How One Sentence Can Save Someone $600 In Utility Bills.


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A few weeks ago I saved a new friend of mine at least $600 a year. (And no, not from telling her to switch to that annoying insurance company!) I was talking to the people who work here in the leasing office of where I live, and we somehow got on the discussion of monthly utility bills. When it came time for me to tell them how much my electric bill was each month, I almost didn’t want to do it because it was a fraction of what theirs was. For the last few months, my average electric bill has been only about $25, which came as a shock them. The woman in the office has a monthly bill of between $120-$150! Then, of course, they were all interested in how I kept my bills so low each month, which is when I let loose with my “$600 in annual savings” sentence:

Everything that is powered by electricity in my house & uses vampire standby power is on power strips, and they all get turned off when not in use.

Well, not everything – the DVR is left plugged in and juiced so it can record TV shows. But other than that, my TV, DVD player, computer, computer monitor, microwave, and coffee maker are all either switched off via a power strip or unplugged entirely when they aren’t being used. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that all my light bulbs are CFL’s, or that I don’t use any electricity-powered clocks, but you get the general idea – and so did she. Amazed at how low my bill is, she said she was going to try an experiment for a few weeks and report back. I stopped in the other day to say hi and heard the results.

She had saved about $50 on her bill over the past 25 days or so compared to all previous months.

She was ecstatic! That’s $600 a year in savings for doing something so easy and uncomplicated that everyone should be doing it, and she didn’t even change every single thing in her house yet. She is going to report back to me once she does and finishes her next complete month with the changes in place.

See, little things do make a difference… and in this case it was only a single sentence.


Photo from Shutterstock

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  1. Okay, I’m going out to purchase power strips tonight. One for my TV/DVD/Wii, another for my microwave, and a third for all of my various charges that never seem to unplug.

    I’m also planning to experiment with just how much water I can save over the next couple of summer months.

  2. We have cut our energy use in half in 3 years. A great deal of that–particularly the energy we use for heating–came as a result of insulation and air sealing upgrades, which cost a good deal of money upfront. But the majority came from changes to our habits and small investments like the purchase and use of smart strips.

    For us the biggest factor in reducing our electricity bill was the decision to stop running our central air conditioning system (and use window fans instead), except on the absolutely hottest nights of the year.

    It does indeed pay to sweat the little things! You can read about all the things we have done here

  3. I really enjoyed reading this article! I could just picture the expressions on your co-workers faces when you broke the news about your savings. Real time results are key to helping people conserve their own energy usage saving between 6-18%.

  4. Wow. $25? Ok, it costs us $34 a month just to keep our service on when we are away for winter. But I’m going to give the utility strips a try and see what happens. Now that we’re back in the stick house for a while, I’m NOT looking forward to the $80-something a month bill we got last year. I’ll keep you posted.

  5. I did the same thing a year ago and saw almost no change in my electricity bill. That being said, I’ve kept it up because I think it’s a good idea.

    I’ve had my home computer turned off for a month now. Since it normally runs 24/7, I’m curious if this change will be reflected in my next bill.

  6. Great article! I love this because it’s inexpensive, easy, and saves both money and energy. It can be applied both at home and at the office.

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