Tips to save on your electricity bills
It’s that dreaded time of the month… and no, we’re not talking about Aunt Flo, we’re talking about adulthood coming to haunt us in the form of bills to pay. As you stare down at your utility bill, trying to make sense of where things went wrong, you curse yourself for all the times you turned the AC on, or fell asleep with the TV and all the lights on.
In a panic, you ask the Google and TikTok Gods for some energy-saving tips. But the same old tips keep showing up and those haven’t worked. Turning off the lights and not using your aircon too much? Too basic. After all, you’re willing to go to extremes just to save yourself some money. What can you say? You’re just kiasu like that.
If that describes you to a T, time to take things to the extreme. Here, we present to you 7 most kiasu ways to save electricity.
1. Headbang to heavy metal to dry your hair
Given Singapore’s humidity is forever at an all-time high, wet hair that air dries beautifully might continue to be a fantasy for most of us. But your goal is to heavily trim down your electricity usage, so you ditch your hairdryer and opt for 4 minutes of headbanging to a heavy metal track to dry your locks.
Take air-drying your hair to the next level by losing the towel and headbanging to heavy metal.
There’s a high chance you’ll end up with a migraine. But you’re about to save some money, and nothing – not even your mum peering at your halo of frizz is going to stop you.
Who knew all it’d take to ace your air-drying game was whipping your hair back and forth for the entire track of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets.
Pro tip: If you’re tight on time and must seek the heat of a hairdryer to tame your mane, by all means. Just remember to switch off the socket or unplug your hairdryer and any other appliances completely once you’re done because standby power can cost you up to $22 per year.
2. Go full vampire and fortify your house
Your well-lit flat with big floor-to-ceiling windows might give everyone a serious case of house envy. Until you realise it’s the scorching sunlight coming from those glass panels and burning through your bills because you’ve been blasting the AC, then it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with asap.
Block out all sunlight so you don’t have to rely on fans and ACs to cool down your home.
In a desperate attempt to save on electricity, you’re seriously considering blocking out all of the light. Since you don’t settle for a mediocre result, you think about fortifying your entire place instead.
Swap regular walls for slabs of stone and seal your windows with layers of solar films. While it might seem like you’re in an episode of Twilight because there’s not even a fog of light coming into your flat, it’s also not roasting hot anymore. Fans and ACs are things of the past, which also means you don’t have to blow your paycheck on your monthly AC bill.
Pro tip: Invest in thick thermal curtains to keep the house cool during the day. For west-facing houses that receive blazing sunlight all year round, solar films might be a good alternative to blocking out the heat while still giving your space some light.
3. Convince yourself you love showering in cold water
The benefits of a cold shower are endless: it gives you glowing skin and hair, promotes blood circulation, wakes you up at 7am when even a triple shot latte can’t, and hey – saves you a nice chunk of change on your monthly utility bill.
Of course, an icy rinse is easier said than done. There’ll most likely be a lot of teeth chattering and goosebumps as soon as you pull the lever. Lightheadedness might kick in and you will probably feel like passing out. But then, you remember how much electricity you’re saving since you haven’t turned on the water heater – and you’ll be beaming.
Plus, because you might faint or freeze in the shower, you’re less likely to stay for too long and therefore, reducing your water usage.
Pro tip: Not everyone is cut out for daily cold showers and sometimes, you deserve to relish a steamy one. If that’s the case, feel free to switch the water heater on. Just don’t forget to turn it off after you’re done showering to save about $107 annually if you’re using a storage water heater.
As a bonus, opt for instantaneous water heaters instead to trim an additional $80 off your bills each year.
4. Turn your house into a 24/7 sauna
Using fans is cheaper than switching the AC on. But the cheapest option is to remove ‘em all, turn your flat into a sauna and sit in your puddle of sweat.
Turn all fans – big and small – off.
If you’re blessed with some space, rig up a hammock near the door and keep all doors and windows open. It’s suspended on all sides, so you’ll hopefully get some extra airflow. Chug litres of water to replenish the lost body juice and hit the bathroom every now and then to recreate the ice bucket challenge when you can’t take the heat anymore.
At night, lay flat on your cooling granite floor and drift off to sleep. You might be glued to the floor with sweat and wake up with backache, but it’s okay because you’re sacrificing yourself and not your utility bill.
Pro tip: the last thing you want is to waste those hard-saved dollars from your electricity bill on a trip to the A&E because you’re overheated.
To avoid that from happening, go ahead and flip the switch on your fan. Using only fans can save you big – around $384 per year. For the occasional treat, turn the AC on but make sure you set it at 25 degrees or higher – you’ll save about $13 per year for each degree raised.
5. Get a BF/GF so you’re out of the house more to paktor
Here’s a total no-brainer: if you aren’t at home, then you won’t have to use any appliances and therefore, save on electricity. But you’re not about to go out alone, so you trawl through a pool of eligible singles for a BF/GF to go on a “date” with.
When you succeed, head straight to air-conditioned havens like Marina Bay Sands and ION Orchard for your date to finally enjoy some cool air. Having a BF or GF is ideal because you won’t seem too suspicious of wanting to spend time at his or her place instead of yours. No one would even dare to think you’re just there to save power at home.
Pro tip: The truth is, you don’t have to leave home to save on electricity bills. There are a few things you can do to conserve energy while staying in.
Try to switch home electronics like the TV and desktop computers and monitors off at the socket when you’re not using them, to prevent them from drawing standby power. Your desktop computer, for example, can cost $152 per year if you leave it switched on and plugged in overnight.
6. Go old school and use only candles at night
LED light bulbs might trim a few dollars off your electricity bill, but if you’re an energy-saving extremist, bring out the candles.
Go ahead and light them up for the ultimate romantic candle-lit dinner and home movie session. Constantly be on the lookout for free candles that your neighbours are giving away AKA throwing away. Ask for 100 candles whenever you’re buying a birthday cake. The point here is to not incur unnecessary expenses while pulling out all the stops to save electricity.
Pro tip: As cost-efficient as candles may be, they can pose both health and fire risks. Instead, if you’re reading or working when things get dark, consider using task lighting like table lamps. Where possible, install light dimmers to ensure you’re still sticking to the OG power-saving plan even if you have to turn the lights on.
7. Become your very own power generator
For the ultimate power saving scheme, kiss your electricity subscription goodbye and DIY your own power instead.
Generate your own electricity by hooking your bike to a power generator.
It’s time to put those spin classes to good use and hook your home exercise bike to a power generator. Here’s a catch: one single bike is unlikely to help you power the entire house, no matter how many “double time”s and “tap back”s you do. When that happens, snag a treadmill and tag team with your spouse.
The downside is you both might be exhausted if you aren’t fitspos. But the upside is you’ll be extra swole and get free electricity, even if it might only be for a while.
Pro tip: The reality is, you’d most likely rather spend your spare time on the couch than sweating buckets on an exercise machine. That said, you can keep energy consumption to a minimum by choosing appliances with more ticks. For example, you’ll save about $260 a year with a 5-tick air-con as compared to a 2-tick model.
Save money & the environment by being more energy efficient
By now, you must have realised that adulting can be a pricey affair. With utility bills are always at an all-time high, cutting down on your electricity usage might be a good idea. Plus, it can help to reduce your carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.
On top of the kiasu tips above, other simple changes you can make include covering your pots while cooking, and using Thermos flasks to keep hot water handy instead of firing up the kettle whenever you need a cuppa. Doing this can help you save up to $25 per month.
From running full loads of laundry to simply unplugging unused electronic devices, we all can do our part to save the planet – and our utility bills – at the same time. Sure, you don’t have to go full kiasu to save money, but following the simple pro-tips above will help both your bank account and the environment.
This post was brought to you by the National Environment Agency.
Photography by Ian Sim.