You don't have to stress every time you open your electric bill. Even though you need to use your home's electrical system, it doesn't have to cost you a fortune. If your home is less than energy efficient, it's time to make some changes.

You don't have to walk around in the dark just to save money on your electric bills. There are plenty of ways to keep your costs down while still using electricity. How can you reduce your electricity bill, make your home more efficient and still use your lights and appliances? Take a look at some energy-saving tips that can help you, your home and even the planet.

Advanced Power Strips

You have more devices, gizmos and gadgets than you'd like to admit, and they all need a power source. Even if all of these items have their own batteries, they still need electricity to charge.

Instead of plugging your phone into your bedroom outlet, charging your laptop in the living room and using the kitchen outlets to charge your tablet, the kids' phones and your wireless speakers, you may prefer to keep everything together in one space. That's not to mention your TV, home PC and other appliances or entertainment items. So you plug four or five different devices into one power strip.

What kind of power strip are you using? The conventional type of power strips may let you plug more than one or two devices into an outlet at once, but these power strips won't save you money. An advanced power strip can.

Advanced power strips can cut costs and stop unnecessary electrical usage. If one of your devices or electrical items (such as a TV) isn't in use, it won't draw electricity when using this type of power strip. This stops your item from wasting electricity. The strip makes sure that your electronics are all turned off, so that they aren't costing you extra money when you aren't using them.

Lighting Costs

How much money does it cost to light your home? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that somewhere near 5 percent of every home's energy budget goes to lighting. While this might not seem like a lot, you can still reduce costs in this area.

The obvious way to cut the cost of your lighting bill is to stop using your lights. During the day, when the natural light is abundant, avoid turning on unnecessary lights. This doesn't mean you have to walk around in the dark. Open the curtains and let the light in during the day, and at night, or when there is no natural light, turn the lights back on.

When you do use your lights, make sure that you're using new energy-efficient fixtures and bulbs. In 2012 new lighting standards changed the way Americans buy their light bulbs. Halogen incandescent, LEDs and CFLs can save you money. While these won't save you mega-bucks, replacing 15 old bulbs with new energy-efficient ones can save you up to $50 in one year.

Heating and Cooling

You aren't just using electricity to power your electronic devices or to light your home. Your heating and air conditioning systems use electricity too.

Make these systems more efficient by sealing all of the air leaks in your home. This may mean adding weather-stripping around windows and doors, using storm windows (or replacing single-pane windows with multi-pane versions), turning the thermostat up or down (depending on the weather outside) or adding insulation in basements, attic or other unheated and uncooled spaces.

Always make sure that your electrical system is in the best working order possible. When it's not, you can run into safety and cost issues. Scott the Electrician can help.