Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cutting Back

I picked up the mail last week on my way into the house, and in one day, I found out that my house payment was going up $23, due to an escrow shortage for my taxes and insurance, and I also got a letter from the light company telling me that 'on average', my light bill would be increasing $20 a month, starting in November. That's $43 A MONTH! That's a lot! So, I started thinking of ways to reduce my light bill. I guess I have been not so thrifty when it comes to certain things. I can be thrifty when shopping, but what about living? I have taken a few steps already. I removed the lamp in my bathroom, which was on ALL the time, because the 'touch' feature quit working, but I wanted it on so I could find my way in the night. We replaced it with an LED Night Light. That should help. Seems I was always replacing light bulbs anyway. This night light was only $2.97. The package says it uses up to 95% less electricity, lasts up to 14 years, is cool to the touch, and is mercury free, and it goes on and off all by itself.The next thing I did was, I went outside and I unscrewed one of the light bulbs in our outdoor garage lights. The fixtures are supposed to be light sensitive, but it seems they are either on all the time, or not on at all. I am going to talk to my dear hubby about maybe replacing the lights with a motion light fixture instead.

Next, I turned off a 'Lighthouse' lamp I had on top of the entertainment center, which was ALWAYS on. It was nice to be able to see things easily without having a bigger lamp on, but I decided I really did not need it, and when the tv is on, there is light to see, and when there are no lights on, or the tv, the light from the front yard 'gas light' shines through the window, along with the garage light that is still lit--for now. (Reminder: Replace mantels in gas light. There is only about half a mantel burning at the moment--hubby's job.) I realized that I have been really wasteful when it came to electricity. I went to the basement and turned off one light in hubby's office in a dark corner that I left on always (but I HAVE replaced almost every bulb in my house with the twisty flourescent bulbs, for quite some time, actually), and I turned off a neon light in a clock in hubby's billiard area that was on ALWAYS. I went into hubby's office and set his computer monitor and computer to 'sleep' after so many minutes of inactivity, and I did the same with mine, although now, when I know I am done with my computer, I shut the power off on my monitor.
Since we have replaced the windows and door in our living room, we think we can feel a noticable improvement in our home. In previous winters, we would have to have our thermostat set on about 78* when we were home, to feel warm, and then, still, we could feel a draft. This year, so far, we can live comfortably at 68*-70*. In the mornings, the thermostat is on about 66*. Depending on how chilly I feel, I might bump it up to 68* or 69* while getting ready for work, and then I set it back down to 66* before I go to work. I think if we can get by a while winter with our thermostat set 8* to 10* cooler, that should make a HUGE difference! We have also vowed, that if we are chilly, we will get out a blanket, or dress warmer.

We are also trying other ways to save money. We are trying to make plans to do things at home, or very close to home, and we are talking ourselves out of going to the thrift stores as often as we have been. If we don't go, we won't spend. This is a very hard thing to do, as it has always kind of been our entertainment and together time. Now, I am starting to sew more, and Louie is working in his shoppe more, and we are trying to make use of the many resources we already have, rather than trying to find MORE.

We are starting to watch dvds we have, and have never watched. Most of our dvds come used, from either the thrift stores, or previously viewed movies from Blockbuster Video.

Last Saturday, we had quilting. We celebrated Mrs. D's birthday. I realized too late, I did not have a card for her, so in my laziness to not run to the store to buy one, I make one. I had all the supplies, and plenty of them. The card turned out nice, and she cried. (Yes, I saw you, Mrs. D, even though you tried to hide behind your hand while looking at the floor). She told me right away how nice the card was, and also emailed me telling me just how much that card meant. I think it could have been her favorite thing. Instead of buying an ice cream cake, I made a cake. It's the thought, not how fancy the cake is, right?
So tell me, how do you save money around the house? I'd like to know. Maybe I can implement some of your ideas and save even more!

”A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.“ Proverbs 27:12
It's time for me to 'Get Smart!'


Amelia said...

Sounds like you are really making headway in cutting back on the electricity part.

We are eating out less now...not that we ever did anyway. I am trying to be more economical in my the ads real closely and stocking up on bargains.

I do believe worse times are coming - even if gas is cheap now.

Suzan said...

Did you know that leaving most electronics just plugged in (and not turned on)uses a lot of electricity? I now use a multi-jack surge protector behind the tv & stereo. When I am gone, I click the switch on the strip and turn EVERYTHING totally off. I do the same in the studio for both the computer and all of the sewing stuff.

Hazel said...

I read a article about unplugging things ,because they are still using electricity if they are plugged in .things like stove clocks ,micro wave clocks ,radio clock and coffee maker clock when I realized I had these 4 clocks going in my kitchen I unplugged them when I'm not using them .My heat gets set at 70 and stays there if its cool we can always get a sweater or quilt if we are watching TV .I'm with you Michelle ,my gas bill went up 40 ,hydro 23 ,cable 14 .The city did an assessment on our house and bumped it up 40 thousand I don't even want to think what our tax bills will be in the spring .I also make my own bread and treats ,detergent, windex and laminated floor cleaner and the big one is staying out of fabric stores .That's really hard when you have friends asking you to go with them everyday .It's been a month so tomorrow I am going out I have put a set amount of money in my purse so I don't over spend .Be careful with those twisty light bulbs there was a doctor on the news tonight say they are not good and cause migraines and other aliments .Wouldn't you know it we already replaced all our except the one by my sewing chair .This is a good idea to ask for others for idea's I'll check back to see what you come up with ,

Shelley said...

Hi Michelle,thank you so much for stopping by to visit and leaving such an encoraging comment. We have seen the movie Fire Proof,Excellent! So has my son,but now I guess,its time to go out and buy the book. I am trusting God to work this out,and when they realize they can't fix it ,I'm praying they will turn it over to God and let him fix it for them.


Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Hi,Michelle . I live in Tenn. and they have went up about $20.00 on our electric . We are total electric . Water has went up $5.00
and on and on . Everything but wages are going up. I have also heard that the gas is not going to stay low, that it will be going up again in the next few months.
We are not eating out as much and when we do we order water to drink and that saves over $3.00 off the bill. I am getting to be a real cheapskate , hehehe . Trying not to make any extra trips than I have to. We live 15 to 20 miles to the nearest town. So I try to make my trips count . As I run out of something in the kitchen I put it on a list and I try to just stick to the list when I go into the store. I have noticed everybody around here using a list .
I'm not afraid and I'm not going to worry , but I think this economy is going to get worse and worse. So we better buckle up and hang on because I think we are in for a real ride.


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