How to Save on Essential Utility Bills

Piggy bank sitting over top of bills

Utility bills can take a big bite out of your monthly budget. With a few changes, however, you can reduce what you pay for the three essentials: electricity, water, and heat.

Bright Ideas for Saving Electricity

If you’ve ever lost power for an extended period of time, you no doubt renewed your appreciation of this necessity when the lights came back on. There are tons of tips for how to reduce your electricity consumption; here are our favorite three. We like them because they’re low cost (two are even free), and they are easy!

  • Swap to LED light bulbs. LED bulbs last longer and save energy, which means a lower electricity bill. In this post, you’ll learn important tips for making sure you’re getting the right bulbs.
  • Turn off lights when you leave the room. This simple action will reduce your overall electric bill. It may take some time to get everyone on board. You could try one family’s strategy: make ‘em pay! They agreed to put a quarter in a jar for every time someone left lights on in a room.
  • Unplug the electricity vampires. Phone chargers, game consoles, any appliance that displays the time – we’re looking at you, Mr. Coffee – are just a few devices that draw electricity, even when “turned off.”

Did you know you can save money on your electric bill even if you make no changes to how much juice you use? It’s true! Pennsylvania allows consumers to shop for their electricity supplier. You can do an Internet search to find comparison sites or go to your electric company’s website to begin your search. Most provide links so you can shop for a more competitive rate.

Stop Flushing Money Down the Drain

You can stop the flow of wasted dollars out of your budget by making some adjustments to reduce your water usage.

  • Take shorter showers. On chilly winter mornings, standing in a flow of hot water can feel so good. But, if you’re enjoying that for more than eight minutes – the average shower time in the U.S. – you’re letting your money go right down the drain.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. On average, eight gallons of water a day are wasted by one person brushing their teeth with the tap running. For a family of four, that translates into 32 gallons. A day!!! In one month, that family could reduce their water consumption by around 960 gallons.
  • Do only full loads of laundry. Most washing machines use between 30 and 40 gallons of water per load. If you do one less partial load per week for a month, you’ll save between 120 to 160 gallons! If you’re willing to consider breaking societal norms about laundry, adopt one or more of these practices from DroughtPro. For example, you can conserve water by washing your clothes less frequently.

Heat Up the Savings

A few changes in behaviors can help tame those monster heating bills.

  • Turn down the thermostat to turn up the savings. During the day, setting the temperature even a few degrees lower than you usually keep it at will reduce your heating bill. Knock it back a few more degrees at night and throw on an extra blanket for even more savings.
  • Plug up drafty windows and doors. Take a look at closed doors during the day. Do you see light coming through the edges? If so, cover up the gaps. Taking care of drafts at the door’s bottom is easy. Just throw down an old blanket or towel. Along the edges, it gets a little trickier. Painter’s tape can do the trick on doors that aren’t used frequently. For those drafty windows, you have a lot of options. Your window type will narrow the field. Here are a few ideas for taking care of drafts.
  • Wash laundry with cold water. Up to 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes simply to heating the water! Laundry detergent manufacturers have developed formulas that give clothes a deep clean using cold water, busting the myth that only hot water will do the job.

While we’ve been a little light-hearted with this post, staying warm is serious business, so we wanted to let you know about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Through the program, low-income families can qualify for a cash grant to help pay their heating bills. This grant is a one-time payment that goes directly to the utility company. Grants range from $300 to $1,000 and do not need to be repaid. Visit the LIHEAP page for details on how to apply online and by paper application.

At PSECU, we know how important it is to understand how to make the most of your hard-earned money. That’s why we have free resources that can help members and non-members increase their financial know-how. Visit to see all we offer. Not a member? You can join us today!

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The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.