When the day comes for you to retire from work, you might find yourself with a lot more free time and a lot less money. Hopefully, you've planned your savings so you don't have to live your golden years on a shoestring budget, but in any scenario, it’s wise to rein in your spending once you're no longer receiving a regular paycheck. Read on for some advice on how to cut back on your energy usage after you retire and keep your monthly bills under control.
Combat Rising Utility Costs
Unfortunately, most people's energy bills actually go up after they retire. What's the difference? Now that you're home all day, you're paying to heat and cool the house and to power electronic devices during the hours you used to spend at the workplace. Essentially, you lost a little-recognized fringe benefit, since your employer used to pick up the tab for electricity and climate control eight hours a day.
To compound the issue, many retirees are recent empty-nesters as well. With the kids out of the house, you probably experienced a sharp downturn in your utility bills. Now, you'll be all the more likely to notice when they spike back up once you stop going to work.
You Have the Power to Save
You don't have to give in to sky-high utility bills, however. Check out these suggestions on how to save:
- Modify Your Behavior: Since you aren't so distracted by work and raising kids anymore, it should be easier for you to devote more attention to something like conserving energy. If you don't know about the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and washing machine, now's the time to learn. See if you feel comfortable with the thermostat set a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer. Make sure all your electronic devices are unplugged when not in use to avoid phantom loads. When it comes to energy efficiency, little changes can go a long way.
- Make an Investment in Efficiency: If you've got some money to spend, you can reduce your fixed costs for decades to come by investing in an environmentally-friendly energy solution like a geothermal heat pump, an Energy Star-compliant furnace or solar panels for your roof. Or, if that's more than your budget can handle, make smaller improvements like upgrading your lighting or trading in your kitchen appliances for new models. It might be tough to lay out the cash up front, but you can enjoy lower utility bills for the duration of your retirement.
- Get Out of the House: Being retired doesn't mean you have to sit at home all day watching television. Now's your chance to better explore your neighborhood, check out cultural attractions in your city, socialize with friends old and new and even do some traveling. You'll keep yourself stimulated and engaged in the world – and the money you save on bills by getting out of the house is only a bonus.
For a more thorough analysis of your individual circumstances, don't hesitate to contact an expert to conduct an energy audit on your house. You could see significant savings and enjoy your retirement all the more.