A New York politician became a meme when he stood on stage and announced the name of his political party: The rent is too darn high! But for many people, their rent or mortgage is the biggest expense in their budget after taxes. Sadly, there’s not much you can do to lower your rent unless you choose to move. However, you can take steps to lower your utility bills. This in turn will lower the overall costs of living in your home or apartment.

Shop Around

One of the best ways to save money on your utilities is to compare electricity prices and other services on iSelect. You could save 10 percent or more just by switching to another provider as a new customer. You could also save money by bundling services. For example, you could save money by getting gas and electricity from the same provider.

Choose Your Service Based on Your Needs

Going over your limits; one of the most common reasons people get hit with high bills. For example, your low charge per kilowatt hour skyrockets if you use more than 2000 or 3000 kilowatts of power in a month. Or your phone bill soars because you hit your data limit. In these situations, you might save money just by switching to a plan that matches your usage level. Select a phone and internet plan that won’t penalise you for your standard data usage, and don’t choose a plan that won’t give you the bandwidth you need. The modest joy of saving money on a cheaper plan is eroded every time you are left waiting for video to load or have your stream interrupted. Also be careful of signing up for plans that give you discounts and deals. Check the terms and conditions and make sure you’ll actually be able to receive them.

Look for Ways to Reduce Usage

Don’t forget that you have it in your power to reduce your energy and water usage. Add insulation to the attic and walls. Put up insulated drapes. Turn off the faucet and shower when you aren’t using it. Only run appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine when they’re fully loaded. Don’t let the dryer run until you get around to emptying it. Turn off extra cycles you don’t need, whether it’s a second rinse of your dirty clothes or heated dry cycle in the dishwasher. Turn off lights when not in use. Turn off your computer if it isn’t actively downloading and installing updates. Unplug electronics like your smart phone after it’s charged. You could take things further by turning off power strips so that it switches off everything plugged into that power outlet. Open the window to let in natural light instead of turning on the lights. Consider letting sheets and clothes air dry instead of running them through the clothes dryer.

Elliot Preece