Check out our Recessionista-on-Chief offering financial tips around the house to save on insurance! You don’t need us to tell you how important insurance is during this recession; when life is precarious, you want to know you’re in good hands.
1. Energy efficient lightbulbs. Fluorescent lights might remind you of the doctor’s office, but if you buy the right wattage they can actually throw some nice light and save you money. While traditional light bulbs waste nearly 98% of their energy usage as heat, energy efficient light bulbs are designed to do the opposite; they use a higher portion of their energy to make light. Do the math: more light – less energy = huge savings on your energy bill. In fact, according to MSN, the average household spends around $264 per year on electricity for lighting, and you can save around $200 annually just by switching over to energy-efficient lightbulbs. Many home insurance companies offer deductions for energy efficient light bulb use, and you can even deduct up to $500 toward making the move to energy efficient light bulbs from your tax return.
2. Energy Star savings. That “Energy Star” label on your new fridge isn’t just saving you money; on average it will use less than half the energy of a model that’s 12 years or older. Not only will you save even more energy on that energy bill, but you’re also saving water—and the environment—at the same time. Make sure that you get the right size for your needs so that you’re not wasting energy and water (for example, a family-sized dishwasher probably isn’t necessary for your studio apartment), and remember that natural gas is almost always cheaper and cleaner than electric. You’re going to pay a bit more up front for energy efficient appliances, but you’ll be saving major dough in the long run!
3. Programmable thermostat. Got a screwdriver and 5-10 minutes of free time? Upgrade your regular thermostat to a programmable one and save on heating and cooling throughout the year. According to Consumer Reports, programmable thermostats can trim about $180 a year from your energy bill by automatically reducing your heating or cooling when you need it least. After all, why pay for something when you’re not using it? Most models let you program different settings for each day, so depending on when you are going to be in the house, when the kids are home, when you’re going on vacation, etc. you can control the temp to be comfy (and cost efficient) for every occasion.