With people out of jobs and income unsure during COVID-19, it’s important now more than ever to do these 5 simple things that can help you save money inside your home.
Note, some of these savings might be minimal but it’s the thought that counts, especially over the long term.
1. Air Dry Your Clothes
According to my electric company right outside of New York City, the current price for electricity in May 2020 is $0.06468/kWh.
That’s about 6.468 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
The average dryer uses 4 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in one hour.
We usually dry our clothes for one hour.
So that’s 6.468 cents/kWh X 4 kWh = 25.872 cents to run the dryer.
There’s 8 people in my home right now.
And some of us do more than one load per week in the dryer.
So let’s round up to 10 loads of laundry in the dryer per week.
10 loads X 25.872 cents per load to run the dryer = 258.72 cents/week in electric cost.
Times 52 weeks a year that’s 13,453.44 cents to run the dryer for the year.
Put into dollars, that’s $134.53 a year in dryer cost.
According to the U.S. census website, there are about 120,000,000 households in America, with an average of 2.63 people per household.
For the sake of easy math, I’m going to assume all households do just ONE load of laundry in the dryer per week.
If even just TEN PERCENT of households switch to air drying their clothes, that’s 12,000,000 less loads PER WEEK.
Here’s my armchair math analysis of how much we could collectively save:
25.872 cents to run the dryer/week X 12,000,000 households = $3,104,640/week saved in collective electricity cost.
Times 52 weeks a year = $161,441,280 saved annually!
And that’s just if only 10% of American households choose to air dry their clothes.
Not to mention this math is with my New York suburban electricity.
There are some people living in areas where the kWh is 15 cents instead of 6 cents, and some where the cost is cheaper.
“But I live in a tiny apartment in a basement that doesn’t see sunlight and my place is always humid and damp,” you say.
That’s okay, you do your best.
If we collectively pooled together our effort, the net positive impact we can have on society, the environment, and the world would be amazing.
Also, in the case of my household, for example, we only save about $135 a year if we air dry.
Even though that might seem minuscule in terms of savings, that’s money that could be put toward paying down your home mortgage or student loans faster, or investing toward reaching FIRE.
If you just put that $135/year savings into a small interest earning savings account, you might have about $4000 to $5000 in 30 years.
But if you put that into the Vanguard’s SP500 index mutual fund, for example, every year, assuming a modest 6% return on your investments, with compound interest, you might have $10,000 after 30 years.
That’s about a $4000-6000 more worth for your money that you “saved” from air drying your clothes.
Below is a screenshot of a compound interest calculator with the numbers.
2. Unplug Everything You Don’t Use
Phantom energy is the electricity your appliances and tech use by staying plugged in, even when you don’t use them.
Your cellphone charger, TV, laundry machines, dishwasher, lamps, desktop computers, microwave, etc., all contribute to phantom energy usage in your home because they stay “on” in the background in case you turn them on and they need to be used right away.
It’s a waste of money and costs the average home 10% of their annual electric bill.
My family’s monthly electric bill is anywhere from $400 to $800 a month, depending on how many people turn on their AC in the summer or heating in the winter.
If we were to assume a $600 average per month, that’s $7200 a year for electricity.
If phantom energy accounts for about 10% of that, that’s $720 wasted per year in phantom energy.
I’ve been having difficulty trying to convince my family to unplug everything every time they’re done using it.
But sadly, they don’t listen and continue to pay higher electric costs out of convenience.
My girlfriend and I unplug everything when it comes to our own appliances, own rooms, and own business and I think it’s helped us save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Again, you can reinvest the money you save in investments with compound interest to reach FIRE faster or to pay down debts like student loans or credit card payments.
If we all unplug whatever we’re not using, I think it can collectively help Americans save millions of dollars in wasted electricity.
3. Put Aerators On All Your Sinks If You Haven’t Already
Aerators are these little things you attach under the faucet.
It has mesh that cut up the water flow and “adds air” to it.
The benefit is two-fold: you reduce water waste AND save money on your water bill.
Most faucet heads come with aerators now-adays but I’ve been scouring all of google and youtube to see if there’s any mention on being able to connect two aerators on top of each other to save even more water and so far no luck.
4. Grow your own herbs and veggies
If you live in an apartment and don’t have access to land, you can grow herbs in your window.
If you cut the butts off of scallions, they grow back fully when replanted in dirt and placed by the window.
Most of the herbs you buy will regrow if you plant their stalks in dirt and water them by the window for sunlight.
Basil, scallions, etc.
While this sounds nice, I understand that it might not save you much money, maybe a couple dollars of scallions a year, but it’s the thought that counts.
If you have access to land, growing your own tomatoes, basil, eggplant, broccoli etc. could help you save money from buying it in the store.
Plus it’ll distract you from covid-19 because you’ll be outside gardening, getting sunshine and fresh air.
You can even start growing your own microgreens!
One little microgreen can pack over 40 times more nutrients than its adult form.
Plus, you can even try to start selling them to the neighbors and farmers market.
5. Turn off the lights whenever you leave the room
This one sounds simple but it needs to be said.
Even before covid-19, I turned off all the lights whenever I left a room.
Sadly, I’m the only one in my family to do so.
For example, they might go into the living room, then leave the light on for hours after they leave the living room.
If we all collectively turned off the lights whenever we leave a room and no one else is in there, we could save millions of kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
This would not only reduce our own electric bill, but also the electric burden on America as a whole.
And because a lot of electricity is still produced by fossil fuels, we can reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and collectively do better for the environment.
It might take some work but if we all did a combination of these 5 things inside our home, we might be able to reduce a lot of the burden on the utilities grid in America.
By doing so, we can create a better environment for our children to grow up in.
Not to mention reduce a lot of monetary cost from our own lives and we can collectively save hundreds of millions of dollars a year as a society.
And if the rest of the world started doing this too, we can all collectively save billions of dollars, reduce a lot of fossil fuel usage, and create a better/greener global environment for all of us and our children.
It all starts in the home.