Hey everyone – How about that gorgeous weather last week?  I don’t know about you, but I loved the opportunity to throw open the windows and let in a blast of fresh air.  Heaven.  Thinking ahead, now’s the time to start in with effective frugal tactics to keep upcoming warm weather utility costs to a minimum.   Here are some proven tactics I’ve used to pack a fabulously frugal punch.

(1) Reduce electric dryer dependence.  You guys know I’ve been drying my clothes, the kids’ clothes, sheets, etc. on our clothesline for years now, and it’s taken down costs fabulously.  To create bigger savings this year, I’m going to do all of our towels on the clothesline as well. Yes, I’m the first to admit there is a marked difference in air-dried vs. dryer-dried towels.  Basically, it takes the concept of exfoliation to torturous levels.  That being said, towels are a monster energy hog in the dryer – who needs it?  I’ve heard from local readers that putting air-dried shingle-like towels into the dryer for 5-10 minutes has them coming out fabulously fluffy. Sounds promising. Stay tuned.

(2) New-fangled light bulbs.  I replaced eighteen 60-watt bulbs with the new squigeldy GE Energy Star bulbs (13 watt bulbs that light like 60 watts). Boiling down the math, I’m supposed to save approximately .92 per month per bulb, so these bulbs alone should save me $17/month, or $204/year.  I’ve had these in the house for a while, and believe it or not, they do seem to be bringing down costs.  That, and their reputation would suggest they’ll last somewhere into the 23rd century.  Okay, not that long, but the savings are there, and significant, so it’s a good move if you want to bring down costs.

(3) No more dishwasher use. Again, I’ve had this strategy in play for years, to great success. Energy costs came down huge, this even though I have an “energy efficient” dishwasher!  At this point, I’m using my dishwasher strictly as a drying rack, and running it once every two weeks on low settings just to keep it in good shape.

(4) Turning into the Power Nazi.  At night, and when I leave the house during the day, the computer goes off.  When it’s a bright, summertime day, there’s no need to turn on lights, and by all means, turn off those big screen televisions if they’re not in use! If you’re cooking on the stove, cover pots & turn the heat down to simmer. In my house, if there’s meat to cook during the weekend, my grill-crazy husband is cooking it outdoors, keeping the kitchen delightfully cool.

Now, with all of these strategies in play – and they really are pretty easy to implement – utility costs at the house have been reduced by about 20-30%, and those savings add up fast.  If I can do it, anybody can.  If you find your pretty little blue utility envelopes giving you an itch between the shoulder blades, try any or all of these tactics for a powerful punch in savings.  Frugal On!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs on over 80 Stations Nationwide via the BizTalk Radio Network, find your local station at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com.
She lives with her husband & kids in their fabulous fixer upper Victorian in Chester County, PA.  She is honored to be connected with the crew at the Detox Treatment Help Line (800-287-7891) and Elite Rehab (800-932-4082) to help get the word out about their proven strategies to steer the ones you love away from drug abuse. You can find her online at
www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com