Tips to reduce your electricity, gas and water bills
Electricity bills have been skyrocketing. In winter, many people are afraid to turn on their heaters because the bills have been in the thousands. In both a house and a unit, my bills have been under $100 a month (usually closer to $60). This has been for the past few years here in Victoria. In Canberra is varied depending on the property (one was ok, the other a nightmare) and in Sydney I had 5 people in the house but we used the same electricity and water as the average single person home.
There are lots of things you can do to reduce your bills without feeling deprived. Time is important to me so I don’t want to do a heap of stuff to reduce costs, rather, I like to develop habits which become second nature and are easy.
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How to save money on Electricity And Gas
I’m going to combine these two because a lot of it is similar. Gas is cheaper, especially if you cook a lot or have heating. That said, a ducted gas heating system is a sure fire way ti send your bills skyhigh. Be smart about how you use your utilities and you can save thousands!
Unless you are hacking it, there aren’t a lot of options! Rent somewhere your bills are included, otherwise, you need to pay for it.
Make it cheaper
The most obvious one is to compare your electricity and/or company and make sure you are getting the best rate. Econnex is one company you can do a comparison with or you can use the government website here to compare electricity and gas. If you live in Victoria, compare here and you could be eligible for the $50 bonus. (Only available until December 31, 2018).
In this post, I share 17 tips to reduce your electricity and there are 19 tips to keep cool in summer here. Most of the things I do are simply habit such as dressing appropriately for the weather (as in, wear long sleeves and rug up in winter, dress down in summer instead of relying on heating or AC). Switch off everything not in use, get energy efficient appliances, go do stuff outside the house. For example, I typically work from the local library, on weekends we are out playing sports, travelling, going to the park etc instead of being at home. The less we are at home, the less we’re using electricity. (It’s not the reason we have active lifestyles, but low bills have been an added bonus of our lifestyle choices).
Pay your bills on time! Most companies give a pay on time discount now, plus you don’t want to get hit with late payment fees. For my bills, I have a bill account, an amount goes in there each pay then my bills are paid by direct debit a few days before they are due.
How to save money with water
Reduce reuse recycle! Having grown up with various droughts, living places where we relied on tank water and simply having it drummed into me, water is precious! Do what you can to save it.
Have a timer for your showers. Divert water from your washing machine to your lawn. Use water efficient settings on your washing machine and dishwasher. Clean all the filters to ensure they run properly. Think about how you use your water and what other ways it can be used. E.g can the bath water be diverted to the garden, or used to mop the floor/soak stained clothes etc? Use water from boiling veggies to cook pasta or as stock for soup.
Collect rainwater either with a tank or a few buckets. If you do have buckets to collect water and use on the garden, use it soon after collecting it otherwise you will have a mosquito breeding ground!
How to make money with bills
Other than rebates, sign up bonuses and solar, there aren’t a lot of ways to make money from your electricity/gas or water. If you have a home office though you can potentially claim some of these expenses on tax.
Examples from my life
My bills are low out of habit. I don’t go out of my way to do much and many things such as switching off power points are simply second nature.
That said, when I was young, pregnant and broke, I was super vigilant about it all. Bath water was reused in multiple ways, showering I turned off the water after getting wet. I’d then soap up, turn it back on to rinse etc. While it meant our bill for 5 people living in the house was lower than a single person home, it was a lot of effort for very little return. We couldn’t have afforded much more though.
Now, if something can be done with essentially no effort e.g. diverting the water from the washing machine to the lawn or using vent covers to stop heating rooms we don’t need heated, I’ll do it. If it requires me to do much more than that and take away my time, I don’t do it. For me, time is precious and I found when I was completely focused on doing everything I could to cut back, I had this scarcity mentality and it stressed me out.
Learning to develop good habits, prioritise my time and be open to managing my money better while looking for ways to increase my income has been so much better. I am still frugal by nature, but no longer doing absolutely every little thing I could to reduce expenses.
How do you save money with your electricity, gas and water bills?