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4 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill As Inflation Remains High

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Even if you haven’t kept up with the latest headlines, you’ve almost certainly noticed the striking effects that inflation has had on your bank account. Energy costs play a significant role, with the newest consumer price index showing a 1.8% monthly jump in the energy index after three declines.

According to a recent LendingTree study, 34% of U.S. households say they reduced or skipped basic expenses, such as medicine or food, to pay an energy bill in the past year. A separate LendingTree survey found that 46% of Americans who were recently late with a payment say that payment was a utility bill.

“Most of the assumptions you made about expenses heading into last winter are probably ridiculously outdated and low,” warns Matt Schulz, LendingTree chief credit analyst. “If you don’t change them, you could end up believing that you have more money to spend than you do, and that can be a really, really unpleasant surprise.”

As winter approaches, it’ll be even more important to find ways to save on energy costs. Here are four steps you should consider as inflation remains high.

4 ways to save on your energy bill as inflation stays high

No. 1: Lower your thermostat

“One of the best things you can do to save money is one of the simplest: set your thermostat lower,” Schulz says. “Even a degree or two lower can lead to significant savings, and all it may require from you is an extra layer of clothing or maybe a heavier blanket at night.”

Of course, your comfort level — as well as how insulated your home is and the outside temperature — will dictate how low you can set it. But it’s worth experimenting to see how low you can go without sacrificing comfort too much.

Similarly, doing things like taking shorter showers and only using your dishwasher or washing machine for full loads can help you save on costs by lowering your energy consumption.

No. 2: See if your energy company offers payment plans

Depending on which company supplies your energy, you may be able to get a payment plan to make your energy costs more manageable over time. After all, you probably won’t need quite as much energy during the spring.

Your energy company may also offer financial assistance programs or discounts to help you cope. For instance, Portland General Electric in Oregon offers an income-qualified bill discount, which can cut costs by up to 25%. New York City’s Con Edison’s Energy Affordability Program also gives people access to fixed discounts on electricity and gas costs.

No. 3: Be strategic about weatherproofing

Weatherstripping around doors and windows can make a big difference,” Schulz says. “For many of us, the openings in our home leak like a sieve, letting precious warmth escape and sending our heating bills into the stratosphere. Spending a little time and money to take care of those issues will pay off throughout the winter.”

Some other weatherproofing methods you may want to consider include:

  • Adding insulation to your water heater
  • Using draft snakes on doors
  • Putting up film insulator kits on windows

As for another source that could help you save, Schulz notes that you’d only need to look outside to find it.

“Let the sunshine in,” he says. “Even just an hour of sunlight in a room can bring a great deal of warmth in and help you control costs.”

No. 4: See if you qualify for government assistance

If you’re having a tough time making your energy payments, assistance programs can help you make it through the winter.

For example, the federally administered Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to help with things like heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance and weatherization and energy-related home repairs.

The income cap for this program depends on the number of people in your household. For example, it’s a maximum of $20,385 for a single individual, up to $69,945 for a household with eight people.

Your state may also offer assistance programs to help you cut down on those costs and keep the heat and lights on. It’s worth checking to see if that’s an option for you.

 

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