Everyone is looking for money saving tips, but before you can save money, you have to know how much you're spending. That's an obvious maxim for establishing your household budget, but in the case of household utilities, we rarely have the complete picture of where our money goes.
Start with a Home Energy Audit
It doesn't have to be this way if you start with a home energy audit. Many power companies offer free home energy audits or free online energy checkups to better understand your energy use and find new ways to save money. And with the typical single family home's annual energy bill being $2,200, there are plenty of opportunities here to trim fat off the household budget.
For those looking for ways to save money on energy bills, a home energy audit (also known as a home energy assessment) is the starting point to figure out how much energy your home is consuming — and how you can make it more energy efficient. There are essentially two types of assessments, a do-it-yourself job and a professional home energy assessment.
Obviously, the professional assessment provides a more complete evaluation that can include blower door tests, thermographic scans, evaluation of your past energy bills and checks for drafts and condensation problems. The auditor will also examine your usage habits. Be sure to accompany the auditor during the examination since you know best how you consume energy and can provide important details necessary to get the most comprehensive assessment possible.
Don't Break Your Household Budget
But before you head off to the hardware store to purchase big-ticket items, a good auditor will provide a list of simple, do-it-yourself options that save money without requiring large expenditures of time and money. Think of it as “low-hanging fruit.” It could be as simple as using more compact fluorescent lamps, adding weather stripping around doors and windows, plugging and caulking holes, installing a programmable thermostat or other relatively easy fixes that will help you stay within your budget while saving more money.
When older, less efficient appliances reach the end of their life span, that's when you can replace those dinosaurs with newer ENERGY STAR appliances that can save you big money over time. This includes items such as whole-home tankless water heaters, refrigerators, washing/drying machines, furnaces and the like. The ENERGY STAR site lists state and federal rebates and tax breaks available for these energy efficient models.
Money Saving Tips
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 46 percent of our annual energy bill is made up of heating and cooling expenses. There's obviously room here to improve your home's energy efficiency. To know how much you save, before you begin making your home more energy efficient, be sure to gather and track the utility costs from the previous year or two. If you can't find all your bill statements, don't worry, many utilities provide this information online to customers. Start saving today.
For more details and money saving tips on do-it-yourself home energy assessments and professional home energy assessments, see the U.S. Department of Energy's website. If you require help with home energy efficiency improvements, Regions has a variety of personal installment loans available.
- Save Time - Use free Regions Online Banking with Bill Pay to set up automatic payments for reoccurring expenses. Never search for a stamp again.
- Save Money - Track all of your spending for two weeks—this includes coffee, magazines, tollbooths, etc. Look at the results and see where you might able to cut back.
- Save for the Future - If your company offers a 401(k) retirement savings plan, make sure you're investing at least as much as your employer will match. That's free money!
- Save Time - Schedule errands around your other appointments so you don't waste time driving back and forth all over town.
- Save Money - Examine your cable bill, cellphone bill, home security system and other monthly expenses to see what services you really need. Call each company to see if you can get a better rate. Consider bundling these services with one provider for a discounted package rate.
- Save for the Future - Set up automatic savings transfers from your checking account, so that you are always saving.
This information is general in nature, is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. Regions neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.