PSA: There’s more to spring cleaning than just getting rid of the dust bunnies under your bed and making over your closet. The arrival of spring can also be a great reason to clean out other major areas of your life. Why not spring clean your budget? Small changes like ditching your daily coffee habit and sticking to sale shopping can go a long way, but saving money on bigger-ticket items is easier than you think. We asked the experts at the home monitoring company Blink for tips on how to best cut down on major home bills. Read on for their seven tips, and prepare to save big this spring when you put them to work.
1. Swap cable for streaming. Try switching from traditional cable to a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix — both provide tons of great movies and shows to watch. Replacing your cable plan with an Apple TV, Roku, or similar device makes streaming incredibly easy. These monthly service fees will be significantly lower than what you currently pay for full cable.
2. Update your lightbulbs. LED light bulbs are about four times more energy efficient than regular bulbs, and they last a lot longer too. According to Blink, every conventional light bulb that you convert to LED can save you more than $100, even if the sticker price for these bulbs may be higher than a normal bulb. The initial bulb investment will continue to pay you back by the hundreds (literally) over the years.
3. Simplify your alarm system. If you’re paying for a high-end security system, it’s likely that it costs hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in installation costs and monthly fees. Turns out you can keep your home safe and sound with a lower-cost, more user-friendly version. Check out systems (like Blink) that you can install yourself and use for two years without any monthly costs.
4. Use a smart thermostat. Your thermostat probably allows you to program the temperature of your home around the clock, even when you’re at work or on vacation. Learn how to use these smart features, and you’ll be less likely to waste money paying for heating and cooling when you don’t need it.
5. Grocery shop more often. How often do you find perishables in your fridge long past their prime? It could be because you tried to cram all of your shopping into one day at the beginning of the week. We’re all for efficient errand running, but one weekly supermarket trip isn’t always the most efficient financial choice. Tweak your schedule to allow for multiple, smaller grocery runs every week, and don’t overstock your kitchen. In the long run, you’ll end up saving some serious cash on your overall food budget.
6. Turn off power strips. Everything you have plugged in is using power (and contributing to your electricity bill) even if it’s not in use. Appropriately, it’s called “vampire power” or “phantom energy” — and luckily there’s an easy fix! Wherever possible, swap in power strips that you can switch on and off, and plug everything you don’t use 24/7 into those instead.
7. Reduce your hot water temperature. This may sound a bit technical, but we promise that it’s actually very simple. Most people keep their water heater set hotter than necessary, which is particularly bad, considering that a hot water heater is one of the biggest home energy drains. Lowering the temp to 130 degrees Fahrenheit will keep everything running smoothly (as long as the exposed pipes are insulated) while saving you money.
Do you have other tips for saving money on your major bills? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)