Don’t pay while you’re away. Vacation tips for saving money back home.

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Before you run off to your highly anticipated vacation spot, take a few moments to "vacationize" your home. Consider these four tips to help you save money while you’re on vacation.

Tip #1: Turn up the thermostat. Turn down the electric bills.
If you have air conditioning in your home, increase the temperature on your thermostat before you leave. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can also set the temperature to gradually cool before you return (which will further your savings). If you’re planning a winter vacation, you’ll want to do the opposite with your heater. Turn it down 10-15 degrees and then gradually warm up your home.

Tip #2: Unplug electronics before you unplug.
Before you start unwinding on the beach or the lake, make a trip through your home and unplug all unnecessary electronics at home – clocks, printers, coffee makers, TVs, computers, etc. These items consume a small amount of electricity, called phantom loads, that really adds up in the long run. Of course, some appliances, such as your refrigerator, need to keep running.

Tip #3: Put your water heater on vacation.
Look at your water heater to see if it has a “vacation” setting. By setting your water heater on the vacation setting, you’ll be able to leave the pilot light on (which only uses a small amount of energy), but it will not heat water. If you do not have this setting, you can just move the dial to the lowest setting. Just keep in mind that your water heater tank will have very little hot water when you return, so plan on allowing time for your tank to heat up the water before taking a shower.

Tip #4: Lights out.
Lighting is another area where you can save money while on vacation. While it’s a good idea to leave some lights on in your home while you’re out of town, this can be costly. Consider having a couple of lights in your home on timers, which you can set to turn on and off at varying times while you’re gone. More advanced systems can often be operated through your phone, so you can turn lights on and off while you are gone. Of course, you can also ask your neighbor or friend to turn on different lights each day if they are taking care of your home while you’re gone.

Vacationing should be a time to unwind from the stress of life. Why not save a little money while you’re gone as well? By following these simple tips, you may find your trip to be even more advantageous than you imagined.