Often, when I talk to friends on the east coast, they are surprised how mild the winters in Colorado can be compared to the northeast. This winter has been mild as well, with the exception of a string of days in late December, when we finally got hit with some colder temperatures. But most of you are familiar with how Colorado works; it’s 60 degrees outside today!
If you think about it, your utilities bill is similar to your credit card bill. You get it once a month and, by the time you get it, you don’t really remember what transpired during the last few weeks that led to the total at the bottom. By the time the bill comes, you have to look back at the statement to remember what you bought. While my credit card is pretty consistent throughout the year, it does get a heavier workout during specific seasons, like the holidays.
My utilities bill is much the same. We’re pretty consistent in how much energy and water we use. However, like many of you, I nudged my thermostat up a bit during the cold nights during the holiday season, to stay comfortable at home. So, when my utilities bill comes this month, I’ll have to remind myself of the cold weather we experienced and my frequent trips to the thermostat. Like my credit card bill, though, it’s a delayed response.
Here are a few tips to help keep your bill down when the weather turns colder.
- Add an extra layer of clothing or cover yourself with a blanket.
- If you do turn up the heat, cut back somewhere else – turn down your water heater a little or wash your clothes in cold water instead of warm or hot.
- Seal those air leaks that let the cold air into your home.
- Open your blinds/curtains during the day and use the power of the sun to warm your home. Close them at night to help keep the cold air from entering your rooms.
Two other tools/programs to keep your budget in tact when the temperature changes are Budget Billing and My Usage.
- Budget Billing takes the ups and downs out of your bill by averaging your past bills so you pay the same amount each month.
- My Usage is an online tool that allows you to see how much electricity, natural gas and/or water you’re using on a daily basis. If you see that you are using more one day, you can cut back another to keep your bill in line.
So, when you get your bill, don’t forget how you reacted to the weather over the holidays. The bottom line is that your bill always reflects how much you use.