Saving Electricity In Ways You Might Not Have Thought

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Saving money on electricity is more than just turning off unused lights. Saving real money – cold, hard CASH – on your electric bill is easy. If you know where to look…

Saving Electricity Can Save Money. There are many ways to reduce your electricity waste to save money in your budget #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

Saving More Money On Monthly Bills

Last week I shared a two-part segment on how RancherMan & I make ends meet while living and working here on our homestead without the comfort of a regularly-scheduled corporate salary infusion.

Those posts were wildly popular! There are lots of you hungrily looking for ways to cut back!  Whether planning to make the leap to self employment or just looking for ways to stretch your dollars.

Now last week I pointed out that researching for the lowest cost on anything you buy is important. But it’s doubly important to research & reduce your month-to-month obligations. Those bills are going to come around not just once, but Every. Single. Month.

Think about your recurring monthly bills for a moment. Have you just been paying them when the bill arrives without giving them another thought?

Are you getting what you paid for, or Paying Extra For Nothing? Well it’s time to take a good hard look at them. 

Oftentimes you can cut out wasted money spent.  Today Let’s Look At Electricity.

Choose An Electric Provider

A large portion of a typical monthly budget goes toward paying for electricity. So paying attention to this expense is important.

In Texas we have the benefit of electric company competition – you can choose the electric provider (and the rate) that works best for you.

If it’s been a while since you’ve researched electric rates it might be a good idea to grab a cup of coffee and sit at your computer to check it out. The difference may make a huge impact in your recurring month-to-month electric expense.

For Texas there’s even an online tool to help compare electric providers & rates –>

Check to see if electric competition exists in the state where you live – if so this research could save you a bundle.

Saving Electricity Can Save Money. Be sure you're getting your money's worth with electricity. #TexasHomesteader

Whatever electricity company or rate you choose, be sure to waste as little of it as you can.

I’m not talking about sitting around in the dark or lighting candles (although there are times when that’s fun) I’m talking about WASTE.

How can you cut back on electricity that you’re not even aware you’re wasting?

Sneaky Electricity Vampires Waste Electricity

Well did you know that many electronics sip electricity even when they’re turned off?

Oh yeah, that DVD player is sitting at the ready waiting for you to point the remote at it to turn it on. And by sitting at the ready, it’s quietly sipping electricity. Even though it’s turned OFF!

Also cell phone chargers, coffee pots, anything controlled with a remote control or has a timer/clock is an energy vampire.

Those appliances are slowly sipping electricity 24/7, even when they’re not being used!

Here’s a simple solution. We have power strips that are used for many of our electronics. A quick flip of the switch when we go to bed at night turns off a whole group of those potential vampires.

Saving Electricity Can Save Money. There are many ways to reduce your electricity waste to save money in your budget #TexasHomesteader

Only Use The Light You Need

And everyone knows it’s easy to use either efficient LED or compact fluorescent bulbs in all your light sockets. But it’s also important to only use the lights you actually need.

We have a small lamp in the living room that’s often the only light needed in the evenings when we’re snuggled on the couch watching TV.

And remember last week when I spoke about that large mirror I wanted in our dining room? 

The reason I wanted a larger-sized mirror and the reason I wanted it mounted where I did is because a well-placed mirror will reflect light deeper into the house.

Large barnwood mirror embellished with antique barbed wire and white straw cowboy hats. #TexasHomesteader

So the need for electric lighting to be used has been reduced simply by placing a large mirror in a strategic spot.

You can also add light simply by opening the blinds and using that natural light for FREE!

Solar Energy Can Be FREE!

How about saving electricity used for cooling your home or for cooking? Since it’s typically very hot & humid during our NE Texas summers I do my best to keep that cooking heat outside whenever possible.

It’s not unusual to see a jar of sun tea brewing on the picnic table in our back yard.

And I even have a *solar oven to be able to do much of my actual COOKING outside.

I get double bonus points here! Not only am I keeping that cooking heat outside but also I’m not paying for cooking fuel.

The sun is offering it’s amazing cooking energy for FREE. I really like free, how about you?

Passive Solar Needs No Expensive Upgrades

When we were thinking about house design way back when, we designed the house with a passive solar design.

  • House built in a rectangular shape, long walls facing north & south.

  • Smaller windows on the north side. (shade from summer sun)

  • Larger windows on the south side. (capture winter sun)

  • NO windows on the west where the hottest sun hits at the end of the day.

  • Open floorplan to allow light throughout.

Although not everyone is in the house-building stage I urge you to think about passive solar principles in your own home. That’s where you can #UseWhatchaGot to use solar energy to your advantage for FREE!

A simple example is how you use your window coverings. You can open or close blinds and drapes to either capture or repel the sun’s light & heat.

Saving Electricity With Solar Window Screens

And speaking of passive solar, in our area we deal more harshly with summer’s heat than we do with winter’s cold.

We found out how easy and inexpensive it was to make solar screens ourselves. So we did.

Saving Electricity Can Save Money. There are many ways to reduce your electricity waste to save money in your budget #TexasHomesteader

We only needed these removable screens for a few windows on one side of our home. So we were able to slash the price of those screens by picking up regular window-screen frame materials and some special *solar screen cloth.

I’m here to tell ya it makes a HUGE difference in reducing the heat transfer through those windows during the heat of summer!

But here’s the deal, we remove those screens when summer’s heat starts to wane. That allows the warming sun to hit those same windows to bring that welcome heat and light inside during the drab cold winter months.

Drying Clothes For FREE

Another place to save chunks of money is by not using the dryer. Clothes dryers are energy hogs!

So I hang our clothes outside on our double-line *Retractable Clothesline.

Saving Electricity Can Save Money. There are many ways to reduce your electricity waste to save money in your budget #TexasHomesteader

Now this is certainly not a sacrifice for me, I absolutely LOVE the smell of line-dried clothes!

But when the weather’s not right for hanging clothes outside such as rainy or cold weather I have a couple of * folding clothes racks that I set up in our guest room to dry our clothes.

Folding portable laundry rack to dry clean clothes. #TexasHomesteader

The beautiful thing is that when the clothes are dry, each of my drying options store away neatly out of sight.

I could go on & on but you get the idea.

I think the biggest thing to remember here is to look at your recurring monthly electricity bill with a critical eye and eliminate the waste that you’re unwittingly paying for.

And of course the beauty to me about all of these things is they speak to my crunchy-green heart.

Many times by eliminating waste you’re lowering your eco footprint as well as your expenses.

She shoots, she SCORES!


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13 thoughts on “Saving Electricity In Ways You Might Not Have Thought

  1. Betty

    Thanks for sharing. This is the first time that I heard about solar cloth.

  2. Leigh

    Marvelous ideas! We’re farther north and keeping the electric bill low in winter weather is a challenge! Thank you so much for this. I’ll share it on my Facebook page this evening.
    Blessings, Leigh

  3. Bobbie

    We did some updating on our old home before we put it on the market. One of the things we added was a new dishwasher. My husband just couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t use the new dishwasher. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had noticed that the farm we were moving to didn’t have a dishwasher. When we moved in, he immediately wanted to buy a new dishwasher. NOPE! Don’t need one. I’ll continue to wash and dry our dishes by hand.
    Now that we are here, we have made some changes. We normally finish dinner when it’s dark — you know, staying out late working on the new farm until the last second of light. So anyway, after dinner I rinse the dishes only. Then lights go out in the kitchen. The next morning (after a couple of cups of coffee), I get started on the dishes — but because it’s morning and light comes through the window — there is no need to turn on the light. And now hubby stands next to me, drying the dishes and we have some of the best conversations over doing the dishes together every morning.
    It’s a WIn-Win situation for us.
    When I called our electric company to set up our new account, a lady informed me that the previous owners normal MONTHLY electrical bill was $400! What? We have two bills, one for the well and one for the house. I have yet to see $100 electric bills. It definitely pays to watch yourself – turn off lights, unplug what you can, and do as much as you can in the daylight. I don’t have a clothes line yet – but have always had one and normally hung my clothes out. Now I’m using a vintage clothes wrack that I picked up at an estate sale years ago (just because I thought it was cool). Ha! Now it’s getting used constantly and I’m grateful to have it.
    Every little bit of effort one puts into saving electricity, food costs, etc., adds up to a lot of saved money that can be used for the important things!

  4. April G

    This is interesting. I never thought about DIY solar screen. Very creative and cost effective.

  5. Terri Presser

    What great hints to help reduce our electricity bill. Thank you for sharing them at Good Morning Mondays. We have solar panels on our roof that feed power back into the system and we usually make enough power off the roof to save us paying for any electricity. It is such a blessing. Blessings to you and Rancher Man.

  6. JES

    Great tips! We also turn on certain appliances like our washer after 11 PM because the rates go down. Thank you for sharing your wonderful posts on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week!

  7. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    It is amazing how much money we can save when we are intentional. I run my appliances on the shortest cycles possible, turn off, unplug, use the dryer as little as possible, take shorter showers, etc. Solar power is a dream of ours! We’ll see…. Thanks for the post!

  8. Gentle Joy

    These are good points…. in our house, w/ so many boys into cell phones… fixing, collecting, etc, there seems to be a lot of them plugged in all of the time…. we have addressed it before, but this reminds me to check on that again. 🙂 Thank you.

  9. Amy @ Tenth Acre Farm

    We literally just contacted the electric company to switch providers.

    We got a note in the mail from our current provider, informing us that our account would auto-renew for another year at such-and-such rate. When we looked into what our current rate was, it turns out they were going to almost double our rate in the new year without telling us.

    So we instantly switched providers. It’s all a scam, and you’re absolutely right, being vigilant with your month-to-month utility providers is a great way to save money. They will almost always give you a better deal if you call!

  10. CTY

    Just some food for thought: Whenever you flip the switch off on a surge protector strip you are also turning off the surge protection feature and your electronics are no longer protected. I still use the strips, however I simply unplug the protector from the wall socket–everything is protected, and plugging/unplugging is quick & easy.

  11. ColleenB.

    Gosh, I haven’t had a clothes dryer for at least 25 years or more. Just never replaced it after it quit working and have been hanging up my clothes to dry ever since. A clothes dryer will also wear out your clothes much quicker. Just take a look at the lint compartment.
    Our living room windows face the southwest so we get all the afternoon Texas heat beating in but after putting on solar screens some years ago sure made a big difference not only making it cooler in the living room but also saved on the electric bill.
    Only light we have on in the evening comes from the TV and have the light on above the stove in the kitchen or else it’s our night light.
    I have a little sign in our hall / guest bathroom (mostly for our grandkids); ‘If you turn it on, Shut it off’; ‘If you washed your hands, turn off the water’; ‘ If you used the towel, hang it back up ;’ ‘ if you used the toilet, Flush it.’ Even on the toilet seat I put; (for the boys / men) on the top side; ‘Lift Me Up’ and on the underneath side, ‘Put Me Down’ all painted on in big black letters.

    1. Carol

      I use himalayan salt lamps with dimmer switches. They are very healthy for you, and they have replaced my night lights. It actually replaces any lighting I needed in the living room and bedrooms at night. They take a small night light bulb, so they aren’t using any more electricity than a night light would, AND they are healthy for you! I got mine at Amazon

  12. Patricia

    Love these types if articles. We practice much of the same things that you do. This year I sold my gently used dryer and freed space in the laundry/mud room (that isn’t air conditioned or heated ) for the deep freeze. That helps keep the cooled part of the house cooler by not having the deep freeze compressor running in the kitchen! 🙂
    I live in Texas too- but we are members of an electro co-op— I don’t think we can switch in this area- but being members we are given a kick back periodically. I honestly don’t know too much about it. But wanted to say– most electric companies– the co-op does this- will come and walk through and give pointers on where electricity is wasted in your home. Worth an afternoon to save year round.
    Phantom electricity is something I combat too! It’s amazing how much waste there is there.
    I’m interested in solar cooking– I find it fascinating. I’m going to do some more research there.
    Kudos on making your own solar screens AND SWITCHING THEM SEASONALLY. My son in law has his own business and these installments aren’t cheap!
    Great post— sorry to hog the comments;)


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