How I Save Money on Energy Bills to Splurge at Disneyland

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How I Save Money on Energy Bills to Splurge at Disneyland

Perhaps you have already noticed this, but I love to go to Disneyland. Shocking revelation, I know. Something I hear all the time from non-Disney people is, isn’t it expensive??? Well, the answer is … yes, of course it’s expensive! But the joy I get from being at Disneyland is worth the money I spend. But last time I checked, I still don’t have a money tree growing in my backyard, so in order to splurge on my Disney obsession I have to save money elsewhere. One of those places is our energy bill. Mr. BFT and I try to be as resource-conscious as we can be, so keeping an eye on our energy usage isn’t a huge struggle for us. We know that limiting our resource use to the bare minimum is not only good for the environment and puts less strain on the grid, but will also save money on energy bills … which means more money for Disneyland!

When we bought our house last year, the first thing we did was examine the energy usage. Living in a detached house is so different than living in an apartment! There are so many new factors to think about, like running sprinklers, attic insulation, and water usage (which we didn’t pay for in our apartment). We loved that all of the utility companies in Burbank offer free inspections. We couldn’t believe how much energy the previous owners were wasting! Below are some of the adjustments we made, just off the top of my head:

– The water heater was turned allllll the way up! A free inspection from the gas company told us that was completely unnecessary, and moving it down to about the middle level would give us plenty of hot water. We made the adjustment and have never had a problem.

– We had NO insulation in our attic! No wonder we had to run our heater so much when we first moved in! Adding insulation helped keep warm air in during the winter and cold air in during the summer, saving us big bucks on our monthly energy bill.

– The previous owners had the sprinklers set to run every day for 10 minutes. That’s kind of an insane amount! Sure, everything looked lush and green, but what a drain (LITERALLY – har har) on resources. We cut back to three times a week, for five minutes (and now we are restricted to one day a week, due to the drought). I’ve noticed our roses aren’t quite as abundant this year, but they still look great and it’s a small price to pay for the amount of money we are saving on both water and energy.

– We replaced our decades-old drafty windows with new higher quality, energy saving windows. Yes, this cost a significant amount up front but our new windows have a lifetime guarantee and we expect to earn our money back in energy savings in about 4-5 years.

How I Save Money on Energy Bills to Splurge at Disneyland
{A shot of our still thriving rose bushes with a peek at our new energy-saving windows}

Speaking of savings, here’s what’s REALLY important. With these changes, we estimate we are saving about $50 EVERY MONTH. And on the hottest and coldest months, the ones where you have to have the heat or AC running practically all the time, we estimate we are saving nearly $100 each month compared to when we first moved in. So that’s about $600-$1200 each year! To put it in Disneyland terms, that covers approximately*:

My annual pass
or
5 runDisney 10k races
or
20 pairs of Mickey ears
or
60 drinks at Trader Sams
or
110 churros

*based on a savings of $600

Isn’t that a little mind boggling? All the result of making a couple calls to our utility companies for inspections, investing in energy-saving upgrades for our home, and being energy conscious every day.

How I Save Money on Energy Bills to Splurge at Disneyland

***

Want to save a little cashola for Disneyland? Here are five EASY tips for saving money on your energy bill:

1. If you have a yard with automatic sprinklers, review your usage. Cut back by one day a week if you can. During the winter months you only really need to be running your sprinklers two days a week (according to our Department of Water and Power … although that was before we were restricted to one day a week due to the drought). Or, take your energy savings to the next level by planting drought-resistant plants that are still pretty but don’t need to be watered as much.

2. Use space heaters and fans. I rarely run the heat or AC at night. Instead I run a temperature-control space heater/fan I picked up years ago at Sharper Image. I keep it next to my bed so I can easily turn it off and on if I need to. We have the luxury of a programmable thermostat so we can program the heat to turn on 30 minutes before we wake up, so hubby is not freezing in the kitchen while making his morning coffee. Also, use a blanket or a sweater instead of turning the heat on. There’s no need to heat the entire house or apartment if you’re only spending time in one room! Wrap up in a cozy blanket for as long as you can stand it.

3. Do dishes by hand. I know, it stinks! And not really practical if you have a large family or babies in the house. Since it’s just us, it’s fairly easy to wash dishes as we use them. It’s not the best use of water, but not running the dishwasher on a daily basis saves us a ton on our energy bill.

4. Wash your hair every other day or just a couple times a week. Saves a bundle on water and energy (to heat said water; hair dryer), not to mention a few extra minutes in the morning! Besides, it’s good for your hair and scalp to build up a little oil in between washings.

5. Unplug your appliances. Plugged-in items like televisions, computers, DVD players, and video consoles still suck up energy even if they are on “stand by” mode. Put them on a power strip you can switch off at night. (But don’t turn off your DVR if you record any programs while you’re sleeping.) You can also save a few dollars per year if you unplug kitchen appliances like your toaster oven, microwave, and coffee maker, and office appliances like your printer and phone charger.

How I Save Money on Energy Bills to Splurge at Disneyland

Want more energy-saving tips that can help save you money for your next Disney trip? PG&E has plenty of resources available on their website, including:

Warm weather, cold weather and everyday savings tips (broken down by no cost, low cost and investment solutions).
Plan your next project by focusing on a specific area of your house with this Money Saver Tool (and learn about rebates).
Do your research and plan ahead when shopping for appliances by checking the rebate catalog.
Refrigerator recycling rebate program.
Dozens and dozens of quick and easy “My Energy” tips from PG&E.

And, happening right now, PG&E is hosting an Instagram challenge, where seven lucky people will win a $100 Home Depot gift card to help with some of those energy-saving home improvements! Go to the PG&E Instagram page for further details on how to enter to win and don’t forget to hashtag your entries with #PGEhome.

Do you have your own energy saving tips? I would love to hear them! Also, what would you do with an extra $600 a year to spend at Disneyland?

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