Apart from rent or mortgage costs, there are few things that take a toll on your finances like the endless cycle of monthly utility bills.

Chances are, if it’s something that cools or heats your home, provides clean water, or gets rid of waste, it’s going to come with a monthly expense.

Of course, you’ll want to think about how to save money every month so you can have the opportunity to save toward bigger expenses. Thankfully, there are some effective ways to start cutting your utility bills to help build those savings.

Here are 5 simple changes you can make at home to help to reduce your energy usage and save not only the environment, but your wallet, too.

1. Check Water Usage

Showering is one of the tasks that takes up the largest amount of water. You can reduce your water usage by switching to a more efficient, low-flow showerhead. This not only plays a part in reducing the amount of water used, but also the heat that is used to produce it.

Some showerheads won’t start producing water until the water is at optimal showering temperature so that no water is wasted. Having this kind of shower head will help reduce the total amount of water used which will help to reduce the water bill significantly.

If you find yourself spending too long in the shower by accident, you can try timing your showers to make them shorter (saving you both time and utility costs!).

Another way to save water is to limit starting a load of laundry or dishes to only when the load is full. If your family does lots of smaller loads of laundry separately, try to consolidate into just one to save the excess water.

2. Save on Water Heating 

When possible, washing your clothes on cold can potentially save you a little on water heating costs. With laundry detergent expertly formulated to clean clothes even using the cool setting on your washer, there’s often no need to spend the extra dollars to wash your clothes in hot water for everyday usage, except when stubborn stains are involved.

Using the cool setting on your machine will help to save the costs of hot water for each load of laundry—potentially up to 50 cents per load (depending on the size of the machine).

You can also adjust the temperature of your water heater, especially if it’s heating your water warmer than you really use it. Turning its baseline temperature down can save energy by not overheating water that won’t be used.

3. Lower Heating and Cooling Costs 

Certain home improvement tasks can help reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home.

For example, if you’re losing heat through your windows, installing fiberglass windows can help insulate your home, as they are some of the most efficient windows and can save you money on your energy bill as a result of their installation.

You should also check your air filter; unchanged air filters often become clogged, making your heating system inefficient.

During the summer, you can try using hot appliances like your oven or stove when it’s cooler, like in the morning or at night, so that their use isn’t adding heat to an already-hot time of day and triggering your AC to work overtime.

4. Reduce Electricity Usage 

Your dad was right—you really shouldn’t leave the lights on when you’re not occupying a room. Turning lights off when not in use and unplugging appliances can help save on electricity, as well as switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs.

In place of using a dryer every time you wash your clothes, try hanging them to dry. Adjusting your fridge temperature to a cooler setting can also reduce your electricity usage.

5. Negotiate with Your Utilities Company 

Finally, did you know that utilities don’t have to be a fixed cost? Many utilities companies have flexibility in their pricing, and getting a better price may be as simple as calling and asking for one.

Try calling up your utility or internet company and asking what they can do for you or if they can offer any discounts, especially if you know their competitors are offering better prices. Negotiating a lower price may not be as difficult as you think!