You want the best, brightest, and most extravagant holiday display on the block. You also want to keep your electricity turned on for the remainder of the year. Fortunately, it’s possible to do both. You absolutely can deck the halls in a manner that rivals the North Pole without breaking the bank. By planning ahead of time (choosing the right energy planner and making smarter lighting purchases), you can set up an affordable display and keep the holiday spirit alive.
Give Yourself the Gift of Affordable Energy
Shopping for the best utility rates will not only guarantee an affordable holiday lighting display, it will also be the gift that keeps on giving. In North America, energy is deregulated in a few markets, including Ontario and Alberta Canada. Learn more here.
In the U.S., 13 states offer deregulated markets that allow consumers to shop around for energy plans. Unfortunately, here in Roanoke, Virginia energy deregulation has been suspended, but gas is still deregulated (Pilot).
Deregulated markets are awesome because only you can research the best price for your needs. You may also enjoy the independence and freedom of choice. Just watch out for “teaser rates” that can suddenly rise, according to Consumer Affairs; you don’t want a plan that seems perfect when you’re putting up your holiday lights, but that blindsides you later.
Plan Ahead Carefully to Avoid Overspending
Before you head to the store, measure the spaces you plan to cover in lights, so you can estimate how many to buy. Keep your home’s available outlets in mind while you’re planning; you may need outdoor-safe extension cords for your display, and you’ll want to pick up the correct number. If you’re using lights from a previous year’s display, make sure you plug them in as a test, just in case they need to be replaced. The DIY Network also suggests buying the right sized bulbs for the right displays. (Small bulbs might be hard to see in bushy trees, for example.)
Overestimate your lighting needs, and you’ll waste money on unused lights. Underestimate, and you’ll be rushing to the store for last minute supplies just as prices are at their peak. You can avoid these pitfalls with some careful planning ahead of time.
Choose the Right Bulbs for Maximum Efficiency
Energy efficient LED lights are a more economical purchase than standard incandescent holiday lights. Even though LED can be a more expensive purchase from the get-go, they’ll be much kinder to your energy bill and will last for many more seasons. If they’ll work in your display, mini LED lights are a similarly cheaper and more efficient choice. No matter what kind of bulb you choose, don’t forget to set your lighting display on an automatic timer, so you’re not wasting bright lights on a sleeping neighborhood.
A great Holiday lighting display isn’t just a matter of grabbing the biggest, craziest lights and decorations at the store. With some thoughtful planning ahead – from utility charges, to the design of your display, to the bulbs that comprise it – an exciting display is achievable even for very modest budgets. Put in the planning now, and you and your entire block will be enjoying your holiday lighting show for many seasons to come.
For more on holiday planning, check out the article: Holiday Entertaining Made Easy.