Often in the winter utility bills can rise to unmanageable amounts. In the summer, you can make do without air conditioning or cooling. In the winter no heat may mean pipes freezing and possibly breaking. This can be expensive to repair and to deal with the water damage once they thaw out. In addition, not having running water can make a home unlivable.
Once a utility is turned off there is a fee charged for it to be turned back on and it can take up to 48 hours to get service restored. Once turned off, the entire bill will need to be paid in addition to the turn on fees. If you haven’t planned ahead and put some money aside when your utility bills were low, then you may find yourself in trouble this winter.
Ways to pay high utility bills when you were not able to reduce your utility bills:
- Call before turn off date and make payment arrangements
- Use a credit card (the interest is probably less than the fees to have service restored)
- Look into community services that assist will utility payments
- Personal loan from family or friend
- Cash advance from work
The article “High Winter Heating Bills, Meet Credit Cards” on CreditCards.com is an informative article regarding utility bills and credit card payments. The article also has wise warnings about credit card use, a list of utilities that accept credit card payments, and information on help for low income households.
Do your best to reduce your utility bills on a daily basis to avoid a high utility bill that you will struggle with to pay, have to borrow to pay, or risk having your utilities turned off because you are unable to pay a high utility bill. Be cautious with loans, advances, and credit card use so you don’t start a financial snowball effect.
Neglecting your heater can only cause more money to be spent on heating. I was looking over Birney Summer’s blog, Energy Boomer and found a great article, It’s OK to Love Your Heater.
The article has practical and helpful hints for heater care. Valentine’s Day is approaching, put your heater on your list to show a little love to and it will surely reward you with a reduced utility bill. Energy is a great blog for other helpful hints as well, so check it out when you have time.
Children may be the hardest ones to get on board with reducing utility bills. There are two ways to get them to do their part:
- Bonuses for helping to reduce utility bills
- Fines for not helping to reduce utility bills
- Financial bonus-a portion of savings, small and consistent rewards every time they are “caught” turning off lights, taking a shorter shower, etc.
- Treat or activity at the end of every month they help reduce utility bills.
- Use balance of money in quarter jar (see below) for a specific a treat or activity.
- Start with a jar with $5 in quarters. Every time they leave a light on, leave water running, etc. a quarter is removed and put in a jar to be used to help pay the utility bill.
- Deduct from allowance a set amount when wasting energy.
- Do extra work around house to “pay” for extra energy used.
Post a copy of the chart that comes with most utility bills where children can see it. Point out how heating and cooling costs effect the amount used some months and show how when they help (like hang up their clothes to dry, take shorter showers, and more) reduce the utility bills. Write down amount of money per day was charged for the previous month.
When children want money, to do an activity, or need transportation somewhere, let them know there is an extra $15 available because they helped reduce utility bills by .50 per day.
Yes…..you can raise children who know how to reduce utility bills!