Great ways to save money and energy this year

For some, saving money is top priority, for others it seems like an extremely difficult task. With the new year here and resolutions made, why not add saving energy to that list, which in turn saves you money! For some, living paycheck to paycheck makes it seem like a huge undertaking to try and build up a savings. To make saving a bit easier, try following some of these ways to save energy and money.

Some of these energy savers are very simple and yet you may not have even considered them:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Shut electronics down such as computers and printers and unplug them – these eat up valuable energy even in idle mode or shut down mode
  • Take the plugs out of outlets when you’re done charging things such as your cell phone or tablet. Leaving cords plugged in can also drain small amounts of power
  • Purchase Energy Star certified LED light bulbs
  • If you don’t already have one, purchase a programmable thermostat that allows you to raise and lower the temperature of your home when you are not around or at night when you’re under the covers for warmth
  • Utilize your blinds, keep them open during the day to allow the sun to help warm your home and close them at night to keep the cold from coming in
  • Use a power strip for multiple devices in your home, allowing you to simply flip one switch to turn all devices off at once
  • Use motion sensor lights on the outside of your home so you don’t constantly need to have a light on. You can also use timer controls to turn your lights on and off at specific times

Other ways to save money this year:

  • Tax time is approaching so see if you qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit. Many low to moderate income workers qualify each year that can be over $1,000 and sometimes more than $2,000. You can find more information and how to apply for this tax credit at the IRS.gov site or by clicking this link: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p596.pdf.
  • It’s also not a bad idea to check and see if you have unclaimed money sitting out there. Simply go to https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money and it gives you links to check for multiple different options of possible money that you’ve missed out on.
  • Ditch your cable or satellite provider and subscribe to things such as Netflix ($8/month), Amazon Prime ($8.25/month) and Hulu ($8-12/month) – you’ll get to watch all the same things, but at a fraction of the cost. Most people are spending over $100/month on cable, all 3 subscriptions will run you approximately $30-$40/month, that’s a huge savings. Based on paying $100/month vs. $40/month over the course of a year is $720 in savings!
  • Change the way you grocery shop! Focus on cost-effective alternatives as opposed to the big-name stores. The food is generally the same in quality, but you may end up spending a lot less. Another useful tip is to make a grocery list and stick to it, this will help you avoid impulse purchases as you shop.
  • If you have credit card debt, consider transferring it to a lower interest rate credit card.
  • Save your spare change in a jar, you’d be surprised at how fast loose change adds up.
  • Change up your car, if you have an expensive car payment think about downgrading to a cheaper vehicle or buy one outright with cash on hand and get rid of those payments. According to Edmunds.com, the average monthly payment on a newer vehicle is $479. If you instead took that payment and saved it, you’d have an annual savings of $5,748.
  • Shop around for car insurance rates to see if you can find a lower price plan.
  • Shop around for the best cell phone plans. Often switching to a different carrier can save you quite a bit of money.

For more information on saving, along with useful tools to help you along the way check out https://americasaves.org/