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10 Easy Hacks That Could Save You Energy and Money At Home

10 Easy Hacks That Could Save You Energy and Money At Home

Electricity is a utility that we take for granted. There are a lot of places around the world that don’t have good electrical infrastructures and the fact that we only lose power during natural disasters is actually pretty awesome. That said, electricity can also be expensive. In 2012, the average U.S. household uses 903 kilowatts of electricity every year. That’s a lot. Here are some easy hacks to help you save money on energy.

1. Insulate your windows

Your windows can be the bane of your existence. During the summer, the heat will come in almost unimpeded and in the winter, the cold will do the same thing. You can fix this! You can create your own plastic window covers or simply use blankets or other items in your house to cover them up. It won’t let as much sunlight in but it will help keep the heat and cold out. These can help save you money on your electricity bill and gas bill because your heating and cooling won’t have to work so hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Another good idea is the draft stopper.

2. Pack your freezer more tightly

easy hacks

    When you open your freezer, all the freezing cold air is going to come out. That means when you close it the freezer has to produce more and that can get expensive over time. A way to prevent this is to pack your freezer full of stuff. You can do things like bags of ice or even newspaper if you have it laying around. When your freezer is packed, it keeps the cold air in. That means your freezer works less and uses less electricity.

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    3. Air dry your cloths

    There really isn’t an efficient way to wash your cloths by hand (nor has there ever been) so telling people to not use a washer is kind of hard to do. Dryers, on the other hand, can be removed from the equation entirely and it’s all good. By air drying your cloths, you’re essentially cutting out all of the electricity that the dryer uses. Dryers use a lot of energy thanks to its heating element and we’re sure the mechanism to spin the drum is using a bunch too. Save money and energy by putting up some cloths lines and hanging up wet cloths to dry.

    4. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs

    easy hacks

      Light bulbs are among the most energy hungry things people use. They don’t use a lot of electricity on their own. However, when you have half a dozen lights on all day and night, things start adding up. According to Energy Star, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL bulbs) use up to 75 percent less energy. That means every four days a CFL bulb stays on it uses as much energy as a regular light bulb does for one.

      5. Turn off your power strip that your electronics are connected to

      Even if your electronics are turned off, they’re still sapping energy. They’re called “vampire devices” because they keep a little bit of electricity going so they can respond more quickly to things like being turned back on. By turned off the power strip you effectively cut off all electricity to your electronics so they don’t use electricity without you knowing.

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      6. Wear more cloths and turn down the heat (and vice versa)

      easy hacks

        In the winter, put on that hoodie and turn your heat down a few degrees so that your heating doesn’t have to work so hard. Likewise, in the summer, wear less cloths or more flowy cloths so your AC doesn’t have to work so hard. By turning your thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter, you can save literally hundreds of dollars a year in utility expenses. Heating and cooling is easily the most expensive thing in your house if you use them constantly. By turning them down (or off when you can), you’ll save a bunch of money.

        7. Get solar panels

        One of the best ways to save electricity is to produce your own. There are grants available to get solar panels put on your house for cheap or even for free if you qualify. If you get the free panels, they’ll be contributing back to the electric grid and you won’t pay an electric bill at all. If they’re not producing enough, you’ll just use the electric as normal. Harnessing the power of the sun is a great way to save money and go green. If you get them there’s a good chance they’ll also be installed for you so there’s actually very little effort on your part.

        8. Manage your ceiling fans

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        easy hacks

          If you use your ceiling fan right you can save a lot of money. When the air blows down, it helps cool the room and keep you comfortable. Using this and turning your AC down you can save money that way. In the winter you turn the fan the other way. Then it pulls cold air up and away to help keep you warm. Admittedly, it’s more effective in the winter than in the summer but every little bit helps, right?

          9. Plant trees!

          According to sources, planting trees near the south and southeastern parts of your house can save you a ton of money every year. During the summer, the sun will beat down on your house which heats it up. With the trees in place, the sun’s harsh rays can’t make it to your house and that helps keep things cooler. It’s been estimated that you can save up to 25 percent during the summer months. Plus, trees look nice.

          10. Wash your cloths in cold water

          easy hacks

            Our last hack is really easy. Just turn the washer to wash using only cold water. Studies have shown that 90 percent of the energy a washer uses comes from heating up the water to use in the wash. If you wash in cold water you can avoid pretty much all of the energy cost. There aren’t many benefits of using hot water to cold water anyway (unless you have some seriously dirty cloths) so you’re not missing out on much. It’s been estimated that a load of laundry on cold settings cost about $0.03 in energy.

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            None of these hacks are going to save you all that much money on their own. However, if you combined all of them and keep an eye on the obvious stuff (turn off lights when you leave a room), you can save a pretty substantial amount of money. The most important thing is consistency. If you’re gong to try one of these, keep at it! It doesn’t help if you only do these things once or twice.

            Featured photo credit: Reflective ES via reflectivees.com

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            Joseph Hindy

            A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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            Last Updated on March 30, 2020

            20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

            20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

            Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

            If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

            1. Create a Daily Plan

            Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

            2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

            Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

            3. Use a Calendar

            Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

            I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

            Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

            4. Use an Organizer

            An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

            These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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            5. Know Your Deadlines

            When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

            But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

            6. Learn to Say “No”

            Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

            Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

            7. Target to Be Early

            When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

            For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

            Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

            8. Time Box Your Activities

            This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

            You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

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            9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

            Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

            10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

            Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

            You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

            11. Focus

            Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

            Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

            Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

            12. Block out Distractions

            What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

            I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

            When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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            Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

            13. Track Your Time Spent

            When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

            You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

            14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

            You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

            Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

            15. Prioritize

            Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

            Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

            16. Delegate

            If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

            When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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            17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

            For related work, batch them together.

            For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

            1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
            2. coaching
            3. workshop development
            4. business development
            5. administrative

            I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

            18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

            What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

            One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

            While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

            19. Cut off When You Need To

            The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

            Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

            20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

            Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

            More Time Management Tips

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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