rather than doing laundry during the mid-day when the children are napping to rather do it when they lay down for the night. Their bedtime is at 8 p.m.
Now, a neat trick...you know when the hottest parts of the day are going to be in your location and you know that your washer/dryer and AC use much of the electricity. If you do not, then just know these appliances run off of 220 volts which sucks out a lot of your energy which means it costs more. Most household appliances like your toaster, TV, or cell phone charger are 110 volts (cheaper).
Tip #1 SHIFT HEAVY VOLTAGE ITEM-USE TO EARLY OR LATER IN THE DAY
Wash and dry your clothes early in the morning or late in the evening, usually after 7pm or 8pm in most cities to avoid the peak capacity charge fee. After 7-8pm is when the peak hours end with most electrical utility companies. You can have savings immediately from $2-$10 but research your utility company to confirm their Peak Capacity Hours.
Also consider swapping your dryer duct with a new tube as ducts typically get clogged with dryer lint. Here is one for less than $7 to order from Amazon.
Tip #2 ESTABLISH THERMOSTAT TIMING
You may not like this and I'm with you on it but we need to adjust our thermostat when not at home. Adjust the thermostat for a few temperatures higher in the summer/colder in the winter when you will be at work or away from home such as during a vacation or a period of time when you're gone for more than a few hours.
One of my cheapest investments in accomplishing this was purchasing a Honeywell Smart Thermostat but a similar one is the Nest Learning Thermostat. It works well with Alexa and your wifi so you have absolute control of your thermostat needs.
There were moments on vacation when bad storms rolled through and I could adjust the thermostat based on the temperature outside. Coming home from vacation, if we were an hour from the house, I would set the thermostat so the house was cool by the time we arrived.
No longer do you need to lock it up with a plastic casing and keylock. The Nest Learning Thermostat is such a popular product because it recognizes your room's temperature habits and starts saving you money automatically. Check it out here for more in-depth information.
Tip #3 SWAP OUT YOUR LIGHT BULBS FOR CREE LED
Saving the best for last, or at least my favorite is changing my traditional light bulbs to LED. I have to admit and I recognize the bias, I was not a big fan of LED bulbs initially. I am very stringent on my lighting needs and have to be able to see well enough inside to read etc.
I wanted a bulb that was bright enough, yet saved me money. The brand I chose that fit every need and caused me to replaced every bulb in my house and outside my garage is the Cree Dimmable LED bulb. These are wink and Alexa compatible which means you can set the timers for each day of the week and how much energy it burns.
Also, I noticed the savings in my power bill within two months. That was reason enough for me to purchase more. With the wink app, I controlled the lighting percentage so in the early evening hours I made the porch brighter, but after bedtime, I would have the lights timed to burn at 35%. It is amazing technology and only the Cree bulbs met my expectations and were the best way to save money.
Take these three tips into consideration before you start your summer budgeting. These items above do have front-end expenses but you will start to see the savings in less than 60 days. My recommendation is to do this before July and August approach.
For other great money saving tips or if you are looking for how to save money, then check out our other blogs at DollarOtter.com.