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.