Frugalizing Your Family: Electricity

By Susan Flynn

Children can be an obstacle to saving money on electric bills. They take long showers, leave on every light in the house and open the refrigerator door to stare blankly at the contents inside.

"Our electricity bills are outrageous," says Jubert. "Even though my daughter is 7, I try to make her more conscious about turning out the lights."

Foreman, of The Dollar Stretcher, concedes that an occasional light left on is not a big drain, but why pay for something you're not using? "With some families, every light is on whether anyone is around or not," he says.

Pay the most attention to appliances that heat and cool; these rack up the biggest electricity costs. Instead of always using the clothes dryer, he recommends setting up a clothes rack in the basement. It saves money and adds moisture to the air in the winter.

"It's interesting to me that we are rediscovering some of the things our grandparents knew," Foreman says.

Eckel hangs wet towels over the shower and her jeans on a rack. Dianna Fulreader uses a clothesline at least nine months out of the year, saving an estimated $30 a month - or $360 a year.

Click here to search for the best prices on anything...Other ideas:

  • Lower your electric hot water heater's temperature to 120º F.

  • Run the dishwasher only when full and let your dishes air-dry.

  • Make turning off lights a competition for kids, suggests Andrews. Keep a log with a prize awarded at the end of the month.

  • Get rid of that extra freezer/refrigerator if you don't use it.

  • Ask your utility company if cheaper rates are applied to running appliances at certain times.

Check out more money saving tips below...

Frugalizing Your Family: Main Page


The Frugal Philosophy
Money Myths