It's hot where I live right now and it's probably hot where you live, too. It is summer after all. (Although if it's not stiflingly hot where you live, perhaps don't tell me because I'll just get jealous.)
Utility bills skyrocketing in the summertime is another fun little perk of the season, kind of like all those insects that find their way into our bedrooms and living rooms and kitchens (eww).
But there are smart, easy ways to manage your bills and prevent having a heart attack when you tear open those envelopes.
1) Use ceiling fans. As Anthony pointed out, crank up your ceiling fans as they use less energy than the air conditioner. You'll be surprised how cool you can feel with a high breeze blowing. (And if you don't have ceiling fans, look into making the investment. They're great for a house's resale value.)
Not to mention if you turn up your A/C just three degrees, you can save 20% on your electricity bill. That adds up to a lot of savings!
2) Seek water. Take advantage of all those daylight hours and get outside (and in the water) as much as possible. Check out your neighborhood pool, your local splash pad or water park, or befriend someone with a backyard pool. (Just make sure you turn the air off or at least up before you leave.)
3) Use someone else's A/C. Go to Starbucks or the library to do all the things you usually do at home like pay your bills, blog, work online, email, write birthday cards, menu plan, write to-do lists. Turn off the A/C, unplug the electronics, and turn off all the lights, and do your busy work anywhere BUT your house.
4) Unplug. Take five minutes before bed to unplug everything you used that day: toasters, DVD player, DVR, TV, laptop, cell phones, clocks in rooms you don't sleep in. It won't take you longer than five minutes and, BOY, will you save money. (And if you don't use something daily, it shouldn't be plugged in daily!)
5) Reduce water use. One small tip, if you have small kids, give them a bath in the sink vs the tub. You'll save a lot of water that way. (As an extra tip, save that bath water and dump it over some plants in the garden!)
6) Share with your neighbors. I love Jeanne's great ideas for sharing expenses with neighbors from Internet service to a garbage cans.
Do you have any tips to keep your utility bills manageable this summer?
Image via Flickr/midnightcomm