Reduce your energy footprint
This post is part of a 30 days series called the 30 steps program to financial independence. You can check the list of other posts here.
Another important part of your income is probably going towards energy costs. I’ll be broad here and also include gas. If you reduce those expenses, it is extra money towards your financial independence fund! It is also better for your planet, mind you. So win/win for all.
How to reduce your energy bill at home
Only use heat or AC when necessary. Open or close the windows when hot/cold and let the weather do its job. Get a thermostat to automatically reduce the heat or shut it down when you are at work and reheat one hour or so before you get home.
Make sure you are on the right energy plan by using some comparison sites and switching provider if needed. I use sites like energyhelpline.com to help with that.
I am now on a plan with EDF (UK) that will warn me if another plan is $1.5 cheaper per week so that I can switch with no penalty! So far my 3 bed flat with 4 people living is using about $50 per month in energy, which is pretty low.
Make sure your flat is properly insulated. I am not an expert, but you can get your energy provider to send one for free, as they get heavy fines from the government for wasting energy, some of them will even insulate you at a big discount or free!
Install low flow shower heads and low flow aerators for your taps. You won’t believe how fast you get your investment back on water saved. And it’s good for the ocean too!
Turn off the tap!!! please, this is wasteful, when you wash your teeth, use what you NEED, don’t be lazy.
The list goes on, and that will be the subject of a more detailed post. But in general, make sure you are not wasteful and paying the right price for your consumption.
How to reduce your gas bill for your car
This one is a bit harder, because you feel that you need your car to do this and that. Actually, you don’t. I am 32 and have owned a car for 6 months in my entire life, I survived. I walk, take the bus/metro, cycle, and now I own a motorcycle. You can run close errands walking, or if you really live in the middle of nowhere, try to get organized. Drop by the post office on your way to work. Get the dry cleaning when bringing the children back from school. Make a list of groceries before you go to the store to avoid unneeded emergency trips back.
Drive slow, don’t accelerate too much or break suddenly. Make sure you keep up with maintenance and oil changes, and inflate your tires properly, because if you don’t your car will consume more gas.
Share a ride with friends or colleagues to go to work or to the mall. Organize a carpool for the kids. All this money saved can go towards your early retirement and financial independence! I know loads of people who simply do without a car and use Zipcars or similar services when needed. That is so much cheaper than having a car all the time.