Next to rent or a mortgage, utilities are one of the largest single monthly expenses the average Canadian pays. According to Scotiabank’s Ecoliving Report, the average Canadian family pays $251 a month for basic utilities (water and sewage) alone. That doesn’t include electricity, gas, cable or Internet. When all is said and done, it’s not unusual to dole out several hundred dollars each month just for basic services, which is sure to leave a gaping hole in your wallet.But what’s the alternative? While it may take some elbow grease and a little ingenuity, there are several ways to significantly cut back on your utility bills.Inspect your home to cut back energy costsAccording to the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in Ontario, heating and cooling a home can account for 60 per cent of your monthly energy costs.. Do an inspection of all the places air can escape in your home — assess the insulation around windows, doors, etc. Drafty rooms means your money is leaking through the cracks. By simply improving the air sealing around your home, you cansave up to 20 per cent on your energy costs.For older homes, consider changing its insulation. Upgrading the insulation in your home’s walls, basement and attic can shave another 30 per cent off your energy bills as newer insulation is more effective in keeping air from seeping outdoors.Consider fans or space heatersTo further bring down your energy costs, consider supplementing your central heating and cooling system with fans in the summer and space heaters in the winter. Adjusting the thermostat even just a few degrees on your central heating system burns through a lot of energy, wasting more of your money. Rather than cranking up the heat or kicking up the A/C, turn on a fan or space heater as an alternative to keeping your home comfortable.Unplug chargers and electronicsTo further bring down your electricity bill, make sure you unplug any chargers, electronics or appliances when they aren’t in use. Many chargers suck up energy even when they aren’t connected to their corresponding electronics.The extras: How to save on cable and Internet billsWhile energy is the single largest utility cost, cable and Internet bills come in at a close second. Canadians pay an average of $50 a month for basic high-speed Internet services, and another $50 a month for basic cable channels. But there’s no need to dish out hundreds of dollars each month for these services.First, call your cable and Internet company and ask about any ongoing deals. Does your company offer student or senior discounts? Does your service provider offer “bundling,” which provides a discount for subscribing to multiple services with the same company?If Internet is a must-have at home, get to know your neighbour. Discuss potentially sharing a cable connection and Wifi, which would shave your monthly Internet bill in half.Also consider downsizing to a more basic cable package. Many beloved television shows are available streaming online, and services such as Netflix offers hundreds of movies and television shows online for less than $10 a month.Once you’ve assessed corners that can be cut, it’s much easier to save more each month on your necessities.