This is part 2 in a series we’re doing on ways to save when you already do all you can! You can read part 1 here and stay tuned for several more installments over the upcoming weeks.
If you’re looking for additional ways to cut costs in an extreme situation, then you might find some ideas in this series. Most people face a time when they need to drastically reduce the outflow of cash, whether it’s due to a suddenly lower income or it’s a choice they’re making in order to divert funds to another area of the budget.
The trick is making it a challenge and finding ways to do what you can, where you are, with the resources you have. And that’s why we’re again focusing on electricity use this week, as there are so many ways to cut a few cents here and there, and if you do them consistently, you can save money month after month.
Part 1 in this series focused on how to cut electricity costs by turning off lights. (Yes, it sounds so simple, but it really can add up so be sure to check out Part 1 here!)
In this post, we’ll focus on cutting electricity costs by unplugging other appliances and devices when not in use.
We actually have a pretty simple household and don’t use an extreme amount of electronics. However, after walking around the house and really analyzing what is plugged in, it made me realize there were several things we could unplug for hours every day. Here are some of the items we now make a habit of unplugging.
Unplugging the computer when not in use. When I cleaned out our attic, I found an extra power strip. I put this in our bedroom which is where the computer is located and plugged the computer into the strip. When the computer is not in use, the power strip is shut off, which is overnight and for any time during the day it’s not going to be used for at least an hour. Previously I was just unplugging the computer’s power cord from the wall but the power strip does make it a bit easier.
Turning off the wireless mouse when not in use. We use a wireless mouse so I also shut it off with the little switch provided on the bottom of it. This saves battery life. (I think I will probably try to go back to a wired mouse when this one is done, as I like not using batteries.)
Unplugging the printer when not printing. For the laser printer, I keep it unplugged and only plug it in when I want to print, copy or scan something. I first had it on the power strip with the computer, but every time I turned on the power switch to use the computer, it would also power up the printer. Since I don’t use it very often, it saves electricity just to plug it in as needed.
Unplugging the internet modem. Our daughter is in charge of shutting off the internet modem each night before bed. This keeps it from being on all night when it’s not being used and also gives it a chance to cool off as I noticed it gets really hot. This is also on a power strip so it’s very easy just to flip the switch to “unplug” it.
Unplugging the TV and satellite receiver. I recently just started shutting down the power strip in our bedroom each morning that has the TV and satellite receiver plugged into it. The only time this is used is in the evening before bed so it doesn’t need to be on all day. (If I can stay awake longer than my husband, I plan to get up and shut if off at night when we’re done watching it.) I also plan to dig around in the attic in hopes of finding another power strip that I use in the living room in the same way. That set can be off all day also.
And, lastly, all small appliances on the kitchen counters, such as the coffee maker, mixer and microwave, are now being unplugged. While the microwave is the only appliance that has a light that stays on, I’ve been unplugging all of them. I have read that only the appliances that have a light on at all times use electricity even when they’re not in use, but if I’m unplugging one, I might as well unplug them all.
It might seem like these are all insignificant ways to save a penny here and there, but they really aren’t time consuming tasks, and all of the little bits add up. I have been working hard at making a habit out of not using lights or turning them off, as well as unplugging and shutting off appliances, for the last few weeks, so I will see a difference on the next electric bill coming at the end of this month.
I’ll keep you updated on how much these new habits have potentially saved us.
Please tell us below in the comments what your family does to save on electricity costs!