Practical Ways to Save Money on Gas and Utilities Right Now - 401k Maneuver

Practical Ways to Save Money on Gas and Utilities Right Now

If you’re like most Americans, you’re searching for ways to save money on gas and utilities.

As of press time, here’s where things stand: 

  • The current annual inflation rate in the U.S. has climbed to 9.1% from a year earlier, up from an annual rate of 8.6% the prior month and the largest gain since November 1981 
  • According to the June CPI report gasoline prices increased 11.2% from the prior month and 59.9% annually. The report showed some good news – unleaded regular averaged $4.65, down from $5 a month ago.² 
  • And, according to Bloomberg, “US households are about to get some unwelcome mail this summer: some of the highest power bills they’ve ever seen. […] Barclays Plc calculates that monthly bills will be more than 40% higher than last year’s.”³

Couple these additional gas and utility costs with rising grocery bills, and it can quickly cut a chunk out of your savings.

Keep reading for practical ways to help you save on gas and utilities. Remember, every bill you can lower helps save in other areas.

5 Ways to Save Big Money on Gas

save money on gas and utilities

Gas prices are one of the most obvious price increases. It’s now common for Americans to be happy to get gas for under $5 a gallon. 

If you want to save money on gas, try these tips.

#1 Search for the Cheapest Gas

Start by searching for the cheapest gas. You can save a lot by purchasing gas from a membership club, such as Sam’s Club or Costco. The price of gas at these clubs tends to be less expensive.

If you aren’t a member, you can still search for cheap gas using apps, such as GasBuddy or Waze. These apps tell you the price of gasoline at gas stations near you. 

#2 Stock Up on Discounted Gas Cards

Gas prices aren’t going down anytime soon, so this is a good time to stock up on discounted gift cards. 

Online sites like Raise and Gift Card Granny sell discounted gift cards for grocery stores and gas stations. Gift Card Granny also offers gas station gift cards that offer cash back. 

Be sure to sign up for a fuel rewards program at your frequented gas stations. These reward programs typically offer discounted rates once you purchase a certain amount of fuel.

#3 Plan Your Routes Thoughtfully

Gone are the days when you hop in your car and drive wherever you feel led.

One of the smartest ways to save money on gas is to plan your routes to maximize gas savings. Save on unnecessary trips and errands that are on the way to and from work or your kids’ school.  

Also, Google Maps provides options for the most fuel-efficient routes.

#4 Ride with Others

You are not the only one upset about rising gas prices, and you are not the only person trying to find ways to spend less money on fuel. For this reason, reach out to others to see if they are interested in carpooling to work or kids’ practices. 

#5 Check Your Tire Pressure

A survey by Jiffy Lube found that 60% of car owners only check it if an indicator light in their car turns on.

Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can boost gas mileage by 3% with properly inflated tires.⁴ With today’s prices, that can add up to savings of around $0.15 per gallon.

5 Ways to Save Big Money on Electric Bills

save money on gas and utilities

Like other utilities, many of us are seeing higher electric bills. If you want to save money on utilities like electricity, you may need to make some minor lifestyle changes. For example, if you haven’t already been in the practice of turning off lights when you leave the room, now is the time to start.

Here are 5 ways to save money on your electric bills right now.

#1 Relocate Downstairs

If you have a furnished basement, consider relocating there during the hottest months of summer. Basements stay cooler, so you don’t have to run as much air conditioning.

#2 Close Off  What Isn’t Being Used

Have a guest bedroom or other room that isn’t regularly used? Save on electricity and close off these rooms. Close the vents, draw drapes, and shut the door. 

#3 Take Advantage of Fans

Whenever possible, avoid using your air conditioning. A sizable portion of your energy bill comes from air conditioning. 

Go Banking Rates explains, “A 24,000 BTU central air conditioning system uses about 3,800 watts of power per hour. At $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, you’re paying $0.46 an hour to run this system, which can run 24/7 in warm climates. If that’s the case, your air conditioner could be costing you almost $11 a day, or nearly $340 a month during the summer.”⁵

Since we will still likely be dealing with inflation in cooler months, unplug your air conditioning system when not in use.

According to the U.S. Natural Resource Defense Council, a fan uses 10% of the energy of a central air conditioner.⁶

Go banking Rates explains, “A ceiling fan can be a good alternative to air conditioning. At 35 watts of consumption, leaving your ceiling fan on all day will cost you about 10 cents, which is an outrageous bargain when compared to the $11 a day your air conditioner would cost.”⁷

Open your windows in the cooler evenings and turn on the fans to circulate the cooler air.

#4 Use Smaller Appliances

Whenever possible, use smaller appliances to heat food instead of your oven. Appliances, such as toaster ovens and air fryers, use significantly less energy than the oven.

#5 Turn Down Your Water Heater

Your water heater contributes to your high electric bill. However, it only runs when it is heating water.

Only use hot water when it is necessary. Wash clothes with a cold cycle. And only wash clothes when you have a full load.

Another way to save is to turn down the temperature on your water heater. Most manufacturers have water heater thermostats set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but they only need to be at 120.

According to Energy.gov, “Set too high, or at 140ºF, your water heater can waste anywhere from $36 to $61 annually in standby heat losses. Additional savings will be realized by the lower temperature for consumption (from water demand or use in your home, such as clothes washing, showers, and dishwashing). These may amount to more than $400.”⁸

5 Ways to Save Money on Water Bills

save money on gas and utilities

When you look for ways to save money on utilities, don’t overlook your water bill. Every little bit of water conservation is good for your wallet – and planet earth.

#1 Take Shorter Showers

Your family may hate you for this one, but it does help cut back on water bills. So, make a game of it, and use a timer to encourage family members to try to beat one another’s time. 

#2 Only Run Loads When Full

Only run laundry when you have a full load. The same is true for the dishwasher.

NOTE – It is more cost-effective to run your dishwasher than it is to wash dishes by hand.

#3 Repair Any Leaks

The Charlotte Observer reports, “The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average family wastes about 180 gallons of water per week on leaks alone.”⁹

Save on your water bill by finding and repairing any leaks you have in your home.

#4 Get a Rain Barrel

Now is a great time to invest in a rain barrel (or check to see if your county’s water department provides them for free). Use this water to water plants and wash your car.

#5 Water Your Lawn Seldomly

Only water your lawn when it is absolutely necessary. Even then, set a timer and water the lawn at the most effective times (early morning when it is still dark versus the middle of sunny days).

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Sources:

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2022/07/13/inflation-rate-new-40-year-high-june-cpi/10040997002/
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2022/07/13/inflation-rate-new-40-year-high-june-cpi/10040997002/ 
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-24/electric-bill-increases-worsen-inflation-pain
  4. https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/eere-energy-impacts-self-inflating-tires-could-save-you-money-gas-improve-driving
  5. https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/home/unplug-appliances-save-electricity-bill/
  6. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/keep-your-cool-summer-energy-efficiency
  7. https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/home/unplug-appliances-save-electricity-bill/
  8. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/do-it-yourself-savings-project-lower-water-heating-temperature
  9. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article262209802.html
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