Our only utility bill is electricity, thanks to the fact that we have well water and a wood burner that provides our heat. However, we have an energy co-op which means the cost is higher. We pay $.1073 per kWh. Our average KWH used is 850 per month, making our average monthly costs about $125.
We live in a fairly large house built in 1832. It still has the original floors and foundation. It's not well insulated. We have a basement and attic as well. We have no air conditioning. I have a small chest freezer and a refrigerator older than 1990. The animals also have an electric fence that is on 24hrs a day. Since we home school and I provide day care there are always at least 6 people here almost 24 hours a day.
Our first electric bill in our current home was over $200! I talked to our neighbors and they told me that they had never been able to stay under $150 a month, and so our challenge began to reduce our electricity consumption.
The first thing I did was hang up a clothesline. I know that not everybody is able to have a clothesline outside but there are ways to hang your laundry inside as well. I've used the shower curtain rod to hang clothes on, I've strung rope up in our living room to hang laundry by our wood burner, and I've used a retractable clothesline in our laundry room. We immediately saw a savings of about $25 per month.
The next thing I did was start washing all of our laundry in cold water. I also started limiting the length of showers. We also started unplugging everything when it wasn't in use. Those brought our bill down another $10-$15.
Another way we save on electricity is limiting our online time/TV time. During the summer the TV/computers are rarely on but when winter comes calling we like to hunker down and watch movies together. We're working on sticking to the limits we set during the summer months!
My biggest struggle is keeping the lights off. I enjoy light, especially in once it starts getting dark earlier. I tend to turn on lights before they need to be on and leave them on longer than I should. We've talked about purchasing some solar lamps to help reduce the dependence on electricity.
The most unique way I've found to help cut our bill is by cooking on our wood burner. It isn't a cook stove but it does have a flat top so I'm able to cook anything that requires one or two pots. I didn't do that a lot last winter but this year I am planning on doing that much more.
How have you been able to cut your electric bills?