There is a good reason this topic is on my mind this week. I think I’ve mentioned before that my hubby is extremely frugal. Utilities is his specialty for frugality. He grew up with a dad who wouldn’t run the heat in Colorado in the winter. They bundled up in winter jackets and hats and boots at the dinner table. They weren’t poor – his dad remodeled their home and would spend hundreds of dollars on door trim but then not turn on the heat. Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I think hubby would take a bit offense to my saying that, but it’s true. I have really come to respect his thoughts and actions on it though and I think we’ve struck a good balance.

Hubby isn’t as extreme as his father was but he probably would be if it wasn’t for me demanding asking nicely for us to have heat, hot water, air conditioning, and electricity. The topic came up for us this week when I was doing the dishes as usual and when I started the dishwasher, I noticed that he had walked over to the hot water heater and turned it off. Meaning I was washing my dishes with cold water. It suddenly dawned on me why for the past few days before that, I’d had to rewash all the dishes by hand because they weren’t coming out clean. Our dishwasher may be clunky and loud but it usually does it’s job quite well and now I knew why this had stopped being true. After a nice polite request that he not touch the hot water and allow the dishwasher to run as intended, he begrudgingly agreed.

So while hubby may seem extreme, he still has taught me some reasonable ways to save money on utilities that don’t go as far as eliminating them altogether, only using cold water and eating raw potatoes for meals.

1. Use high efficiency appliances – they’ll pay for themselves in your energy savings even though they cost more up front.

2. Use a tankless hot water heater – I don’t necessarily recommend you go out and replace your well functioning one, but if yours is at the end of it’s life or your already in need of an upgrade, it’s an excellent way to go.

3. Switch to CFL bulbs – again, don’t run out and replace working ones but as they need replacing, putting in CFLs will help you reduce your electricity costs.

4. Make home upgrades – from something as simple as installing weatherstripping to the complexity of adding insulation, you can do things like replace windows and doors too. And make sure your house doesn’t have any holes in it.

5. Adjust your daily habits – don’t shower as long, turn off lights when you leave a room, and my specialty that drives hubby crazy – don’t cook water on the gas stove for hours because you forget about it. Line dry your clothes when the weather permits.

6. Find a balance – Hubby insisted on me adding this one to the list. While saving on energy costs is something everyone can do with a few little changes in their life, it’s also not something you have to live miserably for. No one wants to sit shivering in their house during a meal if they don’t HAVE to. A long hot shower or bath feels great on a cold morning. Just cut your usage so everyone is still happy but not going without. As hubby says, remaining married is more important to him than saving a few pennies on hot water. Awww lucky me!