Can reducing utility usage really help you save?

February 9, 2024


If your parents ever warned you to turn off the lights when you left the room as a child, you might’ve rolled your eyes. After all, how much money can it actually save?

However, now, as an adult who’s on the hook for the utility bills, you may find yourself telling your kids the same thing. But the truth is one or two small changes to your utility usage will probably not make much of an impact.

Think big

To see a real difference, you have to commit to making changes across the board. If you reduce your total consumption, or learn how to use all of your utilities more efficiently, there’s a good chance that you will start to spend less money every month. Here are some suggestions:


Shorter showers are an easy way to use less water, but there are some other effective measures as well. When you run your shower, put a bucket in the bathtub. Then use the H2O that you collect to irrigate your landscaping. If the whole family participates, you might never have to use a hose or sprinkler system again.

Installing low-flow toilets and efficient shower heads will also reduce your consumption, as will fixing leaky pipes.


Gas use tends to spike in the fall and winter as we heat our homes more often. The obvious tactic is to never turn on the heater, but if you live in, say, North Dakota, it’s not that simple.

How do you cope with the cold while saving? Try turning the thermostat down a few degrees. You’ll be surprised at much this will affect your bill. And don’t forget to turn the heat down when you leave the house.


Try installing energy-efficient light bulbs bearing the Energy Star label throughout your house. You will save up to $75 per year, by one estimate. And speaking of your lights, dimmer switches let you set a lower level of brightness. No, you don’t have to live in the dark—you may not even notice the difference!


Over time, cable and Internet have been lumped in with consumers’ monthly utilities. Every household relies on Internet, but if you do not necessarily need the fastest service, you might be able to select a cheaper option from your provider.

As for cable, do you really need all of those premium channels? Do you really need cable at all? Check out the different streaming services and see if you can still get the shows you want while paying less every month.

Remember, a few tiny adjustments here and there won’t significantly impact your utility costs. But if you and your family make meaningful changes in every category, you can expect to keep more money in your account every month.