Most people worry about surprising charges on their wintertime bills, but the spring can be just as tough on your wallet. This might seem counterintuitive as you stay home more often during the pandemic and benefit from lower transportation costs, fewer temptations to purchase lunches on the go, and free childcare.
Unfortunately, staying at home means you’re using more power at peak times. The small savings you make by staying indoors may not be enough to cover your increased usage, inefficient appliances, and rate hikes.
If you’re wondering how you can handle these surges in your usual bills, take a look at the tips below. From money management advice to green energy tricks, they can help you keep the lights on for less.
What to Do About Your Bill, Right Now
1. Double-Check Your Meter
If you think you’re using less energy or water than your bill claims, ask your utility provider to check the meter. They’ll come out for free to test that your meter is operating correctly. If it isn’t, your provider may credit you for their mistake.
2. Research Your Financing Options
Reach out to your utility provider to discuss their financing plans. Some providers are willing to work with you to create a flexible payment plan that works with your finances.
Depending on your income, you may also qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federal program may help you with heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment, energy crisis assistance, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs.
3. Borrow Money with Discretion
Without a cushion of savings, you may not have the money on hand to cover your surprising bill. This is an anxious situation to be in. For many, it’s a good enough reason to take out a cash advance online.
An online payday advance or installment loan may be a convenient boost to your budget, but they aren’t always the right solution for your utility bill woes.
The average cash advance in Utah is often designed to help you cover one-time emergency expenses that you can’t predict, so you may consider online payday advances or installment loans to handle an emergency expense if the rest of your money needs to go towards a surprise spike in your utility bills.
For ongoing issues, you’ll have to look at the tips below.
How to Prevent Another Big Bill
1. Hang Up Your Laundry
Spring ushers in longer days and warmer temperatures. Take advantage of the nice weather whenever you’re doing laundry. Hanging your clothes on a line means you won’t have to pay to use your energy-hungry drier.
2. Set Your Thermostat Properly
The temperature of your home has a sweet spot for cost-savings. When it’s cold out, you should keep your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower while you’re at home, dropping it even lower when you’re at work or in bed.
In the summer, keep your A/C as high as you can stand it. The Department of Energy says the ideal temperature is 78 degrees. Bumping your A/C to 88 degrees while you’re out could save you another 10% of your cooling costs.
3. Do Some DIY
It’s time to pull out a toolkit to fix any chores you’ve been meaning to get around to, like a dripping faucet or a drafty window. Repairing these issues could save you a bundle on your water and heating/cooling bills.
Costly utility bills may be scary, but there are ways to get a handle on them. Remember these tips to keep your usage down and your bank balance up.