Biz Beat: It may be summer, but it's always time to save
I'm back with a few more personal finance tips this week. You may think today's tip is a bit out of place, since it's summertime. But trust me, come time for the winter heating bill, you'll be happy you decided to …
Turn down the thermostat.
Last December, I was touring apartment complexes in town, trying to weigh their costs and benefits. I eventually settled on the apartment that was cheapest and had the best public transportation to campus (it also offers free tanning, apparently).
During these weeks of decisions, I toured one guy's apartment that felt more like a tropical rain forest than the Missouri winter. “The electricity bill here is a pain,” he told me. “How hot do you keep it in here?” I asked. He gave some number in the upper 70s, which explains his electricity bill troubles.
I plan to keep my apartment's temperature at 68, meaning I'm already on my way to savings. (I also plan to unplug appliances when they're not in use and turn off unnecessary lights.) Combined, I'll be paying a lot less than this guy's $60 a month for electricity. Over the course of a year, $10 a month adds up to more than $100. I'll also feel better about not wasting energy.
If you wanted to take this a step further, you could invest in a programmable thermostat that shuts off all heat during the day and kicks in just before you arrive home at night. It saves on electricity you don't need (you don't care that it's 60 degrees in your apartment if you're not there) and it's nice and warm when come back. These things pay for themselves in no time – as long as you stay committed.