With Thanksgiving officially in the rearview mirror, we’re rolling right into the most wonderful time of the year. And nothing gets the holiday juices flowing like decorating.
While it may be exciting to go all out when it comes to decorations, it can be easy to jack up your electricity bill if you aren’t paying attention. Read on for some tips to help you stay in the holiday spirit, without lighting up your budget.
Switch to LED Lights
Most holiday traditions are worth keeping around. But those old-school, incandescent light bulbs? Those gotta go. LED lights are all the rage for a reason. If this is the year you decide to switch over, it’ll be a bit more expensive, but you’ll make up for it in no time.
They Use Less Energy. Which means they cost less to use. LED lights actually use about 90% less electricity than incandescent lights1. To put that into perspective, 10 strings of old style bulbs lit for six hours a day would cost you roughly $12.96 to run. Similar sized LED lights would cost around $1.362.
They Last Longer. Up to 30 times longer3, in fact. That’s a whole lot more holy nights, and way more bang for your buck in the long run.
They’re Safer. Since they use less power, the bulbs themselves don’t get as hot, and you can plug in more strands next to each other with less risk of blowing a circuit.
If you wanted to really go green, you could also look into solar-powered options that don’t consume any electricity at all to run. (And yes, they can still pick up enough energy in winter months to work just fine.)
Do the Math
How many feet of lights do you actually need? How big is your tree? Figure out all the details before you buy four new boxes of lights when two would have been plenty. Take a few minutes to shop around, too. Overstock, Wayfair and Amazon all have solid deals on lights this time of year.
Avoid the Big, Blowup Santa!
Inflatable yard decorations might seem like a great idea, but they can really do some damage on your electricity bill. The average 8’ inflatable costs about a dollar a day to run4. Leave it up for a month, and that’s a quick $30.
Use a Timer
Of course you’re going to remember to turn off all the lights every night…until you’re two eggnogs deep, snuggled up on the couch watching a holiday movie marathon. Next thing you know it’s 7 a.m. and those lights are still glowing strong.
Do yourself a favor and let technology help out. You can pick up a timer for about 10 bucks that will turn off the lights for you.
Indoor Tips & Tricks
Once you’ve got your yard all set, turn your attention inside, where you can also cut down on energy costs. Instead of filling your home with electric gadgets, why not go back to the basics? Break out the wreath and burn some candles to boost holiday cheer.
If you’ve got a fireplace, there’s no better time to use it. The extra warmth creates a cozy ambience and lets you cut down on heating.
Practice Cost - Efficient Cooking Habits
Opening and closing the oven door isn’t going to help those snickerdoodles bake any faster, and every extra minute means more energy is being burned. When you’re just heating things up, using the microwave or a toaster oven is way more energy efficient than the stove.
Before you head out on vacation, unplug everything. Things like phone chargers, microwaves and game consoles all still use energy even when you aren’t using them.
Before the hustle and bustle of the season really gets going, take a few moments to see if you could lower your energy costs this year. The money saved could turn into an extra present for a loved one, a donation to someone in need or a head start on next year’s savings.