Guest Post: 5 Easy Ways To Save Money On Your Energy Bills This Summer


© Brad Calkins | Dreamstime.com

As summer approaches, many of us are dreading the upcoming electric bills. Because cooling a house requires so much energy, most of us will most likely experience an increase in our energy costs during the warmer months. Thankfully, there are ways to lower the financial burden by reducing the amount of energy we consume:

Have the HVAC unit inspected and cleaned

Because your air conditioning unit draws more power from the grid than any other single source within your home, it is important to make sure it is operating optimally. Inspections and cleanings usually entail examining ducts for leaks and cleaning the unit itself. In addition to having the unit cleaned, homeowners should also keep the air filters inside the home clean. Most filters require a monthly change. However, some filters last from three to six months.

Switch light bulbs

You should also consider swapping your traditional incandescent bulbs for the newer more energy efficient LED bulbs. These energy Star compliant light bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. In addition, the increase in consumer awareness of energy efficiency has prompted designers to turn to LED lighting a lot more making the switch to light emitting diode bulbs one of the kitchen and bath trends to watch this year.

Install a programmable thermostat

You probably don’t want to have your AC struggling to keep your house a frigid 65 degrees all day if you are going to be at work or out running errands. However, you also don’t want to come home to a furnace either. This is doubly true if you have kids or pets that will be in doors all day.

With programmable thermostats, you can set them to automatically adjust the temperature in your home, up or down, by remote or at predetermined time an interval which consequently, reduces the amount of energy you use to cool your home. In addition, the newer Wi-Fi enabled thermostats allow you to use your smartphone to adjust your home’s heating and cooling when tied to a cloud-based web service like EnergyHub.

Install blinds or roman shades

It is a well-known fact that a large majority of the heat entering our homes comes through the windows. In order to reduce or even eliminate this you may want to install roman shades or mini-blinds. This one simple act can greatly reduce the amount of heat entering a home thus reducing the costs of cooling your home by reducing the length of time your AC needs to be running.

Consider a fixed rate energy plan

Another way to help govern your energy costs during the summer is to consider participating in a fixed rate electricity plan. With a contract electricity plan, you lock in a certain rate per kilowatt for a stretch of time that does not fluctuate from month to month or during seasonal spikes. Some energy suppliers will even send email and text alert to their customers when they are using more power than anticipated.

In many parts of the country, the summer months result in some of the highest energy bills of the year. Many of us in some way dread the summer months for just that reason. I mean let’s be realistic, in today’s economy the choice between paying our electric bill on time and still having enough to put gas in the car for the rest of the pay period can be all too real for too many of us nowadays.

About the author:

Alex Goodwin is a writer, husband, father and aspiring novelist. When he isn’t writing for HomeDaddys or completing chores from his “honey- do” list, he’s most likely spending quality time with his wife and kids or working on his novel.

Tips For Keeping Your Smartphone Battery Alive During Hurricane Sandy and the Aftermath of Monster Storms


In the wake of the storms on the East Coast, we’d like to help our readers with tips on how to keep your smartphones running. We hope everyone is well and we bid a quick ” go away” farewell to Hurricane Sandy and the predicted Monster Storms.

Smartphone Reception & Battery Life

As cell phone operators prepare for Hurricane Sandy and the storms to follow, Edmunds.com’s Director of Mobile Web Products, Mike Woods, offers these three ways your smartphone may be affected and tips to save your battery life for when you need it most:
  1. Networks are up, but may degrade. Widespread power outages will not post a threat to cell phone networks because they use backup power systems ranging from batteries to gas-powered generators.  After several hours, however, these backup systems may degrade and eventually fail after several days without main power, especially if it is difficult to get people to service them and refill fuel to keep the generators running.  In addition, wind, flying debris or falling trees could knock down or damage some of the towers, reducing coverage and capacity.
  2. Highly populated areas may overwhelm the system. In highly populated areas such as New York, Northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the combination of reduced network capacity and high traffic often overwhelms the remaining network and it may be difficult to actually place a call or connect to a Web site.
  3. Smartphone batteries will lose power. The most fragile part of the system would most likely be people’s cell phones.  Many smartphone batteries barely last a day under normal usage. Turn off all automatic data services, push notifications, and e-mail in order to save the battery for the times that you specifically need to use the device.  Putting an iPhone into “airplane mode” is an easy way to save on battery use.
More Tips To Keep Smartphones Charged
  • The #1 simple way to keep your smartphone charged is turn it off and use it only when you have to. Keep usage down to a bare minimum during outages.
  • Turn the display brightness down much as you can while still being able to make things out. The dimmer the better. Also turn the volume down
  • Don’t use a Bluetooth device, play music, games, video or radio over your phone. These are major power drainers.
  • If the power is out. The Wi-Fi isn’t going to connect. Turn the Wi-Fi button off.
  • Turn off all GPS location aps and devices on the phone.
  • Turn off push notifications, too. People will understand if they’re not getting immediate e-mail responses from you right now. This includes all social media: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • If you can switch your phone from 4G to 2G, do it. Go back to 2G. Staying on 3G, 4G or LTE drains a battery faster than 2G.
  • If you have power, as long as you have power, keep everything plugged in and charging: laptops, phones, etc. Work on them or with them while they are plugged in. Do not unplug them until or if the power goes out.
One Final Thought
Remember, once upon a time, people did live without electricity, phones, smartphones, internet, cable, etc. We don’t like it. It’s inconvenient. However, how often does this happen? If you need it, you want it to be there for you.
If you don’t have to use it, don’t.  Save your smartphone for emergencies only. Everyone knows what is going on and email, social networking, entertainment via the phone & web can wait.
Have a few games, candles, flashlights, lantern, books, magazines and other things to entertain and pass the time available. Hopefully, these storms will pass quickly and all will return back to 4G normal.
Be safe.

Molly Saves on the Go

Get your motor running!

Ease on down the road with tips for family travel in Molly’s Money-Saving Digest Molly Saves on the Go and take a detour around the usual stress and expense.

$4.95


Even if a road trip isn’t on your horizon, you’ll find plenty useful advice this month, including frugal projects, nutritious food, financial teaching for kids, and much more!

  • Treat your family to a hearty, easy meal.
  • Brush up on the basics of grooming your pet.
  • Teach your kids about budgeting.
  • Use salvaged materials to create a useful camp stool.
  • Find out which free websites can spur you on to better fitness.
  • Mix up some homemade help for hard-working hands.
  • Check out the many benefits of using your library.
  • Get inspired to use your crafting talents for others.

Are we there yet? Molly can help you arrive at your destination with more of your sanity and wallet intact. Loading up on junk food at every stop. Boredom wafting from the back seat. Squabbles resulting from said boredom. Does this sound all too familiar? Stop trouble in its tracks and make your car trip more enjoyable for everyone with the advice in this month’s Digest.

  • Find out all about feeding your family healthy snacks and meals on the go.
  • Take drinks with you and keep more of your dollars.
  • Discover must-have items for your packing list, both for comfort and for convenience.
  • Stock up on car games and other activities to keep your kids busy.
  • Learn how to perform basic maintenance on your vehicle so it’s always ready to go.
  • Learn how to maintain your other vehicle: your bicycle.

Take a closer look at all the impressive features you’ll find in this month’s Digest:

  • This ’n’ That: Smile! April is National Humor Month. Time is also set aside this month to celebrate gardens and libraries, among other things.
  • Begin With the Basics: If you don’t know what GORP is, find the answer (and the recipe) here. Your family will thank you! You’ll also get tips on other good snacks for traveling.
  • Forms & Printables: The Internet is a treasure trove of activities to keep kids busy in the car, whether you’re going for a long trip or a ride around town. Puzzles, games, mazes, trivia, and art projects will help time fly.
  • Décor & More: Eleanor Joyce offers lots of tips for healthy and frugal travel, from what to eat to how to keep everyone comfortable. Think outside the fast food box and take along a salad in a jar; just shake, then eat. Learn what the kids should wear when traveling, plus things you won’t want to do without on the road.
  • Meal of the Month: Give your hungry family a taste of White Chicken Chili and make extra to put in the freezer for quick meals.
  • Molly’s Motor Maintenance: Take on some of your car’s mechanical checkups yourself to save money at the garage and avoid preventable repairs. Not mechanically inclined? Don’t worry. Anyone can do these simple checks.
  • Bicycle Basics & More: If your bike has been dormant during the winter, it needs a checkup too. A basic spring tuneup may help you avoid problems out on the road.
  • Pet Care for Pennies: Find out how grooming done at home can ward off skin infections and other problems, as well as save the cost of having a professional do the job. Even if you only stick to the basics, you can stretch the time between grooming appointments and watch the savings add up.
  • Tightwad Training Camp: Kids learn the difference between fixed and variable expenses and are challenged to think about whether expenditures are based on wants or needs.
  • Something Old, Something New: Sharon White reaches into her store of salvaged items to make a folding stool that’s functional, frugal, and fashionable. This project also has something to teach us about trust.
  • Here’s to Your Health: With a number of free websites, you can track your food intake each day, get healthy recipes, participate in forums with others who share your fitness goals, and track your weight loss progress.
  • You’re a Natural Beauty: Treat your hands to some homemade lotion, then turn your attention to your nails. A multisided buffer can make them pretty without polish.
  • Molly Recommends: Find information and inspiration in the E-Book Molly Goes Camping. Packed full of tips for both novices and seasoned campers, it also contains heartwarming stories from readers like you.
  • Change One Thing This Month: As wonderful as books are, today’s libraries often have much more to offer, from story times to movies, book clubs to reading incentive programs, research databases to Wi-Fi access. Investigate your local branch to find out what you may be missing.
  • Inspiration! Your hobby can offer comfort to people in need.
  • Directory of Links: For those of you who print and bind your Digests, you’ll have easy access to all of the fantastic links worth saving in the back of this issue. It makes your Digest easier to use!

See why homemakers love Molly’s Digest—see what’s inside!

Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer and wants to share with you—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!

You’ll glean some of the best, inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find, and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

View a sample of this product here.

Molly makes it fun and easier to be frugal! Think about it—with so much to learn and save, if you apply just one money-saving idea, you’ll recoup the cost of this E-Book right away!

Project Manager: Toni Riggs
Contributing Writers: Dena Wood, Eleanor Joyce, Sharon White, Patricia Hunter, Toni Riggs, Tiffany J. Rule, DVM, Michelle Tonnemacher
Publication: 2011
Pages: 59
File Size: 5.1 MB

Need to economize? Subscribe to a Molly Membership!

For only $3.85 a month (cancel any time!) you receive not only the monthly Molly Green Magazine, but also much more!
Purchase NOW!
Every month, Molly has a wealth of information and support to share in one easy-to-read, handy resource! Discover for yourself all of the exciting and imaginative ideas Molly has to offer—ideas that could save you big money and needless headaches!
You’ll glean some of the best inexpensive ideas and projects for everyday living that you can find and be inspired to be self-confident, creative, and resourceful too.

For just $4.95, download this Molly Green Magazine now!
Or become a monthly Molly Member and subscribe for only $3.85 per month!