How to Save On Monthly Bills If You're Working from Home

Feb 3, 2021
Save On Monthly Bills

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been working from home for the better part of the last year, using more utilities than ever, increasing their monthly expenses. Despite some industries returning to the workplace, many companies plan to maintain work-from-home models indefinitely, so we’ve listed some tips and tricks to help you lower your monthly bills.

Saving Money on Your Electric Bill

When working from home, there are more phones, computers, tablets, and other electronics plugged in around the clock. This constant consumption can cause a significant increase in your bill, especially if you and your partner are both working from home, or if you have children who are learning from home. Because of this, a heightened bill is almost inevitable, but you can control how much your bill increases by following some of the following tips:

To help mitigate this increase, be mindful and unplug each device once it finishes charging, as this can not only help lower your bill, but also optimize your device’s battery, improving its overall battery health.

This also goes for appliances that aren’t in use—letting them run all day can run up the cost of your bill. Most of the time, you’ll know if a device is on if there is any sort of light indication, or if it displays a digital clock. Consider plugging appliances you use less frequently into a power strip so you can conveniently cut off power to them, rather than having to unplug each appliance individually. If you do go this route, be sure to get a power strip that has a surge protector so your appliances are protected in the event of a storm or power outage. The only thing worse than paying more for your bill is paying to replace a costly appliance!

You should also try to take advantage of daylight as much as you can, because being home with the lights on all day—or even for the majority of the day—can cause a significant increase in the cost of your bill. Try out the “15-Minute Rule,” which states that when leaving a room, you should turn the lights off unless you plan to return within 15 minutes or less to avoid unintentionally leaving lights on for hours.

And on days when the weather is nice and the sun is out, try your best to not turn the lights on until the sun starts to set. Similarly, if you have a room in your home that gets a lot of sun during the day, you can either work out of that room to negate the need for artificial light, or you may even be able to close the vent in that room, which can reroute heat/air to the rest of the house, circulating more heat to the rooms you’re in so you can enjoy them and keep your bill lower.

Another way to lower your electric bill is to simply minimize dirt, dust, and dander in the home, as these can all cause your heating and cooling system to work harder as the particles hinder air circulation, costing you more money in the long run. Make a recurring reminder to replace your air filters each month, or consider switching to permanent air filters to constantly and mindlessly promote effective air flow.

Saving Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

If you have a job that requires you to make a lot of calls and your company hasn’t yet integrated a program like Zoom or Google Teams, you’re likely using your cell phone in the absence of company phones designed for conference calls.

Reach out to your employer to see if they are willing to compensate you for your cell phone bill, or at least the increase in minutes and data usage that can be attributed to work-related calls, as many companies already have compensation plans in place.

If your employer pushes back, pull a few phone bills for comparison’s sake to show your employer how much your bill has increased. If your employer still isn’t willing to do compensate you, consider switching plans to a cheaper alternative for the time being.

Saving Money on Your Water Bill

Now that you’re working from home and not the office, you’re using more water in your home flushing toilets, washing your hands, doing more dishes, and more.

You can’t get around needing to use your toilet and sink rather than the one in the office, but when thinking about the other ways you utilize water during the day, there are ways you can cut down on the amount used in an effort to minimize your bill.

For example, it can be very tempting to run a quick load of dishes or laundry since you’re home all day and have the flexibility of doing so, but this can increase the cost of your bill, especially if you’re not running full loads. Rather than running a small load of dishes or hand-washing them, stash them in the dishwasher until you have enough dirty dishes (approx. 8) to run an energy- and cost-effective load.

Similarly, wait until you have enough dirty clothes to run a full load in the washer. Though it’s not as convenient, stockpile whites and other light-colored clothing until you can run a full load, unless you really need whatever is dirty.If you absolutely need to run a half load, consider running a quick wash cycle or setting the soil level to low so the machine uses less water.

And most importantly, remember to never let the water run when you’re not using it!

Although working from home can be taxing in many ways, it provides a unique opportunity to catch leaks, running toilets, flickering lights, and other oddities that may be impacting your bills, so take this time to walk through your home with a fine-toothed comb to can catch anything that may be running up your bill. If you’re still seeing a hefty increase after a few months, consider reaching out to your provider to see if they can share insights into why this may be the case.

Erin Elis 
Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
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