By Carly Shearman
Energy bills; the very bain of my adult existence. Every time I feel like I am getting my budget under control, another quarter wraps up and I find myself, jaw wide open, reviewing my energy bill.
Not this quarter, I thought! This quarter is going to be different. And it was. I managed to reduce my energy bill by a massive 72%! Have you ever opened an energy bill and felt pleasantly surprised? I didn’t think it was possible, but I did it. In fact, I was more than pleasantly surprised, I was ecstatic. I shared the result on my Instagram and overnight my inbox clogged up with messages of “how did you do it?”
Energy bills are something we all struggle with and today, I want to help you reduce your costs and your carbon footprint.
So, without further ado, ladies and gents, here is how I cut my energy bill by 72%:
Introduced the ‘two lights at a time’ rule
Just as the name explains, only two lights can be on in my home at any given time. This can be relatively hard to achieve when my partner comes over as he can get trigger happy and turn every light on in my apartment. I simply and very uncalmly turn all the lights back off while muttering things like… “energy prices these days”, “when you pay the power bill...” and my favourite “the house doesn’t need to be lit up like a Christmas tree.” Wow, reading back on those I really have become my mother. Oh, how things change.
Minimised the times I open the garage door strictly to when I need to get the car in / out.
You will see in Quarter 1 that my energy bill was relatively small compared to Quarter 2 and Quarter 3. I attribute that to the fact that my garage door motor was broken and subsequently turned off.
After making that correlation, I am now very conscious about using the garage door and try to limit it strictly to when I need to get the car in or out. For all other things, like taking the rubbish out, I consciously make the ‘extra effort’ to unlock the front door and walk around to the bin. Looking on the bright side, walking that extra bit means I am getting my steps up which is always a win.
Avoided using the air conditioner/heater…
This was the thing I struggled with the most. Since moving into my dungeon of an apartment with zero airflow I have become the AirCon Queen. I knew my aircon usage was a big, if not the primary, contributor to my energy bills and I also knew that this was going to be a very difficult habit to kick. I implemented not one, not two but THREE tactics to help me avoid the magical aircon machine.
Anti-Aircon Tactic #1 - Go Old School
Apparently, my body is incapable of self-regulating its temperature so I will wake up throughout the night either freezing cold or boiling hot. Typically, I would reach across and adjust the aircon to suit my needs however now I go old school. What do I mean by old school? I will either add an additional blanket or put a jumper on if I am cold or go grab a piece of ice to suck on or put a cold wet face washer on my head to bring my body temp back down. Groundbreaking stuff, I know.
Anti-Aircon Tactic #2 - Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
As I said above, I would wake up feeling hot, reach across and turn the aircon on. It became such a habit it ended up being a reflex move instead of a conscious decision. To reset my habit, I removed the aircon remote from my bedside table so I couldn’t do the midnight switch on.
Anti-Aircon Tactic #3 - Delay and Distract
If I was feeling the temptation to turn on the aircon I would tell myself “okay, if you are still feeling this way after this episode / once this chapter is finished / in 30 minutes,” you can turn it on. 9 times out of 10, by the time I was ‘allowed’ to turn the aircon on, I had completely forgotten about it or felt like I didn’t need the aircon anymore.
Only purchase (and plugin) the appliances you actually need
I am unashamed to admit that I am the crazy person that turns off all power sockets that aren’t in use. The only time a power socket is turned on in my house is when it is in use (except for the internet modem). Some say it is a myth that it reduces the power bill but hey, I am willing to give it a go.
Something I have never purchased since moving out of home and into adulthood is a clothes dryer. Trust me when I say that if you live in Australia, you really do not need a dryer… just a little bit of forward thinking and in emergencies... a hair dryer. Melbourne, I will let you be the exception to this rule.
Replaced light bulbs with energy-efficient ones when, and only when, they blow
I have never understood people who toss out their standard bulbs and replaced them with energy-efficient ones when the standard bulbs were still functioning. To me, throwing away something that works perfectly fine seems more wasteful. Instead, I wait for the light bulb to blow and THEN I will replace it with an energy-efficient one. That way I am getting the full value of the original light bulb (money win) and I am only purchasing the new energy-efficient light bulb when required (money win).
Are you ready to reduce your impact on our planet? Check out some of Banish’s super helpful How-To articles to start your eco-conscious journey. There is no time to waste.
Carly is a 20-something gal living in Brisbane, Australia. She started The Chronicles of Carly in late 2017 with the intention of sharing her experiences as a go-getting gal with the other go-getters out there. You can find Carly at www.thechroniclesofcarly.com or go to her Instagram & Facebook.