Am I really saying that you can save electricity by doing absolutely nothing?
Yes, I am.
Not only that but when you save electricity, you save money.
And what’s even better than just saving money, not using as much electricity is good for the environment, as you are using less fossil fuels.
But really? How can you save money on your electricity bill by doing absolutely nothing?
There are lots of ways to save money on your energy bills, especially during the winter months but this one is not only the simplest, it’s potentially the most money saving of them all.
Doing just this one thing has the potential to save you 20% or more on your electricity bill.
That’s a good chunk of money right back in your pocket every month.
Related eco friendly post: 50 Frugal Habits That Are Also Eco Friendly
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
How To Save Electricity – The Tip
Unplug every electrical appliance you aren’t using right now.
I actually feel a little silly talking about this because in many ways I reckon you know this tip already. I did but I wasn’t doing it, not properly.
But are you actually doing it? Fully and completely? Probably not because I certainly wasn’t and I thought I was a super frugalista!
Many appliances these days have mini on board computers and electronic elements to them and these draw down electricity even when you are not using them.
Any appliances that have a little green or red light to show you they are on or in standby mode are using your money and your electricity to tell you that.
Any charger or appliance that kicks in as soon as you add something like a phone or camera or toothbrush to it means it’s on standby and using some of your money to keep it ready to go.
Phantom Electricity Users
Here are just a few of the things that were using this phantom electricity in our home:
- Phone chargers
- Laptop charger
- Washing machine
- Electric toothbrush charger
- DVD player
- Coffee machine
Like you I knew about the tip to switch things off to save energy. I am great at turning lights off when I leave the room (and turning them off when others leave them on).
And I don’t leave the TV or radio on when we are not listening to them.
But turning everything else off? No, I hadn’t got that far. After all, how much money can it actually save you?
That’s how much we saved.
20% on our electricity bill in just one month! Now that’s worth saving isn’t it?
More money saving posts:
How To Save Electricity: What We Did
(This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more here)
In the summer months our gas bill for hot water and heating is negligible, literally a few pounds, mainly made up of the daily standing charge.
But I noticed our electricity bill is no lower in summer really than winter. Yet we have the lights on for less time so surely that would make a some difference to our bill?
And having followed all the other frugal ways to save money on utility bills I felt it was time to revisit tips that perhaps we say yes to but don’t actually follow properly.
I read our meters every month so our bills accurately reflect our usage. It helps to then see when bills month on month are going up. And when they go down.
After I read my electricity meter I went round our entire house (it’s not that big so I didn’t have to walk far) and unplugged every single electrical and electronic item I could.
What I turned off:
- Cable box (I turned it off every night before bed and it went on again the following day when TV was back on)
- DVD player (it’s used about once a month, why did I have it plugged in?)
- Microwave (it’s not built in so the plug is easily accessible)
- Broadband router (turned off at night)
- Computer cable
- Phone charger
- Washing machine (socket is easily accessible)
- Electric shower
- Oven (we have a socket above the work surface so easily accessible and I never set the clock anyway)
- Coffee machine
- Fridge & Freezer (for obvious reasons)
- Dishwasher – it’s integral so I cannot access the plug as it’s behind the built in appliance
- Alarm clock – too much faff to be resetting it every night when I am too tired to think
- Dryer – I don’t have one to turn off!
- Lamps and main lights– they don’t draw electricity when switched off.
For one month I had absolute focus on keeping all these appliances turned off the moment we didn’t use them.
Mr2p was skeptical about this experiment so I followed him around just to make sure he didn’t inadvertently sabotage my money saving challenge!
Electricity Savings Results
I made sure I read my meter exactly 1 month later to find the results.
Of course when I provide these to my electricity company it takes them 24 hours to produce my online bill. After a tense 24 hours the results were:
(Actually it was 19.76% but who’s counting?)
Convenience And Saving Electricity
Now going around and turning everything off takes a little getting used to and if you’ve got a bunch of electrical items around your TV like we have it can be a bit of a faff.
So the next month we invested in a power strip for the TV, Cable box and DVD player.
When we want to watch TV we turn it on, but when not in use none of these items are in standby mode which is what uses your phantom electricity.
The power strip still use electricity when they are turned on – you can tell because of the little red light. But having all your equipment plugged into one means you only need to turn one thing off not many.
For our computer/office equipment we invested in a surge protector. These work the same as a power strip but also protect your equipment from power surges.
Surge protectors are little bit more expensive but as an insurance policy against your equipment being fried in an outage, totally worth it.
Inconveniences To Saving Electricity
What downsides can there be to saving 20% on your electricity bill?
Not many but I have to be honest and say there are a few downsides, or things I consider to be niggles.
But niggles are worth having if they are saving you money right?
NIGGLE ONE – You don’t easily get used to the idea of having to turn appliances like your kettle and microwave on before using them.
I can’t tell you how many times I ‘boiled’ the kettle, only to find it was still switched off at the wall.
NIGGLE TWO – If husband or other family members are not with you on this money saving mission, you could end up feeling like the electricity police.
Do it for one month and see how much you can save. Then you have a much better chance of getting them to join in.
NIGGLE THREE – If you have cable then switching it off and back on again means it can take a little time to ‘warm up’ and turn on. Mine takes about 8 minutes (yes I have timed it because yes it can be a little annoying).
I know it’s not super frugal to have but Mr2p lurves his sports channels and I don’t have the heart to deny him now times aren’t so tight.
NIGGLE FOUR – Again if you have cable and have a series link on any shows, they will not record when your router is turned off. It took me about 5 years (honestly) to realize this!
I’d always turned our router off when we went on holiday and could never understand why shows didn’t record while we were away.
It’s only when I was doing this electricity reduction exercise that I made the connection, sigh.
You Can Save Electricity
I hope now you can see that you really can save money on your electricity bill by doing nothing (other than turning your appliances off after use).
This is a golden oldie tip that’s been around for a long time, but much under used I think.
Take the time today to do your own experiment and see how much you can save in one month.
For more golden oldie frugal tips and help in jump starting your frugal life sign up for the Frugal Foundations Bootcamp.