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College roommates reduce energy waste and save over $50 a month. What is the secret?

Our intern Sheekh (front) with his roommates

Working at Citizens Utility Board (CUB) as the outreach intern has given me the knowledge and tools to lower my utility bills. I am excited to share my tools and tricks, but let me first highlight the journey.

Prior to CUB, my two roommates and I were paying an average of $130- $135 a month for our electric bill. We figured that was normal, because we would divide it by three and individually pay $43-$45 monthly. As college students, this was our first time living away from home and paying bills. We didn’t bother to ask questions, or seek out resources.

Last fall I applied to the CUB internship program not only for the opportunity to grow my knowledge in energy, but to learn tips on how to save energy, lower costs and ultimately keep more money in my pockets. After attending a plethora of energy fair events and tabling for CUB, I retained a lot of useful tips. I apply it daily in my household; to the point my roommates now call me the energy police! Before we leave for classes in the morning, I make sure lights and televisions are off. I double check on most days because my roommates tend to love leaving that bathroom light on.

Below are some additional tips that we use in my household that helps us save energy and money:

  • Switched from regular light bulbs to LED light bulbs
  • Turn off all electronics and unplug cords that are not in use
  • Adjust thermostat to 68-70 during the winter when we are home and even lower when no one is home
  • When cold, layer up and use blankets to keep you warm
  • Avoid using the air conditioner during summer
  • Wrap all windows with plastic during the winter to keep the heat in the house

The tips listed above have saved reduce our average electric bills by over $50 per month! That’s $600 in savings a year. Our average electric bill is now $75-$85. This means my roommates and me each save approximately $18 dollars per month. It’s pretty good return for making a few changes around our home.

In addition to learning about your utilities, it is good to know that saving money on utility bills can also reduce financial stress. Freeing up some money for other needs feels good and relieves pressure from your household budget. In my example, saving an average of $18 per month adds up to $216 a year. We can always use a little extra savings for other things like tuition, or leisure activities. If I could save that much as a college student, so can you. The world is your oyster.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Stay involved with your utilities so you learn ways to improve from month to month. The more you are proactive about your utilities the better your results will be. If you want to study how to read your utilities or receive more tips to reduce energy usage around the house visit www.cubminnesota.org or call the number 651-300-4701.

Author: Muhidin Sheekh

5 Responses to "College roommates reduce energy waste and save over $50 a month. What is the secret?"

  1. Minaza Hassan Posted on April 5, 2018 at 10:24 am

    That’s really cool. I always thought that paying $150 for electricity was normal. I’ll definitely be implementing these changes. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Bob Sacamano Posted on April 5, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Great tips! I’ll be sure to use them.

  3. Abraham Preditari Posted on April 7, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Really helpful tips! I’m not from the north so I never knew how to save money on electricity during the winter months. We would never have to use our heater in the winter so knowing to turn down the heat will help. Thanks and I hope your roommates learned to turn off the lights now.

  4. Danielle Hockey Posted on April 7, 2018 at 12:52 am

    This article is s great read! I’m glad I’m I came across this article, no wonder why my monthly energy bill is high. I’ll now able to apply these changes to my own home and now save money. Sheekh thank you for being a wonderful teacher to us all and I hope you continue to learn and grow at CUB. I’m looking forward to your next posting and I’m eager to learn more about energy savings.

  5. Noah J. Posted on April 9, 2018 at 11:15 am

    First off let me say this, being Sheekh’s roommate is amazing. He helped lower our utilities expense. He is correct, we do call him energy police because he walks around the house making sure everything is turned off. Haha we promoted him from police to Lieutenant Sheekh because he never misses a day to turn off everything not in use. Nice blog, and I will share this with my family, God knows they need help!

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