5 Easy Ways to Cut Energy Costs

5 Easy Ways to Cut Energy Costs

Disclosure: I am participating in a challenge to save on my energy bill hosted by Reliant Energy. They provided me with a Nest Learning Thermostat and Home Depot gift card to complete my first mission. All opinions are my own.

I’m going to be really honest with you here — saving on my energy bill is not something that I’ve ever really cared about. I like my house cold in the summer and warm in the winter. The temperature on the thermostat is something that The Nerd and I have often argued about. I’m all about being as comfortable as possible. He’d rather save a little money.

So I was kind of skeptical when Reliant Energy asked me to compete against four other Texas bloggers to see who could save the most on their energy bill. To me, the effort never really seemed like it was worth the savings. That it, until I actually started doing it.

I’m really impressed by how simple things can make a huge difference in the way that you use energy. Our first challenge was to install a Nest Learning Thermostat in the house and program it to work with our family’s energy habits.

Reliant Challenge GMT-7

Let me tell you — I LOVE the Nest Learning Thermostat! Before, we’d set the house on one temperature and leave it there no matter what. Now, we’re constantly adjusting the temperature based on the outside temperature, whether we’re home, if it’s night, etc. It’s awesome. A few weeks ago, we went out of town and forgot to adjust the temperature so the A/C wouldn’t kick on as much. I was able to use the Nest app on my phone to change it remotely. How cool is that?

I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve implemented to start saving energy.

5 Easy Ways to Cut Energy Costs


1. 68/78 Degree Rule – When it’s hot outside, the ideal temperature for your A/C is 78 degrees or higher. And if it’s cold out, the idea temperature for heating is 68 degrees to conserve electricity. Try adjusting the thermostat in the evening so your unit doesn’t work as hard when you’re safely in your bed.

2. Ceiling Fans – Fans cool people, not rooms. If the room is empty, turn the fan off! Also, now is the time of year to rotate your fans clockwise, which pushes the warm air back down.

3. Laundry – Wash your clothes in all-cold water. Try drying your clothes outside to conserve electricity or when using the dryer, run multiple loads at a time. The heat will build up and not need as much electricity. Also, use the cool-down cycle to allow clothes to finish drying with the remaining heat in the dryer.

4. Lights – Turn off lights when not in a room, not at home, or at night. This one is probably the most visible and easiest tip to implement.

5. Bulbs – Replace your bulbs with energy-efficient lighting, like compact florescent lights or LEDs. Replace the lights you use most often first. In our house, that’s the living room and bathroom. We’ll replace the rest of our bulbs as they burn out.

Making good choices about energy usage is something that you have to be conscious about — it’s not something that comes naturally to me at all. But in the end, if we save just a little bit on our bill, it will totally be worth it.

How do you try to conserve energy in your home?



  1. Great tips about setting your tstat. Increasing the the temperature in the summer time by just 2 degrees can affect your energy bill significantly. Also, having a higher SEER rating will result in a more efficiently running HVAC system.

  2. I did a similar post on energy saving tips. One other way we save energy is by unplugging electronics that aren’t being used. For example, TV and game consoles that are turned off but still plugged still suck energy. I read that these things account for about 5% of all the electricity in the US. It maybe turned off but those standby lights still take up energy. 🙂

  3. I’m with you-I like to be comfortable, but I would be very motivated by a contest to save money. I would love to be able to operate my thermostat remotely, too.

  4. You were able to change it on your phone? That is flipping awesome!

  5. Another tip is to TURN OFF THE TV if you aren’t watching it! How many times do you leave the room with movie paused and forget about it for a couple of hours?
    I am glad to see that the 68/78 thing is a rule. I thought it was a, “I’m the mom, so I get to choose how hot or cold you get to be” thing. 😉

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