There are many things you can do to pinch pennies – pennies that can add up to many dollars over the course of the year. Though this helps you get through the hard financial times – losing money from your retirement fund or because you got laid off, it will also help in the good times, by allowing you to build your savings even more than you already do.
Be sure to change air filters at least every 30 days. This goes for filters on central heat and air conditioning or on furnaces. If you have pets, especially birds that create a lot of powder (such as cockatoos), the check the filter every week. When you notice it getting clogged, change it. Once you do that the first time, you will know if you should change it every couple weeks or if it will last out the month.
If you have a furnace, have the maintenance people come out before you fire up the furnace in the fall to clean it and check to see if it needs any other maintenance.
Set the thermostat at one temperature and leave it there. Every time there is a temperature change (hotter in the winter, cooler in the summer) the furnace or air conditioning must work harder to cool it down more. Make sure vents are cleaned inside and are not blocked by furniture.
Make sure your water heater is insulated, especially if it is older. Make sure you turn off all lights and appliances when not in use. For computers and games, if you use a power strip to turn everything off, you won’t forget and leave one of the components on (such as the printer or scanner).
Change lights to florescent lights or energy saver CFL light bulbs. If you need to leave an outside light on, attach it to a motion sensor, so that it comes on when you need it and is off when you do not need it.
In the winter, open the drapes on the side of the house the sun is on – the sun will provide natural light and heat. Close the drapes when the sun is not out or at night to help keep the heat inside.
Wait until you have a full load of laundry before using the washer and dryer. Don’t do half loads or small loads if you can help it. If you do have a half load, be sure to change the settings to a small load. Wash darks in cold water instead of hot water. They will come clean in cold water, and the colors will stay brighter for a longer period of time. Empty the lint trap before you dry every load. For the dishes, wait until the dishwasher is completely loaded before running it.
Change all faucets and showerheads to energy efficient heads. Weatherstrip all windows and doors. If you are planning on new windows, change them out with thermo-pane windows. Make sure the attic is properly insulated.