With many of us spending a lot more time at home, it's no wonder utility bills and grocery bills are getting out of control. For starters, we're using big and small appliances at any and all times of the day and cooking more — which means more groceries and more dishes.
Luckily, personal finance & frugal living expert Lauren Greutman is sharing four super smart — and some surprising! — ways to save money on utilities.
1. Avoid Using Big Appliances (Especially Laundry!) Between 4pm & 9pm
"Did you know that your energy bill doesn't rely solely on how much energy you use, but when you use it? Most Americans would save money if they switched their utilities time of use energy, which charges peak rates from 4pm to 9pm — but much lower rates during the other times," Lauren explains. "So take care of those machine-related chores, like laundry, earlier in the day. You can save hundreds of dollars a month, just by changing when you use your appliances. It's just that simple."
2. Use Dryer Balls
"By using these dryer balls, you can really cut the time that it takes to dry your clothes," the frugal living expert says. "They will also allow you to skip the fabric softener, which will save you even more money."
Don't have dryer balls on hand? Use crumpled up aluminum foil, Lauren suggests.
3. Wash Dishes The RIGHT Way — Without Running The Water Continuously
"We are eating more meals at home than ever, which means more dishes," Lauren says." Most of the time, running the dishwasher uses less energy, but if you're just rinsing dishes and putting them in the dishwasher anyway, that goes right out the window."
"Fill one half of your sink with hot soapy water," she explains. "On the other side of the sink, you're gonna fill it with clean, warm water, so that you're not running the water continuously. You wash in the soapy area [and] you rinse in the clean water."
"Don't put them on paper towels [to dry] because the goal is not to be wasteful," Lauren continues. "You just want to grab a clean dish towel and set it right on your counter."
4. Buy a Smart Plug or Smart Power Strip For Small Appliances
"Beyond these big appliances, there are a lot of small appliances that eat up a lot of energy, even when they're not turned on that you shouldn't be paying for," the personal finance expert explains. "Pick up a smart plug or a smart power strip, which you can power off at night, so that you're not paying money for that electricity."