How Much Do You Pay For Electricity? Ways To Minimize Your Electric Bill

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-08-086

Utility bills can really add up. And when they do, we sit back and stew over how much the cost of living is rising each year and how big a pain it is to be paying yet another bill. But in reality, we need to think about making changes ourselves. With your thinking cap on, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you can shave off your electricity bill. One way we’ve lowered our utility bills is by replacing our appliances with those with the Energy Star label. I’m happy to say that in my 5 person household, we’ve been able to truly optimize our electric bills, even given the number of items we’ve got at home that consume power.

Electric usage is something most of us don’t bother thinking about half the time. It might seem like an impossible task to save on power and utility consumption at all, but in reality, you may actually rack on the savings by being more aware of how your house is using electricity.

Here are a few simple tricks on how to gain control over your electric bills.

1. Use this handy estimator to get some idea of how much the average household spends on electricity, and how much you could potentially spend on your bill (with estimates based on average numbers). This way, you could get some visibility on expected numbers and work towards improving your current figures.

2. Think in terms of small savings. Don’t be daunted by the idea of shaving a large amount off your bill. If you make a lot of small changes on a regular basis, they will all add up to the big difference you are hoping to see.

3. Take it room by room. Ask yourself how you can optimize the electricity usage per room. Doing it this way makes the task less formidable. For example, a home office usually contains a lot of computer equipment. Could you buy a special plug or adapter that switches off all your computer equipment and peripherals when you turn off the main computer? There are a good number of energy saving products like these that are available.

4. Think about gradually replacing all your old light bulbs. There are energy saving bulbs that last longer and use a fraction of the juice that the older products did. It doesn’t make sense to ditch bulbs that are perfectly okay, but when they go bad, see if you can replace them with an energy saving model.

5. Think about switching off more often. You might switch the TV off with the remote but unless you switch it off at the plug too, it will still be using electricity. This is something to keep track of, especially if you are going to leave your home for extended periods of time. Remember to completely unplug anything that you aren’t going to be using for a while.

6. Think about investing in eco-friendly, energy-efficient gadgets. There are countless types that are available these days, and more than a few of them are possibly worth a close look. For instance, eco kettles use less electricity and boil fluids even faster than their older counterparts. You can check them out at You will need to invest some cash up front in order to pick up these items, but you will also be able to benefit from the savings you’ll get afterwards.

7. Finally, think about getting a home energy or electricity monitor that shows you how much electricity you are actually using. If you install or begin using it before you start making all these changes, you’ll be able to see just how much electricity –- and cash –- you are saving as you adapt the changes. This will spur you on and inspire you to find new ways of using less electricity. These monitors simply plug into a wall socket and tell you what your usage is. They’re simple to use and they act as a great visual deterrent against the temptation of falling back onto old habits.

Created April 29, 2007. Updated August 8, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John April 27, 2009 at 4:08 am

Everyone is looking at saving money at the moment esp. on home bills.

Susan Shaw August 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

These ideas are very practical and I try to keep some of these in mind when I’m at home. I also believe it’s not just about saving money here, but also about trying to be kind to the environment. By conserving energy, we are conserving resources, which can only be good for Mother Earth.

Get Out of Debt Guy August 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Look for a device called TED, The Energy Detective. It’s a great tool for measuring home energy consumption and then cut back because of awareness of what you are using that day.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 9, 2011 at 6:08 pm

@Get Out of Debt Guy,
Thanks for the tip! It’s something we’re on the lookout for ourselves as we’re looking for a more formal way of tracking our energy usage.

Kosmo August 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

“It doesn’t make sense to ditch bulbs that are perfectly okay, but when they go bad, see if you can replace them with an energy saving model.”

From a pure dollars and sense perspective, it CAN make sense to ditch bulbs that are perfectly OK.

Let’s assume that you installed a brand new incandescent 60w bulb five minutes ago. Over its rated life span of 1000 hours, it will use 60 kilowatt-hours of electricity. At a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, this comes to a total cost of $6.

If you replace it with a CFB of comparable lumens, this would be a 13 watt bulb. Over that same 1000 hours, it consumes 13 kilowatt-hours, costing $1.30.

The cost difference is $4.70. If the CFB costs you less than $4.70, you come out ahead (and I’m seeing an 8 pack on Amazon for $6.99 right now).

And as a bonus … you’ve only consumed a fraction of the life of the CFB.

(I realize that CFB is becoming “old school” and that LED is all the rage, but I simply don’t have experience with LED bulbs).

Mike August 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Get an electric water heater. It pays itself back fast!

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