by Tammy Taylor
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Last week I shared a two-part segment on how RancherMan & I survive living and working here on our ranch without the comfort of a regularly-scheduled corporate salary infusion. Those posts were wildly popular! There are lots of you hungrily looking for ways to cut back! Whether planning to make the leap to self employment or just looking for ways to stretch your dollars. Now last week I pointed out that researching for the lowest cost on anything you buy is important, but it’s doubly important to research & reduce your month-to-month obligations. Those bills are going to come around not just once, but Every. Single. Month.
Think about your recurring monthly bills for a moment. Have you just been paying them when the bill arrives without giving them another thought? Well it’s time to take a good hard look at them. Oftentimes you can cut out wasted money spent. Today Let’s Look At Electricity.
Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a small commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!
Choose A Provider
A large portion of a typical monthly budget goes toward paying for electricity so paying attention to this expense is important. In Texas we have the benefit of electric company competition – you can choose the electric provider (and the rate) that works best for you. If it’s been a while since you’ve researched electric rates it might be a good idea to grab a cup of coffee and sit at your computer to check it out. The difference may make a huge impact in your recurring month-to-month electric expense.
For our state there’s even an online tool to help compare electric providers & rates –> powertochoose.org. Check to see if electric competition exists in the state where you live – if so this research could save you a bundle.
Whatever electricity company or rate you choose, be sure to waste as little of it as you can. I’m not talking about sitting around in the dark or lighting candles (although there are times when that’s fun) I’m talking about WASTE. How can you cut back on electricity that you’re not even aware you’re wasting?
Well did you know that many electronics sip electricity even when they’re turned off? Oh yeah, that DVD player is sitting at the ready waiting for you to point the remote at it to turn it on. And by sitting at the ready it’s quietly sipping electricity, even though it’s turned OFF! Also cell phone chargers, coffee pots, anything controlled with a remote control or has a timer/clock is an energy vampire. We have power strips that are used for many of our electronics, a quick flip of the switch when we go to bed at night turns off a whole group of those potential vampires.
Use The Light You Need
And everyone knows it’s easy to use either efficient LED or compact fluorescent bulbs in all your light sockets but it’s important to only use the lights you actually need. We have a small lamp in the living room that’s often the only light needed in the evenings when we’re snuggled on the couch watching TV.
And remember last week when I spoke about that large mirror I wanted in our dining room? The reason I wanted a large-sized mirror and the reason I wanted it mounted where I did is because a well-placed mirror will reflect light deeper into the house, reducing the need for electric lighting to be used. The lesson here is to only use what you NEED.
Solar Energy Is FREE!
How about saving electricity used for cooling your home or for cooking? Since it’s typically very hot & humid during our NE Texas summers I do my best to keep that cooking heat outside whenever possible. It’s not unusual to see a jar of sun tea brewing on our picnic table out back. And I even have a * solar oven to be able to do much of my actual COOKING outside.
I get double bonus points here! Not only am I keeping that cooking heat outside but also I’m not paying for cooking fuel. The sun is offering it’s amazing cooking energy for FREE. I really like free, how about you?
Passive Solar Needs No Expensive Upgrades
When we were thinking about house designs way back when we designed the house with a passive solar design (rectangular shape with long walls facing north & south, smaller windows to the north, larger windows to the south and NO windows on the west) and also with an open floorplan to allow light throughout. Although not everyone is in the house-building stage I urge you to think about passive solar principles in your own home. Can you open or close blinds and drapes to either capture or repel the sun’s light & heat?
Saving Electricity With Solar Screens On Windows
And speaking of passive solar, in our area we deal more harshly by summer’s heat than we do with winter’s cold. We found out how easy and inexpensive it was to make solar screens ourselves, so we did. We only needed these removable screens for a few windows on one side of our home so we slashed the price of those screens by picking up regular screening frame materials and some * solar screen cloth. I’m here to tell ya it makes a HUGE difference in reducing the heat transfer through those windows during the heat of summer! But here’s the deal, we remove those screens when summer’s heat starts to wane. That allows the warming sun to hit the windows to bring that welcome heat and light inside during the drab cold winter months.
Drying Clothes For FREE
Another place to save chunks of money is by not using the dryer. Clothes dryers are energy hogs so I hang our clothes outside on our double-line * Retractable Clothesline. Now this is certainly not a sacrifice for me, I absolutely LOVE the smell of line-dried clothes! But when the weather’s not right for hanging clothes outside such as rainy or cold weather I have a couple of * folding clothes racks that I set up in our guest room to dry our clothes. When the clothes are dry each of my drying options store away out of sight.
I could go on & on but you get the idea – I think the biggest thing to remember here is to look at your recurring monthly electricity bill with a critical eye and eliminate the waste that you’re paying for. And of course the beauty to me about all of these things is they speak to my crunchy-green heart. Plus many times by eliminating waste you’re also lowering your footprint as well as your expenses. She shoots, she SCORES!
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