Even though, overall, I like living in the city, there are some disadvantages. One of those is paying for our water.

While the bill isn’t terrible, we do have a somewhat tight budget most months and the $100 we were being asked to pay every three months was sometimes pretty hard to fit into it. As a result of that, I decided it was time to find ways to reduce that bill so it wouldn’t put as much of a strain on us.

Since part of the bill is a fixed rate for our garbage pickup, I knew I wouldn’t be able to cut it in half or anything like that. However, we were able to reduce it by about $20 on average by making three simple changes.

First, we eliminated the leaks. Our toilet is somewhat older and was leaking a bit from the tank. While it wasn’t a big enough deal to justify the cost of replacing the toilet, it was filling a gallon jug every two or three days. So, I borrowed a do-it-yourself plumbing guide from the library and fixed it.

In addition, the faucet we had outside for the garden hose also leaked. That was a bit harder to repair so I did the next best thing, started closing the shut off valve inside the house whenever the hose isn’t being used. That, alone, reduced my water usage by about four gallons a week.

The second thing we started doing was washing our dishes by hand. We have a dishwasher that is efficient when it comes to both electricity and water usage. However, because of time constraints and the fact the dishwasher does need to be hooked up to our sink (something that is a bit of a chore), we don’t get to do dishes daily and will often have a sink full. If we do them by hand, we can wash them all with one sink’s worth of water instead of using considerably more water loading the dishwasher two or three times. If you have some extra budget and if you think this could be very helpful, you may also consider using water treatment technology offering commercial water solutions. This might be quite expensive but you will save substantial amount of money in the long run.

The last thing we did was put a time limit on showers. My wife and I used to take longer showers (it’s one of the few times we can have some peace and quiet) but we both realized we could cut our water bill by restricting those long showers to just one (each) a week and placing a 10 minute limit on the rest of them.

We also set the same time limit for our oldest daughter and, since she doesn’t take showers yet, we started filling the bath tub a little less full for our youngest daughter. So far, neither of them has complained.

As I said before, the fixed charge for garbage pickup prevented me from reducing the bill by half. But that $20 average savings has made it much easier to fit this utility bill into our budget and we didn’t have to sacrifice too much to do it.