When we discovered how much in debt we were in we realized major changes needed to happen but knowing were to start felt a bit overwhelming.
Since we had no clue how much was our monthly expenses we knew the first thing we needed to do was get our bank statements in order.
After preparing a spreadsheet using 3 bank statements we could see a pattern on our expenses, right then we saw how much money we were practically throwing away.
Of course, living frugally is not something we wanted to do because we got used to a different lifestyle. But why throw money away on things like grocery shopping and electric expenses?
I mentioned grocery shopping first since it was one of our highest expenses, we worked cutting that by couponing which you can read more about it here.
Now the second-highest expense besides housing/mortgage was our electric bill. I was shocked to see that this bill was at times up to $165 a month just on electricity alone.
Keeping the light on for hours in a room no one was in, or keeping the A/C on very low while no one was home was how we were throwing money away.
Living frugal, cutting back expenses, or living on a budget seems like you are being tied down but in reality, it is a way to live differently today so tomorrow you can have money freedom.
Once you develop a pattern that helps you cut back on specific expenses seeing how much you are saving is a true reward.
Let’s Begin, not every situation is the same, from the state you are in, climate, size of the house, and the people living in it.
In our case, we lived in a 5 bedroom house, 2-floor house, in Florida where the A/C is used mostly throughout the year and we had 2 separate A/C units in our house (which made it easier to control 2 separate floors).
If on average $120 – $135 (sometimes more other times less) that equals to $1440 – $1620 a year
Now how can we cut that expense?
Here are some tips on how we did it,
- not only we discover how by doing our own research but also
- contacting a member of the Electric Company to evaluate our house to cut back on this expense
First, (change your light bulbs) we replaced our standard light bulbs which we thought were cheaper but then realized how often we changed them in a year.
The best option is getting energy-efficient bulbs. They last so much longer, they were brighter and helped bring down our electricity cost.
Second, (turn off the lights) this next tip is so common yet we don’t realize how much light we are not using. After applying this tip we realized how often fans, lights electronics were left on without being used. This second tip is to turn off the lights, when not in a room.
Third, (turn off the fans) continuing on what we went over for tip 2, tip 3 is very similar, the fan is the next item that is always on and sometimes in many rooms at a time.
I recall hearing in the news that the fan is not meant to cool the room but to cool the person in that room, once no one is in it there is no purpose of keeping it on.
Fourth, (program your A/C) this one is so hard to do, and in fact, many people decide to skip it, which is raising the A/C temperature when not home.
The employee from the electric company let us know that this is what raises the electricity bill, he suggested leaving the A/C around 83-84 when no one is home.
Applying this tip was very hard at first and it took some time for us to get used to it but it truly helped us reach our goal.
Fifth, (unplug when not in used) This has been our latest way to help cut back on electricity.
Over a year ago I read a study someone did over 30 days, this couple (I wish I remembered the site/blog I read it from) kept everything plugged like coffee machine, chargers after being used and other similar items we plug but never unplugged when not in use.
Then the next 30 days they would unplug the coffee machine after not being used, their chargers and other items would be on the power strip and once they were done using them the turned it off or unplugged them.
After 30 days they saw a change of how low their electric bill was.
This last tip is one we believe helped lower our monthly bill.
After a few years later we can still see our electricity bill pretty much the same you might wonder if we walk in the dark or simply not use it but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We have computers on, tv and other electronics on a daily basis but keeping track and applying the 5 tips mentioned above helped keep our monthly bill from $80 to $100 a month.
We went from $120 – $135 (sometimes more other times less) that equals to $1440 – $1620 a year
To our current amount $81 – $100 (sometimes more other times less) that equals to $972 – $1200 a year
Yearly Savings about $420 a year
Is it worth applying just 5 tips on one bill/expense alone? for us, it has been a blessing to save that much each year. I hope this post truly motivates you to help you find your financial freedom, it might not seem a lot but $400 is one amount we can use for other things we look forward to like vacation..