As the COVID-19 pandemic increases in severity, everyone is being encouraged to practice social distancing. Like most Canadians, you’re spending a lot more time at home and might not realize some of the implications. Here are five things to consider to keep your household bills low.
It’s natural when we’re at home for long periods of time to leave the lights on, use electronics more frequently and run appliances. All this additional electricity use can add up. If you live somewhere that has “time-of-use” pricing (where prices change throughout the day), try to charge devices and use appliances when the prices are lower and turn them off when prices are high. Prices are typically lower at night, so try to run the dishwasher and do your laundry in the evening. No matter where you live, turn off lights when you leave a room and switch off devices when you’re not using them.
In the winter,lower the thermostat - even a few degrees can make a big difference to your heating bill. Get cozy with a sweater, cup of tea or warm blanket instead. If there are rooms you don’t use, close the vents (if you have them) and keep the door to the room closed. If you notice any cold air coming in from outside, seal those drafts - even an old towel under a door will do in a pinch!
It goes without saying that washing your hands is absolutely necessary. In fact, click here for yet another how-to on how to wash your hands properly! During this extended period at home, just be responsible with your water usage and avoid taking extra long showers, excessive laundry loads or running the dishwasher more than needed.
With people now working from home or catching up with friends and family remotely, it’s easy to see that internet usage is skyrocketing. Luckily, many major Canadian telecom companies are waiving their overage fees for residential internet. Check your provider for details (Rogers, Bell Canada, Telus) on what they’re offering.
5. Meal planning
Meal planning is a great idea anytime as it leads to less wasted food and is a great money saving technique. With the whole family at home, snacking is bound to increase, so get ahead with a menu and dig through your pantry to get the most out of everything you already have. This will also help you be as efficient as possible at the grocery store.
The bottom line
Paying bills on time is important; it accounts for 35% of your credit score. These are extremely challenging times for everyone. If you notice you may be short on funds, contact your provider and ask what they are doing to help with payment relief. But these tips can help keep your bills as low as possible, increasing the chances that you will be able to pay them on time.