UPDATED: April 6, 2021 – I’m consistently amazed at the ways people find to spend (read: waste) their hard earned dollars on a daily basis. Whether it’s spending $1.50 on a 20 oz. soda from the vending machine, going out to lunch Monday through Friday or shopping online during their downtime (the 21st-century window browsing).
I’m all about saving money. It’s literally like a game to me. So, I’m always looking for ways to level-up and fatten my wallet. But I get that for most people, changing behavior is tough, and they don’t always think the reward is worth the effort. So, here are 5 no-effort ways to save money today.
1. Unplug when you leave the house
According to Energy Star, “The average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode).” Easy money right there. Every morning before I leave the house, I make sure our internet modem, wireless router, TV, and anything else that doesn’t need to be plugged in is off. Of course, leave your fridge plugged in.
2. Turn off the lights when you leave a room
This is literally the easiest think you can do, and along the same lines as unplugging. Just flip the switch. I finally understand why my old man was always getting on us to stop leaving the lights on. With the new bulbs we all use, it might only cost $0.01 every hour you leave them on, but the key is to stop needlessly wasting money.
3. Stop driving like an @ss-hat
I’ve talked about how to travel cheap here. “Each 5 MPH over 60MPH you drive can reduce your fuel economy by 7%.” Wake up 5 minutes earlier so you can go a little slower. The time it costs you will be more than worth it with the savings it brings. Walk or bike if you can. And by the way, the answer is yes. If you are texting while driving, I am the guy honking at you. Get off your damn phone jerkass.
4. Turn up the heat
It’s summer. I get it. I sweat something fierce when it’s hot out, so I know that you want it to be a cool 66° when you’re hanging out at home. But will 68° kill you? If you’re worried it might, you should probably see a doctor. But what about when you’re not at home? Per energy.gov, “By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.” Even if you have pets, I’m sure they’ll be fine when it’s 78° during the day.
5. Do dishes and laundry during non-peak hours
Check with your local power company (whomever you pay each month for electric) and they should have something advising you when your peak hours are. In our household, we don’t run the dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer until after 7 P.M. For example, with Pacific Power, for example, you can save about 20% by reducing your peak hour usage.
So there you have 5 no-effort ways to save money today. Literally, the most you have to do might be bend over to unplug something. None of the ways to save I listed above are going to be immediate, phenomenal savings. But I’m not peddling some get rich quick scheme. This is life. You should be in it for the long-haul, and over the course of your life, these little activities and habits will literally save you thousands of dollars.
What are your favorite no-effort ways of saving money?