Last year, Levy was selected for a ComEd Efficiency Home Makeover. She received new energy star appliances, insulation, a new boiler, even an attic fan. The upgrades saved her hundreds of dollars on her heating bills. But you don't have to spend thousands to get big savings.
"I believe you can go 10% to 15% [off your bill] by just investing a little bit of time into your home," said ComEd Energy Doctor Tim Melloch.
His first prescription? Try lowering your thermostat one degree at a time. Mary Levy's thermostat is set at 69 degrees. With every degree you lower your thermostat, Melloch estimates you can reduce your heating bill by 3%. Melloch also advises closing your doors to look for light seeping through the cracks. If you see light, then cold air is likely crawling through also. Weather stripping costs around $3 to $5 a pack and is an easy, low-cost option to close any gaps.
Other tips include opening your blinds during the day and closing them at night to keep heat in your home. Compact fluorescent bulbs now come in different shapes and sizes and they last longer and use 75% less energy. Melloch also suggests walking around the exterior of your home with chalk or spray foam. Creating a tight seal around any pipes leading into the home will keep cold air and bugs from coming in your home.
For more tips on how to save money visit the ComEd website.
Super savers Monteil Crawley and Kristina Iverson found other ways to save around a thousand dollars every month. Every morning, the couple unplugs nearly every appliance in their home. Iverson searches for discounts on clothes, kitchen appliances and big ticket items such as plasma TVs on the six web sites and uses the internet to look for coupons. They also take their lunches to work, saving them about $50 a week. Iverson and Crawley have also combined their cell phone plans and they say that has saved them around $100 a month.
Another easy way to save money in your household is in the grocery store.
Ty Lane, a Dominick's consumer brands manager, says saving money on your grocery bill is simple. He advises purchasing store brands (such as Safeway Select or Eating Right products) over national brands.
NBC5 loaded up a cart with name brand products and their store brand equivalents to compare the total grocery bill. The cart was filled with sugar, detergent, paper towels, vanilla extract, saltine crackers, graham crackers and other household products. The name brand products rang up a $43.90 bill, but the bill for the store brands was just $26.55.
"We have something of equal quality or better and you still get a lower price point. So the consumer has a win-win and they can put more groceries in their cart," Lane said.