smart spending

5 simple ways to save money in 5 minutes

Leave the house unplugged
Leave the house unplugged © Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock.com

Leave the house unplugged

Before leaving the house, turn off and unplug items not in use. Turn off the water heater after your morning shower and avoid heating water all day, says Sarah Eve Fulghum, an editor and social media manager at A Full Cup. Unplug charging appliances, turn off lights, turn down the heat or air conditioning, close vents in unoccupied rooms and make sure water is turned off to the garden hose.

"My husband and I actually leave our microwave unplugged all of the time and only plug it in when we need it," Fulghum says. "No need to power the microwave clock we don't use." She also keeps the TV unplugged when not in use to save money.

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Next step: Compare bills and see how much money you saved after a month of unplugging. Are those bills still high? Fulghum suggests looking into an energy meter (and following tip No. 2, ask to buy a used one from friends first). The meters measure electricity used by various appliances. Advanced systems pinpoint major appliances (electric water heater, stove, dryer) draining your dollars.

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