Don’t let the costumed kids spook you too much this year – the real scare comes from the electricity vampires living right in your own home.
That’s right. This Halloween, vampires are right under your roof. No, not the bloodsucking ones – the energy-sucking ones! You may have heard of the concept of “vampire electricity.” Basically, it’s when your appliances suck energy out of your electricity bill (and your pocketbook) even when they’re not in use.
Televisions, laptops, cellphones, chargers, and even coffeemakers account for 10 percent of your energy bill. This adds up! You could be saving so much money every year if you slay the energy vampires in your house.
Cut down on the money-sucking effects of your home’s vampire energy with these 5 tips:
1. Unplug things you aren’t using.
Whether a charger is charging a device or not, it burns electricity once it’s plugged in. Be sure to unplug chargers and computers, smartphones and devices completely from the outlet. Unplug household items like coffeemakers, toasters, and blenders when not in use and be sure to switch off lights, fans, and TVs upon leaving a room.
2. Invest in a surge protector or power strip.
Not only will they protect your appliances when the power goes off and comes back on with a spike in voltage, but they also make it easier to turn numerous appliances off in one switch. After all, who has the time to go through the arduous task of individually switching off appliances at night or when not in use?
3. Be even more selective when buying appliances.
When purchasing appliances, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR®. These appliances use 50 percent less energy to perform the same task a non-energy star appliance would.
4. Make the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
Much of your energy bill is likely from lighting. You probably already make sure you turn off the lights when you leave the room. However, do you know which kind of light bulbs you’ve been switching on and off? Using high-efficiency lightbulbs or LED lightbulbs can lessen the amount of energy your lighting sucks up.
5. Learn more about which of your products uses standby energy.
Appliances and other devices that plug into outlets can use “standby energy,” the main culprit behind vampire electricity. This means that they are using energy just from being plugged in. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory did research on standby energy. On their site, you can read about cutting down and finding low-wattage products.
While performing certain tasks takes patience, performing them on a regular basis can save on vampire energy. Consolidated Credit is dedicated to helping you save money to stay out of debt.
When being an energy vampire slayer isn’t enough…
Taking all of these actions is a great way to start saving on your utility bill. If you’re still having trouble paying for energy, it may be less of a vampire electricity problem and more of a budgeting issue.
Reevaluate your budget to see where else you can cut costs. It may be as simple as cutting out a subscription or two, or you may have to do some major work. Whatever the case, Consolidated Credit has a budget solution.
Start with Consolidated Credit’s guide to budget analysis:
How to Analyze and Adjust Your Budget
A good budget isn’t set-it-and-forget-it. You need to regularly review your budget to make sure your spending is on target. If not, you need to make adjustments. This video will teach you what to look for in a budget checkup.
Analyzing and adjusting your budget to foster financial stability.
A budget is a basic blueprint of your finances. It helps you organize and categorize expenses for a stable financial house. But you can’t just draw it up and toss it aside. You have to check in often and make adjustments as needed.
Fixed expenses only adjust if there’s a change, for example annual property tax adjustments on your mortgage. This consistency makes it easy to house fixed expenses.
On the other hand, flexible and discretionary expenses have no set cost. So you have to take steps to ensure they fit in your budget structure. To do this, you set target spending limits for each expense. Look back at what you spent in the last three months. Then take an average of those three months to determine a target spending limit.
Once your budget is set, compare your actual spending to the targets you set. If actual spending is consistently higher, you must cut back or adjust the target limit. Just make sure total expenses always fit the structure based on your income. If one expense grows, something else may need to be reduced or cut.
Come back to review your budget at least once per quarter or every three months. And also remember to make seasonal adjustments. Utility bills and fuel costs typically change from summer to winter. And you can also use your budget to plan ahead for key events like back to school and holiday shopping. By revisiting your budget often, you can always have a financial house that adjusts as needed to fit your life and goals.
For more great tips on budgeting, visit ConsolidatedCredit.org
Scared of your utility bills adding to your debt? We can help. Connect with a certified credit counselor for a free debt and budget evaluation today.